Aristotle, one of the most famous philosophers and scientists of all time, once said, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” What the phrase conveys is all too familiar to those in the scientific community. Patience needs to be cultivated by researchers who wait for the outcome of their studies. History is full of success stories of the science community showing … [Read more...] about How Researchers Can Cultivate Patience
University Research Explained
The NSF has a Big Idea The NSF has 10 major thrusts for the future of funding and research – 10 research and process "big ideas" that will drive important aspects of NSF's long-term research agenda, push forward the frontiers of U.S. science and engineering research and lead to new discoveries and innovations. One of them asserts that we will live in a quantum world in a … [Read more...] about NSF’s Quantum Leap
You go to conferences; you network; you collaborate – all researchers and academics do. But do you need more than 150 contacts? Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter – all of these platforms open us up to the possibility of thousands of acquaintances, though fewer we would refer to as “friends.” Studying the primate brain Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist from England, has been … [Read more...] about Dunbar’s Number: How many contacts do researchers really need?
What is the difference between a project with Multiple Principal Investigators and Co-PIS? Well, it depends on the sponsor. According to the NIH, changing from a single PI model to one of Multiple Principal Investigators (MPI) model has a goal: “to maximize the potential of team science efforts in order to be responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st … [Read more...] about MPIs: Team Science!
Summer Salary is any compensation paid during the summer period to an individual in excess of their Institutional Base Salary (IBS). It is calculated and paid at a percent effort rate, not in excess of the individual's official IBS divided by the number of months in which IBS is paid. In other words, if you are a full-time, nine-month faculty member working in the summer, you … [Read more...] about Summer Salaries: How Are They Calculated?
How many of the research administrator’s duties can be done from home? COVID-19 is showing us emphatically that the answer is many. There are some aspects that take a little bit of inventive scheduling to make happen, but overall, the telework paradigm may be here to stay in research long after the COVID pandemic tapers off. Meetings and more meetings Research … [Read more...] about Telework and the Research Enterprise
When a grant is awarded, the auditor's job typically involves reading financial reports, accounting transaction processes and internal controls. The auditor also reviews and evaluates complex financial statements. But did you know that the auditors also read the technical/progress reports as part of their financial review? So, let me get this straight... A PI must verify … [Read more...] about Auditors Read Your Technical Reports Too!
Most principal investigators spend many hours laboring over proposals to fund their research programs – and for good reason. While competing for funding is the big business for researchers, some have opted to fund their programs in other ways, like building a research consortium. The word “consortium” means a group of individuals, companies or governments that work together … [Read more...] about How to Build a Research Consortium
A data management plan is invaluable to researchers and to their universities. “You should plan at the outset for managing output long-term,” said Reid Boehm, research data management librarian at University of Houston Libraries. At the University of Houston, research data generated while individuals are pursuing research studies as faculty, staff or students of the … [Read more...] about Manage Your Data Better: Data Management Plans
Being mindful of inclusive language practices is more important than ever. Education is growing rapidly on this important topic to help writers – in fact, anyone writing words – avoid potentially harmful language. Universities are growing pockets of diversity, often representing faculty, staff and students from different backgrounds who have varying life experiences. … [Read more...] about Using Inclusive Language at Your University
Balancing your research checkbook is like managing your personal finances. However, it's much less common these days to do so with a paper bank statement and check register, as many people now use digital resources to follow their money. Regardless of how you do it, managing your income and expenses is important if you want to keep your finances healthy. Reconciling research … [Read more...] about Balancing Your Research Checkbook
Financial compliance is a very important aspect of any researcher’s work, but more so for a faculty member with multiple projects and different funding sources. It can be a tricky mathematical challenge to handle cost allocation appropriately and document it properly. First, let’s consider costs that are for items that benefit multiple projects or university activities. In … [Read more...] about Cost Allocation: Multiple Projects, One Funding Source
A meteorologist named Kelvin Droegemeier, whose main concern was cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, wasn’t appointed to the Office of Science Policy and Technology (OSTP) by Donald Trump until over one and a half years into his presidency. President Joe Biden appointed his new OSTP leader before his inauguration. Since 1976 when the OSTP was created, only four heads … [Read more...] about “Just the Facts, Please…” Will Biden’s Appointments Mean Funding?
Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A), also known as Indirect Costs or IDC, are at the very least misunderstood by researchers. At their worst, they smack of “Big Brother.” But F&A costs truly are transparent and nothing to fear (or despise!) Keeping the Lights On F&A are costs that cannot be uniquely associated with a particular project, but which are … [Read more...] about F&A: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
There is a sport where two individuals clash in front of thousands of screaming fans. A heated bout where both participants throw jabs at each other and launch haymakers hoping to land a knockout blow; and it’s all for money. A bloody display of barbarism and competition not unlike the violent exhibitions of Roman gladiators. That sport … is called politics. Unlike boxing, … [Read more...] about Election to Electron: How Election Time Inflames the Fight for Federal Funding
The road to the next life-altering discovery, invention or device often begins with university-imagined Intellectual Property (IP) and ends when an outside company makes the investment to productize the discovery. Is there enough emphasis placed on this pipeline nationwide? The more one looks at this complicated question, we see there are numerous problems; in a rush to publish … [Read more...] about From Concept to Commercialization: The Importance of Supporting IP in our Universities
We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money. These words regarding climate change were spoken by Mick Mulvaney, director of the Trump Administration’s Office of Management and Budget. The government has rolled back policies that aimed to slow down climate change and reduce environmental pollution. It has also limited federal funding … [Read more...] about Getting (Un)Involved: Climate Change Researchers and The Paris Agreement
These months have been difficult. Every person has tired of the quarantine. Tired of the anxiety, the endless memes on social media, the debates. At the same time, we're facing issues of race relations. These issues are taxing. But higher education is strong. Universities are using its font of resources to understand these important issues better. Internal awards Many … [Read more...] about Internal Awards for COVID and Racial Justice Research
One might not expect the game of checkers to have anything to do with Artificial Intelligence, but the game really marked the beginning of machine learning in 1959. Pioneered by an MIT professor named Arthur Lee Samuel, it was discovered that teaching a simple strategy game to a computer is not so simple when every move needs to be anticipated. Smart machines Additionally, … [Read more...] about Opening Moves: Expanding Research in Machine Learning
Ask any researcher – proposals are a lot of work and they take a long time to get approved. At least, that’s how it usually goes. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a natural uptick in the amount of funded Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grants from the NSF. With an abbreviated timeline, these grants go to the researchers on the frontlines who are doing all types of … [Read more...] about RAPID-ly Slowing the Spread of COVID-19
Researchers across every discipline are redirecting their work in order to study COVID-19. The well-being of our global community depends on it. While some are exploring vaccines for the respiratory illness (according to the Guardian, 78 strains of the vaccine are currently in the works), others are saying that researching mental health issues around the pandemic is an equally … [Read more...] about Staying Sane: Mental Health Research in the Time of COVID-19
Many researchers have begun to work from home due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, and only essential personnel are allowed to work on university campuses. For a researcher, what is considered “essential personnel”? Isn’t all research essential to the workings of a public research university? In a word, no. As much as one would like to believe their respective job is of the … [Read more...] about Are You “Essential Research Personnel”?
The Internet of Things (IoT) “There are a number of problems with ushering in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), which all center on the security capabilities of the connected system,” writes Nick Ismail of Information Age magazine. The Big Hitter Aron Laszka, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Natural Sciences … [Read more...] about Securing the Internet of Things
Imagine a hypothetical “Dear Abby” letter to the science community: “I am the principal investigator and corresponding author on a paper detailing research findings in our lab. A leading investigator at another university contacted me and states that she cannot duplicate our results. I re-ran the samples analyzed by my post-doc and I couldn’t either. What do I do? … [Read more...] about Reproducibility, Rigor and Rigmarole
Kardashians over the cosmos, sports over science, memes over medical breakthroughs, dragons over discoveries; the American public is the neglectful parent that can’t take their eye off the big game while their bespectacled, bright-eyed daughter is trying to show them the A+ she got on her science project. In a world where most Americans don’t consume science news, NASA … [Read more...] about Down to Earth: Has America Returned from its Giant Leap?
Congratulations, your proposal has been funded! These are words that every principal investigator (PI) wants to hear. But much like the lottery, the amount that glitters on signage near freeways is not the amount the investigator will receive. When the money is set up in the PI’s project cost center, a portion of the awarded amount, which is based on the university … [Read more...] about Keeping the Lights On: The Cost of Research
By Claudia Neuhauser, Ph.D. and Brian Herman, Ph.D. Free exchange of ideas created a global community of scholars We have enjoyed and benefited from decades of relative tranquility in academia where the focus on fundamental science created a global community of scholars that came with a free and unrestrained exchange of ideas. Research thrived in this community without … [Read more...] about How Should Universities View China?
Running a Research Center It takes bravery, creativity and a plan. Long days and constant pressure. It takes a lot to launch a successful business. The same is true for starting and managing an effective research center. A research center may not be about the bottom line, but it still has to stand out from its competitors. It still has to collaborate with colleagues in … [Read more...] about Finding Success in Running a Research Center
What is Public Scholarship? When we talk about public scholarship, we are referring to the various modes of communicating and disseminating knowledge for the public. Science-based startups and companies are eventually going to cross this river. This stream of communication that flows from the mountains of science and tech and pours into the sea of the public. Given this … [Read more...] about A Quick Guide to Engaging in Public Scholarship
Communicating science So you’re a researcher. Communicating science to a non-scientific audience scares the chemistry out of you. You’ve spent your entire career studying fungiform papillae density. The mere thought of fungiform papillae density gives you a rush that even love cannot provide. You know everything about fungiform papillae density. One day you have an … [Read more...] about Word Choice Helps With Communicating Science
There are so many instances of university research misconduct that the spotlight is shining brighter on institutions now than ever. Not the good kind of spotlight, either. Findings involving university research can be either good or bad. We celebrate, publish and acknowledge scientific contributions at universities. After all, research is part of our mission. Conversely, there … [Read more...] about 3 Ways to Prevent University Research Misconduct
There’s a thin line between madness and immorality. This idea of the “mad scientist” has taken on a charming, even glorified perception in popular culture. From the campy portrayal of Nikola Tesla in the first issue of Superman, to Dr. Frankenstein, to Dr. Emmet Brown of Back to the Future, there’s no question Hollywood has softened the idea of the mad scientist. So, I will not … [Read more...] about In Fraud We Trust: Top 5 Cases of Misconduct in University Research
Managing a large research enterprise comes with its fair share of pressure. Successful leaders make a conscious effort to maintain their well-being, relying on support networks both on and off campus. We asked research and innovation leaders from Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, the University of Pittsburgh and our own fearless leader, Amr Elnashai, to reveal how … [Read more...] about Top Research Leaders Share Their Secrets to Success
As the partial government shutdown loomed, academic institutions explored ways this might affect their research operations. Although we expect delays in processing proposals and award payouts, the impact on the institution may have been much less than expected. Consequently, most of the impact occurred at the individual PI level. That is where research that required federal … [Read more...] about Research Interrupted: Effect of Government Shutdown on University Research
The researchers had a hypothesis. Women faculty, they predicted, would be more successful than their male counterparts at earning private funding – from industry, from nonprofit groups, from charitable endowments. That was about relationships, after all, an area where the popular literaturesuggests women excel. The numbers told a different story. A review of faculty research … [Read more...] about Industry Funding: Closing the Gap for Women Researchers
The world of academic research is tough. As institutional research offices juggle regulatory and financial challenges within a continually strained system, they still have to lead their respective enterprises and serve their research communities. … [Read more...] about Engaging Faculty in the Business of Research
Physician-scientists are a group of specialized researchers at the intersection of medicine and technology. Earning both medical degrees and Ph.D.s, they offer a perspective beyond the scope of clinical practice. … [Read more...] about Beaker to Bedside: Physician-Scientists Bridge Academia and the Clinic
When the U.S. Office of Management and Budget released Uniform Guidance a couple of years ago, the goal was to provide a more structured and standardized approach to grants management within institutional research operations. … [Read more...] about When Uniform Guidance Isn’t Uniform: Cost Sharing