Council of Principal Investigators (CPI)
A Long Campus-wide power outage is tentatively scheduled for December 20, 2019 to complete the final connection of the campus with the new main electrical switching station that replaces the original station from the 1970s. The staff in Facilities Management has been in contact with the CPI about this planned outage and they will present a series of Town Hall meetings to inform faculty and staff about the implications of this power transition. Emergency power will be available throughout the using this outage and investigators are encouraged to check the availability of emergency power outlets in their laboratories so if need be they can add outlets before the planned outage.
Concerns were brought to the CPI on December 13 about new signage on the Biosafety Type II, B2 biosafety hoods in the STRF and whether they were safe to use. CPI representatives met with Dr. Charlton, Ms. Bloodworth of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Mr. Waterhouse of ENV services on December 19 about this issue. There was miscommunication about the correct use of these hoods and the EHS staff have scheduled a Lunch and Learn session for the STRF staff and trainees in January to become informed about the correct use of these biosafety hoods.
The CPI met with the administrative directors responsible for online training in the areas of general compliance, research administration, protection of human subjects, and environmental health and safety. Approaches were discussed for streamlining these processes and enhancing coordination so as to avoid unnecessary duplication among programs and courses. The upcoming replacement of Knowledge Center with Taleo is considered to be a good opportunity for achieving these objectives.
The leadership of Information Management and Services met with the CPI for a wide-ranging discussion of researcher concerns. The Taleo platform (see above) was reviewed with specific attention to improvements relative to the Knowledge Center, enhanced coordination among training content owners, and better matching of training requirements to job duties. IMS welcomed the offer of CPI members to serve in a pre-release evaluation process for Taleo. The plans for the new ~$12M data center were presented, including the concept of a hybrid system with storage both on-premises and off. Means for optimizing IMS Help Desk support were reviewed. Recurring issues with VPN outages were discussed at length, concluding that IMS will strive to improve communication with users as these interruptions occur. Other discussion points included the restrictions on computer administrative privileges and cloud storage options available to investigators.
The CPI worked closely with Facilities Management on coordination of several scheduled utilities outages, ensuring to the fullest extent possible that researchers are notified well in advance and are provided with opportunities for direct input into the planning for these events.
The CPI engaged in exchanges with key directors of various research-related UTHSCSA components, including: Andrea Giuffrida, Vice President for Research; Ramiro Ramirez-Solis, Director of Institutional Core Facilities; Sudha Seshadri, Director, Biggs Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases Institute; Brij Singh, Dental School Vice Dean for Research; Robert Hromas, Medical School Dean.
Institutional management policies for indirect cost reimbursements (F&A revenues) on research grants were presented in detail by Michael Black, Chief Operating Officer and Andrea Marks, Chief Financial Officer. The CPI membership gained an in-depth understanding of how these funds are allocated and the terms under which a portion of the pool may be returned to the academic units that generate them and, ultimately, to grant PIs.
Rules and regulations regarding travel and meeting expenses charged to research grants were reviewed with Jerry Long, Assistant Vice President of Business Affairs, who strongly encouraged PIs to contact him directly regarding special issues in this area.
For further details on CPI accomplishments, please refer to the Meeting Minutes page of the website.
The CPI continues to work closely with Human Resources, the Employee Health and Wellness Clinic, Environmental Health and Safety to improve immunizations and TB monitoring for new and current employees.
The CPI had discussions with the Office of Sponsored Programs that resulted in changes to the certification language required for grant budgets to make it more acceptable to the principal investigator.
The CPI partnered with UT Health Administration to insure that the NCI Cancer Center Designation was maintained in light of the new MD Anderson affiliation.
The CPI meets with IMS on a number of issues and recently helped change institutional policy so as to more broadly exempt certain research data from the encryption requirements detailed in HOP Policy 11.1.14.
The CPI worked with Human Resources, the Employee Health and Wellness Clinic, Environmental Health and Safety, and the School of Nursing to improve immunizations and TB monitoring for new and current employees
The CPI worked with the Office of Sponsored Projects to allow for the inclusion of longevity pay for staff members on all proposals and to eliminate the requirement for a detailed budget for NIH modular grant applications
The CPI worked with the Office of Sponsored Programs to reduce the institutional requirements for materials submitted prior to grant submissions
Conducted a survey on campus carry and presented those results to the President and the University Committee charged with making recommendations
The CPI worked with Facilities Management to ensure that animal facilities were modified appropriately for the power outages
The CPI worked with Facilities Management to reschedule power outages to dates/times that were less disruptive to research