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April 14, 1993

                                    Minutes

                            COMMISSION ON RESEARCH

                                April 14, 1993

                                206 Sandy Hall

                                   3:30 p.m.

 

 

  MEMBERS PRESENT:  T. Brandon, C. Flora, J. Johnson, H. Kriz, B. Jortner

                    (for J. Lee), A. McNabb, M. Nasta, R. Olin, P. Rasnick,

                    P. Scanlon, D. Stoker, E. Stout, J. Wightman

 

  MEMBERS ABSENT:   H. Doswald, J. Eaton, P. Edwards, P. Eyre, R. Lytton, E.

                    McNeil, J. Pinkerton, R. Reneau, T. Wildman

 

  INVITED GUESTS:   D. Shelton, S. Trulove

 

 

 

  1.  ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Dr. McNabb asked the membership if the meeting sched-

      uled for April 28 could begin at 4:00PM rather than the standard 3:30.

      The membership agreed.  She stated that the critical business will be

      to elect a chair for next year and that perhaps they would have the in-

      tellectual properties committee issue on the agenda next time.  Dr.

      Johnson mentioned that there may be some center reviews next time as

      well.  Dr. McNabb offered to have a social for the membership at her

      home on May 5 from 4-5PM.  The response was positive.

 

  2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF MARCH 24:  Dr. Scanlon motioned approval; Dr.

      Flora seconded.  Minutes were approved.

 

  3.  APPROVAL OF AGENDA:  Dr. Jortner stated that he would like to discuss

      the intellectual property issue.  Dr. Scanlon motioned approval; it was

      seconded.  Agenda was approved with the addition.

 

  4.  SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS COMMITTEE APPOINTMENT:  Dr. Stout stated that the

      Commission on Research appoints one supplemental grants committee mem-

      ber.  He asked that they elect a person to serve next year.  The sup-

      plemental grants program is funded primarily by the Virginia Tech

      Foundation.  The role of the committee is to review proposals 4-5 times

      per year and dispense approximately $140,000 in travel money for inter-

      national conferences, etc.  Dr. Stout nominated Dr. Flora.  Dr. Scanlon

      nominated Dr. Reneau.  Dr. Flora stated that she would be inclined to

      withdraw.  Dr. Reneau was chosen by acclimation.

 

  5.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES COMMITTEE REPORT:  Dr. Johnson provided an up-

      date on the Intellectual Properties Committee.  There were 32 disclo-

      sures reviewed this semester compared to 18 in the fall semester.  They

      reviewed four the day before that were not included in the count.  She

      referred to the article in Spectrum in which we are ranked 14 in pat-

      ents.  Mr. Nasta asked about CIT disclosures and whether they origi-

      nated at the CIT centers on campus.  Dr. Johnson responded that they

      came from investigators on campus and were referred to the CIT for mar-

      keting and potential patenting.  Dr. Jortner asked what happens after

      they are referred to the CIT.  Dr. Stout stated that the CIT has an in-

      tellectual properties staff who researches, evaluates the marketability

      and in many cases the CIT pays the patenting costs.  Dr. McNabb stated

      that it is statewide and that it is sometimes to the advantage of the

      inventor.  Dr. Scanlon asked if the terms with the CIT are comparable

      to the deal they would get on campus.  Dr. Stout responded yes, but

      that CIT has to be reimbursed for their direct costs.

 

  6.  OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Dr. McNabb said the three items that the member-

      ship wanted Dr. Carlisle to address are:  1) the need for interdisci-

      plinary research versus protective attitudes by the traditional

      departmental structure of the university; 2) the need for publicity

      that couples research and scholarship/teaching in universities; and 3)

      the negative perception of Va. Tech as a regional university.  She said

      that she had received a response from Dr. Carlisle concerning the Of-

      fice of Sponsored Programs and the central capital account.  She said

      that Dr. Carlisle responded that he was glad for the input and he un-

      derstood the disappointment.  He would like to know if the Commission

      has suggestions on different ways in which the balancing act of the

      central capital account could be achieved.  A candidate for the Vice

      Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School will be visiting

      the Commission and Graduate Commission on April 20 at 10:30-12 in 1045

      Pamplin.  He is Michael Moriarity who is the Vice Provost for Research

      at the University of Georgia.  Other interviews will be forthcoming.

 

  7.  INDIRECT COSTS:  Mr. Shelton provided a handout for the membership and

      mentioned that some of the items about indirect costs can be discussed

      in the fall.  He then provided an overview of current environment for

      indirect costs and where higher education is today.  He mentioned the

      revelations of improprieties at Stanford University and some other ma-

      jor institutions which were part of the basis for the federal govern-

      ment losing faith in how we charge indirect costs.  The sad news was

      that the vast majority of all costs that were charged to the federal

      government were very appropriate and most schools could have probably

      have said that less than 1% of the charges they made might have been

      questionable.  However, those are the ones that got the press.  A lot

      of institutions were asked to go back and look at their indirect cost

      rates to see whether there was anything wrong.  Many institutions ended

      up providing some money back to the federal government; others did not.

      Out of that process came proposals from the federal government from

      both legislative and executive branches to change the rules of the

      game.  Mr. Shelton provided a handout listing the major revisions of

      the rules that have been proposed or changed.  The Office of Management

      and Budget (OMB) is the organization which promulgates or issues rules

      for indirect costs for higher education.  The first revision (to circu-

      lar A-21) in October 1991, required institutions to certify that they

      have expended or have reserved for expenditure within the next five

      years amounts equal to indirect costs reimbursements for facilities and

      equipment.  This is the specific provision for the central capital ac-

      count.  The other items in the list were reviewed and discussed with

      emphasis on how recovery of indirect costs could be affected by spe-

      cific proposals.  Examples of the impact of various proposals were in-

      cluded.  For example, a 1% decrease in the indirect cost rate means a

      loss of $250,000-300,000 to the university.  In both of the proposals

      we have submitted over the past few years our rates calculated an ac-

      tual cost based on the way the federal government allows us to get it

      of about 62%.  Mr. Shelton stated that he felt the rate would go down

      and that if we stay in the 50% range we will do well.  The University

      of Virginia negotiated downward last time.  The feds always argue that

      we are less expensive to administer sponsored programs at Virginia Tech

      than U.Va.  While he thinks we will continue to do a better job of jus-

      tifying our rates and being able to compute them, from a university-

      wide perspective he does not think we are going to be able to see an

      increase in those rates.  Only volume will keep us up to where we were

      in indirect cost recoveries.  In conclusion, in the fall Mr. Shelton

      would like to share with the Commission more about how we do indirect

      cost rates and some things about personnel activities reports.

 

  8.  RESEARCH MISSION OF THE UNIVERSITY - DR. CARLISLE:  Provost Fred

      Carlisle began the discussion by listing some examples of outstanding

      research and scholarly activities at Tech, which he had recently de-

      scribed to Tech alumni groups.  He explained the ways in which he

      linked these activities to the other missions of the university (teach-

      ing and extension) and how research is of benefit to society.  The re-

      mainder of the time was spent in dialogue resulting from questions from

      Commission on Research members about several implications of the Capi-

      tal Account plan, the use of resources for central versus college ser-

      vices, examples of student research and their usefulness in helping

      educate the public about research, implications of changes in federal

      indirect cost limits, and how interdisciplinary efforts might be en-

      couraged or discouraged by the availability of discretionary funds at

      different levels (Research Division versus Colleges).  He mentioned

      that he would like the new Vice Provost to retain our research ranking

      nationally and get our university admitted to the American Association

      of Universities.

 

  9.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES ISSUES - B. JORTNER:  Dr. Jortner said that one

      of the things that inhibits our ability to get contracts for private

      industry is the state's policy on intellectual property which is pretty

      stringent.  A discussion of many aspects of intellectual properties

      policies followed.  These issues will be listed as a possible topic for

      Commission on Research for next year.

 

  10. ADJOURNMENT:  Meeting adjourned at 5:10PM.

 

  FMAM/php

 

 

 

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