Office of Sponsored Projects
Funding Your Ideas
Last newsletter talked about the various funding sources for your ideas. This newsletter focuses on what to consider when targeting Foundations for funding.
1. The very first and the most important point to consider is that there must be an excellent match between the Foundation goals and your proposed idea. Review their website carefully for their goals before drafting a proposal. Clearly articulate and make a compelling case that the outcome of your project will support meeting the Foundation goals.
2. Generally, Foundations are focusing on an emerging issue in society, the big ideas and big impact. The focus of their ideas is well defined, hence somewhat narrow, but linked with the Foundation goals. Thus, the match between your idea and the Foundation goals is very important.
3. They will generally grant smaller awards linked with their ongoing goals. At times they grant large awards, only when they decide to target some big societal issues. The Foundations’ aims are to make progress on big challenges with big teams and in a short period of time.
4. They will generally require an intent-to-apply or a pre-proposal; however, you must follow their exact format. It is generally an online submission, and you will find the format for these pre-proposals on their websites. Pay attention to their specific questions and answer these questions directly and succinctly. Upon review, they may invite you to write a full proposal.
5. Generally federal funding agencies will grant awards in a given area every year; however, Foundations do not generally offer ongoing awards for projects on specific topics. Their priorities may change over time.
6. Unlike federal funding agencies, you do not have much information about past awards. At a federal agency’s website you may be able to download past successful proposals.
If you are considering targeting a foundation for a grant, feel free to contact OSP for guidance on the fit and the process. In future newsletters we will cover other aspects of securing funding for your ideas.
Launch of the New Thematic Scholarly Communities
This semester three new Thematic Scholarly Communities are being launched, these include:
1. Health Disparities and Health Humanities – the core champion is Dr. Suad Ghaddar.
2. Advanced Computing – Core team members include Drs. Jerald Hughes, Hong Qin, Artem Chebotko, Yul Chu and Graham Toal.
3. New Materials – Core team members include Drs. Hasina Huq, Waseem Haider, Jason Parsons, and Yuanbing Mao.
We appreciate the core team members to be leading these scholarly communities. Look for their meeting announcements during the semester.
Faculty Fellow in the Office of Research
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Teresa P. Feria from Biology will be joining the Office of Research as an ADVANCE Administrative Faculty Fellow; she will be working with UTPA Center Directors and the Thematic Scholarly Communities to help promote and support their research and scholarship efforts. Welcome Dr. Feria!
BRAIN Research Initiative
The White House recently announced a bold new Brain Research initiative through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) focusing on research on various aspects of the Human brain with an intent to develop a better understanding of the human mind and potentially developing ways for treatment and prevention of brain disorders such as Alzheimer, autism, epilepsy and other brain injuries. This new research challenge will engage researchers from a broad spectrum of disciplines including science, engineering and computer science. Undoubtedly other disciplines such as psychology and social and behavioral science will collaborate with scientists and engineers as part of multidisciplinary teams to uncover new solutions to prevent, cure and improve quality of life. This initiative has far-reaching implications for the national research enterprise and funding opportunities. So be thinking about how you may be able to participate and contribute in these efforts. Here are some links that you may be able to follow to learn more.
National Public Radio:
National Institute of Health:
The White House blog:
Grant Administration News Items
The Office of Sponsored Projects, in collaboration with other units whose services interface with grant administration, has been working as a team to make the pre- and post-award processes efficient. Here are some of the changes that these units have put in place to facilitate PI’s efforts and also of the Administrative Support staff working on grant administration.
In order to expedite the hiring process upon receiving an award Human Resources has created ‘standard’ positions to make it easier to include these positions during the grant writing stage. They have streamlined job titles like program specialist, coordinator, and senior coordinator. Internal job advertisements can occur without costs upon receiving the award notification.
A Fringe Rate Template has been created by Human Resources and the Budget Office to better estimate fringe rate costs for proposal budgets. This will help avoid budget deficit issues during grant administration. However, you must still reconcile any project costs within the first couple months to ensure that you will not face deficits. Contact the college ASO/Administrative Staff or the Office of Sponsored Projects on estimates for various positions.
The Accounts Payable department has implemented a new process for expediting invoices. When invoices are received with a price increase of $100 or less, the department will be able to release payment and no longer require Account Manager/Project Manager (or PI) approval for the overage. It will be charged to the same account. Invoices with a price increase of more than $100 will continue to require account manager approval; however, if response is not received on the same day that invoice will be processed, Accounts Payable will short-pay the invoice up to the amount approved on the original PO and will continue working with the PI and/or the vendor as needed to resolve the price discrepancy.
It is strongly suggested, when ordering supplies/equipment please make sure to ask for freight costs; even if it’s an estimate and include it in the requisition.
If you have other concerns, please communicate with your Administrative Staff supporting your grant administration efforts and/or to the ASO’s in your respective colleges so that they can work with the team working on addressing such concerns.
Office of Research Compliance
Institutional Review Board
If you plan to conduct research involving human subjects during the fall semester, we request that you plan ahead. If you have a deadline coming up for your research, we strongly recommend that you submit your protocols early and to contact our office for assistance. You may also visit our website at http://www.utpa.edu/irb for IRB requirements and templates.
Note IRB Changes: If you plan to conduct human subjects research using online surveys, we strongly advise you to request access to the online survey software provided by UTPA’s IT department. Effective immediately, IRB approval will no longer be granted for NEW protocols using online surveys managed by commercial third parties (e.g. Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, Zoomerang, etc.). The protection of research participants and the research data is one of our highest priorities. Surveys using the software provided by UTPA’s IT department are kept on a secure server and the confidentiality of survey participants is protected. The UTPA IT department is providing access to Qualtrics; IT has purchased a limited number of licenses. To request access to this software please click here. http://www.utpa.edu/dit/services/service.cfm?id=72
If you are conducting an online survey study managed by a non-commercial collaborator, like a state/federal agency or a non-profit organization, please include a copy of their management/security plan or certification of data confidentiality with your protocol.
The Office of Research Compliance will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have; please do not hesitate to contact us! For more information, please visit the IRB website. Feel free to contact IRB at 956-665-2889 if you have any questions please e-mail to email@example.com.
We would like to welcome Ms. Kimberly Fernandez who joined the Office of Research Compliance in June and will now be working full time to support IRB and Export Control efforts. Please do not hesitate to reach her if you have questions related to your IRB application or Export Control related concerns. Welcome Kim!
Time & Effort Reporting
Are you in compliance with Time and Effort on Sponsored Projects?
In order to be in compliance with Time and Effort, make sure you have taken the Time and Effort Training in Blackboard, your Time and Effort Card has been Certified, and if you have been selected for Verification that you have scheduled it already.
If you are randomly chosen for the Verification Process, make sure you have suitable means of verification. At a minimum it should have some form of written documentation. All documentation must be retained for audit purposes to support certification and must be sufficient to support a reasonable estimate of effort expended. Please visit the Time and Effort website for other Services, Resources and FAQ’s.
Responsible Conduct of Research
If I am conducting research on an NIH grant, how often do I need to be trained for the purpose of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)?
NSF and NIH require at least eight contact hours every four years for RCR training for Undergraduate and Graduate students, Postdoctoral Fellows, Faculty and Staff on NIH and NSF grants. Please submit the Training and Duration of Instruction form so we can keep track of it in our Database for any future audits.
Note, per NIH and NSF, on-line training is not sufficient, you need to incorporate both Formal and Informal training, you may visit the RCR website for upcoming RCR Trainings in the Fall semester.
If you have a Department of Defense (DoD) contract be aware that they recently published a ruling that contractors are not allowed to release non-classified information unless they have prior written approval from their contracting officer or if the information “results from or arises during the performance of a project that has been scoped and negotiated by the contracting activity with the Contractor and research performer and determined in writing by the Contracting Officer to be fundamental research” as defined by a national security directive and other government policies. Thus we cannot unilaterally provoke the “research exemption,” we need approval in writing from DoD.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may call 965-665-2889
For additional resources you may visit our website at Office of Research