Research Council

Final Report to the Faculty Senate

2002 - 2003

 

Charge to the Research Council

The Research Council is charged with providing advice on (1) formulation, review, and application of policy and guidelines for University research and its funding both from within and without the University; (2) questions concerning the compliance of research with University policies; (3) developing methods for informing University members about research opportunities and for stimulating, evaluating, and rewarding good research.  Additionally, the Research Council is charged with providing a forum to which faculty and students may refer questions and recommendations concerning University research policies and procedures (2001 University of Iowa Operations Manual, Chapter 2.8, Section (19)b). 

 

Council Meetings

The Research Council met eleven times during the 2002-2003 academic year. 

 

Council Activities

An ongoing agenda topic during the 2002-2003 year for the Research Council was the discussion of strategies to (1) inform the University of Iowa research community regarding internal and external funding opportunities, and (2) identify new opportunities to enhance research and scholarship at the University of Iowa.   Activities related to these and other issues addressed by the Research Council during the year have included: 

 

The VPR and Associate VPR reviewed the internal funding and OVR budgetary constraints.  Internal seed grant funding was suspended last year but was reinstated for 2002-03.

 

A new version of the OVPR WEB site was constructed during the past summer.  Comments, suggestions and critical evaluation were requested of the council.  Recommendations from the previous council were implemented.

 

The Research Incentive Plan (RIP) was discussed at length.  Questions were raised regarding the level of funding, the mechanism of distribution of funds at the college level and the overall appropriateness of the program as a whole.  Additional information was sought from the collegiate Deans regarding the mechanisms of distribution and faculty input on the decisions for fund allocation.  This is an ongoing discussion.  RIP will be reevaluated as part of the 2003-04 council agenda.

 

  Met with President Skorton to discuss potential effects of state funding climate on research opportunities at the University of Iowa.  Also met with Associate Vice President Derek Willard who described in greater detail the current state and federal funding levels and what is planned by the University of Iowa and peer institutions to improve funding opportunities. 

 

Continued discussion seeking mechanisms for providing sufficient travel funds for maintaining scholarly activities.  A one-time allocation ($50,000) was identified to assist the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with funding scholars to present their work at national and international meetings.  This item remains on the councilís agenda for the following year.

 

The Research Administration group described the challenges facing the university with regards to human subjects protection, the Institutional Review Board, research involving animals and clinical trials.  Changes in interpretation of regulations were identified as the most demanding issue facing the university at present and how these impact researchers involved with biological and medical sciences.

 

Modifications were made to the Internal Funding Initiatives (IFI) to broaden the scope of participation and to make the application process easier.  At present opportunities and funding levels of the IFI will remain intact for the next year.

 

The council reviewed the report on the Task Force on Research Support Staff Concerns and Issues.  Recommendations include 1)  Elevate awareness, 2)  Review compensation and classification, 3)  Create a web-based information resource, 4)  Develop orientation/training program, 5)  Offer targeted staff development, 6)  Give recognition and 7)  Continue attention to these issues.

 

Conclusions

 

The Research Council continues to support and encourage the participation of researchers, scholars, and creative artists throughout the University of Iowa in the discussions of issues related to the enhancement of research, scholarship, and creative works.  This is an on-going effort.  While the climate may appear to be less opportunistic that in the past, research funding avenues exist.  The Research Incentive Program and the Internal Funding Initiatives offer mechanisms to jump start faulty and staff in the research endeavors.  The Research Council supports these directions and is working with the Vice president for Research to expand potential funding opportunities.

 

As chair of the Research Council, I am very appreciative of the efforts of President David Skorton (former VPR), Interim Vice President for Research William Decker and commitment of time by the members of the Research Council.  The highly capable administrative support offered by Lawrence Rettig, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research and the other members of the OVPR make this job rewarding. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Richard Hichwa, Chair

Research Council