'Dear Colleagues': An update from ORED

In his latest update for the campus community, Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw takes a look at training opportunities, this week's FBI biosecurity workshop, the Cotton Mill Marketplace development in Starkville, and more:

Dear Colleagues:

It's a busy this time of year, with classes, research, publications and proposal-writing, and a myriad of other demands. I'd like to briefly update you on our activities in the Office of Research and Economic Development. Our success depends on you, and I want you to know that this office deeply appreciates your work and efforts on behalf of Mississippi State University and its research and economic development activities.

I hope you have noticed more training opportunities being offered for faculty and staff on campus this fall. Our office has been working to provide targeted and relevant training in a variety of areas, including sponsored programs, grant administration, research ethics, proposal preparation and regulatory compliance. I welcome your feedback on these efforts so that we can provide what you need. Please feel free to contact me with your suggestions, comments, or concerns.

FBI Biosecurity Workshop this Tuesday

Dr. Patricia Cox, the university's Biosafety Officer, has arranged for the FBI to conduct a biosecurity and safety workshop on campus Tuesday, Oct. 18. The workshop is sponsored by ORED and is provided at no cost. Experts from the FBI will share information and provide training for researchers, faculty, staff and students, as well as law enforcement officers, first responders, health care providers and others having an interest in this area. The workshop will be held at the Franklin Furniture Institute from 1-5:30 p.m. For further information, please see http://www.research.msstate.edu/rresources/news.php?id=1213 or contact Dr. Cox at pcox@research.msstate.edu or 325-0620.

Economic Development: Cotton Mill Marketplace

We are excited that the Cotton Mill Marketplace project is on track, and the many pieces of the development are coming together. This is a major step for the university and our community, and one of the largest single economic development activities that I have seen in my time at MSU. The project will give us a long needed convention center and establish a number of commercial ventures and mixed-use space adjacent to campus. I look forward to sharing more details about this project in the very near future.

Sponsored Programs Administration

We recently completed a National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) peer review of our research administration, both pre- and post-award. This review was done at my request, and in partnership with Mr. Don Zant, Vice President for Budget and Planning, in an effort to find ways to improve our overall grant administration. I have not received the final report, but based on the comments that the team gave us prior to leaving campus, I know that they were impressed with the work of both Sponsored Programs Accounting and Sponsored Programs Administration. As we had hoped, they also had some very helpful recommendations that we will be using to improve the service we provide. I'll keep you updated as we implement changes. You have already seen some movement toward electronic document processing, and Mr. Zant and I plan to continue in this direction.

I would ask for your help in the area of proposal submission to Sponsored Programs Administration. The NCURA reviewers mentioned that we are receiving proposals at the last minute for submission to the sponsoring agency. While SPA does an outstanding job in getting these proposals out the door, last-minute submissions cause a number of problems that we need to avoid. When a proposal arrives at SPA on the same day it is due, obviously the SPA administrator has to quickly review it and is not afforded the time necessary to insure that it is compliant in all areas, and the probability of error in our administration of your proposal increases. This situation also causes an administrator to stop work on other proposals in the middle of processing and provide an urgent review of the late arriving document. As you can see, there is a cascading effect here. We ask that proposals arrive in SPA three days prior to their submission date to avoid this scenario. I appreciate your assistance.

External Funding Awards Online

We are now posting external awards on our website every month. You can view them at http://www.research.msstate.edu/rresources/externalfunding.php with your NetID and password. This is an excellent source of information when looking for research partners with interests similar to your own.

Cross-College Research Grants

Last year, we initiated a program to facilitate the research interaction of faculty from multiple colleges at MSU. We invested $2,000 in each of 30 research groups. Not all were successful, but many were. That investment of $60,000 resulted in more than $38 million in grant proposals, over $1 million in grants awarded so far, and about $30 million still pending a decision by the sponsoring organization. I believe this is a real success story that you can take pride in, and one that we will be repeating. We have now received some 60 proposals for next year's cross-college research grants (both renews and new starts) and will be reviewing them soon and making funding decisions. I strongly believe in interdisciplinary research and this program is one that promotes that. Questions may be addressed to Dr. Ray Vaughn, vaughn@research.msstate.edu or 325-3570.

In closing, please accept my gratitude for all you do to make us a Carnegie Foundation Very High Research Activity University. As I work on major funding opportunities, I continually find a tremendous positive reception with agency heads and program managers because of the excellent work our faculty, staff, and students are known for. It starts and ends with our great people!

Go Dawgs!

- David

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