The department recently created the Director of Research position to be available to assist members of the department (faculty, students, and affiliates) in their research activities. I’m filling this position this year.
Because the position is so new, we’re still figuring out just what the range of activities the Director of Research carries out will be. The position will certainly largely consist of helping department constituents with grant activities. Over the summer, Hsiang-Yuan Ho and I put together a database of funding sources from which faculty and students in the department might seek funds (it can be found on the department webpage under the Quick Links tab). Jenelle Clark is working this semester on making the database easier to navigate. Jenelle has also become an expert in SPINPlus, a funding search database to which the university recently subscribed. The database is a great tool for seeking out funding sources, and Jenelle has already gotten several graduate students in the department set up on using it. Just contact Jenelle if you would like to learn how to use SPINPlus.
In assisting with grant activities, I also have been working with Gaye Bugenhagen to determine how the department can give more support to faculty and students who are seeking and who have secured grant funding. Gaye has already gone a long way in this regard, including in helping in proposal preparation, transitioning our online funding systems to new formats, interacting with online grant submission systems for investigators, reading funding announcements to make sure proposals satisfy requirements, and closely monitoring grant budgets. I have been spending time this semester reading drafts of grant proposals from graduate students and faculty, helping students target their funding requests to the right locations, and meeting with other units on campus about possibilities for funding and/or collaborations.
As I continue in the Director of Research position, I hope to begin to make more efforts to reach out individually to department members about support that would help them in finding funding sources and submitting grant proposals. I am also in the process of setting up workshops in the department on various topics, including applying for NSF Dissertation Improvement Grants, Mechanical Turk, data visualization, and Prezi. It is also my hope that we can begin to explore applying for training grants and other sorts of infrastructure support to the department.
Again, the position is new, and I’m just starting to feel my way in it. If you have any ideas for activities in which you think it would be valuable for the Director of Research to engage, or if there are any ways I can help with your research activities, please let me know.