News Items from UNC Greensboro

082510Headline_ResearchThe Office of Research & Economic Development is a one-stop shop. That’s the key message Dr. Terri Shelton had for the 33 individuals at New Faculty Orientation last Thursday. Shelton is vice chancellor for research and economic development.

She spoke for 30 minutes about her office and the services it provides faculty and the campus community. Earlier speakers that morning included Dr. Ray Purdom (TLC), Dr. Steve Roberson (Undergraduate Studies) and Dr. Brett Carter (Student Affairs). There would be so much to communicate, in limited time.

What did Shelton mean by “one stop shop”? Much of what faculty might be interested in as support for their research or creative activities are in the administration side of the MHRA Building. For example, the Office of Sponsored Programs, on the first floor, helps with searches, subcontracts, proposal submission and most pre-award activities. The Office of Contracts and Grants, which reviews budget preparation but manages most post-award activities, is on the second floor. For those who are doing research that involves subjects, human or otherwise, the Office of Research Compliance is on the second floor, too. For those who are interested in commercializing their innovation or invention, there are the Offices of Economic Development, Innovation Commercialization, and the Small Business Technology Development Center. A faculty member who’s new to campus can see it as a ‘one stop shop.’

“Before this building was built, all these offices were spread across campus and if you were submitting a grant, you had to physically go from office to office to get help and get a proposal signed off. Now with everyone in the same building and with the electronic submission, it’s much more user-friendly.”

The Office of Research and Economic Development reports to Academic Affairs, she explained to the new faculty, providing context. She spoke about each of the offices, programs, centers and institutes that are a part of her office. The components of the Office of Research and Economic Development involve providing infrastructure to assist faculty in proposal development and submission, technology transfer and compliance; helping grow the campus’ research enterprise; economic development and community engagement.

She stressed what the office may be able to do for the faculty in their first years and their research activities.

For example, regarding the Office of Sponsored Programs,”Let them know what types of things you’re interested in…. They can help you in getting funding.”

She explained that the “economic development” component of her office is very broad – “it’s not just job creation,” she explained.

“Workforce development, leadership development, public policy analysis, capacity building, the creation of intellectual capital and technology transfer are all relevant components.”

She presented a list of members of the campus’ Research Advisory Council (RAC). She strongly advised them to talk with their associate dean for research or director of research who is on this council. “If you take nothing away else away from this [presentation, just before lunch], go find your research dean or director of research and make yourself known to that person,” she advised them.

It’s been a newsworthy year for the Office of Research and Economic Development. 2009-10 was UNCG’s best year receiving grant awards, as Chancellor Linda P. Brady announced in her State of the Campus Address. During the year, external funding was more than $47 million, about 34 percent more than the previous year. Stimulus funding accounted for $8.8 million of that figure. Grant submissions at UNCG increased 53 percent.

One change is a new name for what had been called the Office of Technology Transfer. It is now the Office of Innovation Commercialization.

“The new name helps to dispel misperceptions that we only commercialize hard science discoveries,” Shelton says. “We felt that the title more fully embraces the traditional strengths of this university and highlights that we are committed to doing more than transfer technology. We are committed to helping create and support an atmosphere where innovation occurs, that we commercialize that innovation whenever possible, and that we support the entrepreneurial spirit among our students, faculty, and staff.”

Jerry McGuire is associate vice chancellor for economic development. The Office of Innovation Commercialization reports to him, as do two other offices: the NC Entrepreneurship Center, which is beginning a search for a permanent director; and the Small Business and Technology Development Center Regional Service Center.

Among other recent changes in the Office of Research and Economic Development:

  • Sponsored Programs has reorganized and there are a few new faces. Dr. Valera Francis continues as director, and while Charna Howson left last winter; Lloyd Douglas, Paul Tuttle and Michael Preuss have joined to make the office more robust.
  • The Center for Social, Community and Health Research and Evaluation has been created. Dr. Joseph Telfar is the director of this interdisciplinary center.
  • The individuals who were once a part of the Center for Research Excellence in Nanobiosciences now are at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.
  • The Office of Undergraduate Research, led by Dr. Mary Crowe, is now under the leadership of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Increased grant funding for “Scholars’ Travel.” The Office of Research and Economic Development’s internal grants for faculty members presenting research at conferences and symposia has been increased from $350 to $500. Part of that figure is normally matched by the faculty member’s department or program.

More information is at http://www.uncg.edu/rsh/.

By Mike Harris
Photography by David Wilson

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