The age of disruption has arrived with breathtaking speed. Public universities find themselves navigating a rapidly changing landscape that demands innovative and creative approaches to excel.
The teaching, discovery, and engagement mission of public research universities is timeless, but that hardly makes their work immune from the forces disruption. Reduced public funding and shifting political dynamics, new technology, an increasingly diverse student body, and constantly evolving needs from those who employ our graduates are just some of the challenges institutions face. Our world is changing rapidly and so must our institutions.
Join us November 12 – 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C. for the 2017 APLU Annual Meeting to tackle these and other challenges public research universities are facing as they work to adapt to age of extraordinary change. The meeting will also feature plenty of time to network with fellow public research university leaders. The meeting’s theme – The Age of Disruption: Navigating, Innovating, and Excelling – will examine how public research universities must reform to thrive in the 21st Century and in so doing help our communities thrive too.
The APLU Annual Meeting has become the premier event for public university leaders to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues from across the country and all of North America, learn about the latest challenges and opportunities facing public universities, and develop new ideas and initiatives to further strengthen our work. The APLU Annual Meeting provides great opportunities to strengthen your institution along with ample networking opportunities—learn about best practices and share your institution’s story. Register today!
You are cordially invited to “Revitalizing the University-Industry-Government Partnership: Creating New Opportunities for the 21st Century,” to be held on November 15, 2017 at the National Academy of Sciences Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene leaders of business and industry, federal and state government, higher education, and other sectors of society for an intense discussion of strategies for revitalizing the role of our nation’s research universities in educating creative workers and leaders for the 21st Century; advancing our nation’s health care, food production, and national security capacities; serving the needs of all citizens in their local communities through outreach and extension; and stimulating innovation and growth in business and industry.
Please plan to join us for a day of dynamic presentations and stimulating conversations aimed at restoring the central role of research universities in our nation’s economic, social, and cultural growth and advancement; strengthening the partnerships between research universities and the essential sectors of our nation that produce economic growth, protect our health and well-being, and support our national security; and ensuring that the workforce of the 21st Century can meet the demands of a changing economy and can produce the innovation we need to remain the most vital economy and society in the world.
Please RSVP here and direct any questions to Jaime Colman (email@example.com). CoR members are highly encouraged to attend this event immediately following the APLU Annual Meeting on November 12-14, 2017 and to share this invitation widely.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century has released a Discussion Document and Call for Community Input as part of its information gathering activities. The Discussion Document outlines sets of competencies that may serve as core educational elements at both the master’s and Ph.D. levels, while the Call for Community Input welcomes general reactions to the competencies and also provides questions for more specific feedback. The Discussion Document and Call for Community Input will remain open for comment until September 22, 2017.
APLU and the American Association of Universities (AAU) will host the inaugural “University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase,” highlighting APLU and AAU university-affiliated startup businesses during the APLU Annual Meeting on November 13 and 14 in Washington, D.C. The showcase will promote the importance of federally-funded university research and demonstrate how university-led entrepreneurial engagement contributes to the innovation economy. In addition to exhibiting at the APLU Annual Meeting, showcase participants will head to Capitol Hill to display their innovation/entrepreneurship work and speak with Members of Congress and Congressional staff. Applications are due by September 22, 2017 and must be submitted via this form. Universities may nominate multiple startups, and additional information about the showcase can be found in the official flyer and also the supplemental FAQ document. Please contact Carina Márquez at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
APLU is currently accepting applications from member institutions interested in pursuing the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Designation and Awards program, which recognizes universities who are leaders in spurring and promoting regional economic development. Participating institutions complete a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement enterprise and earn APLU’s IEP university designation if enough benchmarks are met. More than 50 universities have received the designation to date. Those who earn the designation are then eligible to apply for APLU’s IEP University Awards, which are given in the categories of Talent, Innovation, Place, and Connections. Throughout the process, designated campuses as well as institutions seeking the designation are given access to the Learning Exchange, a platform for learning, sharing and engaging with peers in university economic engagement.
In order to formally begin the process of seeking the IEP university designation, an institution’s president/chancellor must send a formal letter of intent to APLU President Peter McPherson utilizing the following template by September 29, 2017. Once received, the institution becomes a part of the IEP startup cohort – institutions that are actively seeking the IEP designation. An institution has 3 years from the point of entering the startup cohort to apply for the IEP designation. Full details regarding the designation process, timeline, and guidelines as well as a recording of an informational webinar can be found on the APLU website. Further questions regarding the IEP universities program should be directed to Shalin Jyotishi at email@example.com.
On July 26, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a much awaited “Request for Information” (RFI) related to the 2016 rule on “white collar” exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements in the Federal Register. The RFI comes as the 2016 rule remains under a federal court imposed injunction. Among other changes, the overtime rule would raise the minimum salary threshold for exempt positions from $23,660 to $47,476. APLU joined a number of higher education associations in submitting comments to the proposed rule in 2015 and engaged the Obama administration at high levels to express concerns with the impact on higher education.
The RFI, which has a 60 day comment period and asks for specific feedback in response to 10 questions, begins a DOL process which is likely to result in revisions to the regulation. Comments on the RFI may be submitted electronically via regulations.gov by September 25, 2017.
Last Monday, APLU joined with over 100 other organizations on a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to express strong opposition to the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 proposal to cut $7.2 billion, or 21 percent, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. APLU is deeply concerned about the impacts of these cuts, including the proposal to drastically reduce NIH support for Facilities and Administrative (F&A) expenses for physical infrastructure and other essential costs of research.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) jointly released a memo on August 17th concerning the administration's research and development priorities for FY2019. The memo, addressed to the heads of executive departments and agencies, outlines five priorities areas for federal research and development: military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health. It also directs agencies to increase efficiency by modifying or eliminating existing programs that could “that could progress more efficiently through private sector R&D,” to prioritize basic and early stage applied research that the private sector can later transform into commercial products, and to incorporate STEM education into their programs. According to the memo guidance, achieving these goals should not require additional funding.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) submitted its report to Congress on the DATA Act Pilot Program on August 10th. The DATA Act charged OMB with carrying out pilot studies with the goal of reducing financial reporting burden on awardees through greater interoperability of financial systems. This process began with soliciting suggestions through the National Dialogue and progressed to the development of test models, including five specific to procurement and contractors and six specific to grants.
NIH is currently in the process of implementing several polices to improve stewardship of clinical trials, an effort which was announced in September 2016. NIH’s definition of a clinical trial was revised in 2014 in anticipation of these stewardship reforms to ensure the definition was clear and responsive. Over the next several months, NIH will be providing updated information, tools, and resources to the community as guidance about the definition of a clinical trial. The aim of this guidance is to help researchers understand their responsibilities under NIH’s broader clinical trial stewardship efforts and to ensure consistency in identification and management of clinical trials across the agency. The existing resources, as well as the new ones such as FAQs and specific case studies, can be found on the NIH Office of Extramural Research’s website on Clinical Trial Requirements for Grants and Contracts. For questions or additional information, please contact the NIH Office of Extramural Research at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Policy Office in the Division of Institution & Award Support at the National Science Foundation is pleased to release the third quarterly NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter, designed to provide information about upcoming changes and clarifications to policies and procedures that affect the preparation and submission of proposals and management of awards. Please let the NSF know of any feedback at email@example.com.
As you read this, NSF is knee-deep in boxes as we prepare to begin a six-week phased move to our new location in Alexandria, Virginia. The move begins at the end of August and finishes October 1st. Beginning October 2nd, the new NSF mailing address will be:
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
During the phased move, you may experience delayed response times when trying to communicate with NSF staff. Staff email addresses and phone numbers will remain the same and will continue to be accessible on the NSF website.
A research oversight article on the Common Rule, What do Revised U.S. Rules Mean for Human Research?, was recently published in Science. The article summary is as follows:
Following a contentious 5½-year process, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) released a revised “Common Rule,” which governs federally funded research involving human subjects (1). The updated rule includes a number of welcome changes for U.S. institutions and researchers, and their scientific collaborators abroad. Annual protocol review by an institutional review board (IRB) is eliminated for many studies that pose minimal risk to participants following initial approval; IRBs no longer need to review and document concordance between grant proposals and study protocols; and, pertinent to research conducted with international collaborators, the rule recognizes that there may be cultural groups or communities for which signing a consent form is not usual. Concerns remain, however, regarding some elements of the revised rule and their implications. With preparations under way in advance of the rule's taking effect on 19 January 2018, and in light of lingering uncertainty, we highlight provisions that will present the greatest challenges to institutions and researchers.
On August 17th, The NSF released Important Notice No. 140, Training in Responsible Conduct of Research – A Reminder of the NSF Requirement. The NSF recognizes the importance of research integrity and the responsible and ethical conduct of research. As such, NSF’s Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement applies to the breadth of research disciplines the Foundation funds and the different educational levels of the students and post-doctoral researches the agency supports. RCR training should be effective and appropriately tailored to the specific needs and circumstances at each university, and it is the responsibility of each institution to determine both the focus and delivery method for appropriate training.
Peer Review Week, scheduled for September 11-17, 2017, is a global event celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. The event brings together individuals, institutions, and organizations committed to sharing the central message that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications. The theme of Peer Review Week 2017 is Transparency in Review, and planned activities include virtual and in-person events encompassing webinars, videos, interviews, and social media activities designed to improve understanding of the principle of peer review and how it is practiced within the scholarly community. For more information or to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along on Twitter at #PeerRevWk17 and #TransparencyinReview.
The Transforming Research Conference will be held at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland on October 12-13, 2017. This new, innovative conference will feature two days of panels with leading national research evaluation experts, offering attendees to the event opportunity to support an extended conversation about the future of the research portfolio, including new methodologies and metrics to enhance scholarly impact. We are now accepting submissions for lightning presentations, giving attendees the chance to show how they are developing the impact of their research. Make your submission and showcase your work. The Conference is intended for higher education faculty and research administration and support professionals including funding agencies, research officers, librarians, publishers, and administrators.
The next NSF Grants Conference will be held November 13-14, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. Further information is available on the NSF Grants Conference website. Registration for this conference will open the week of September 4th. In addition, NSF plans to provide a live webcast of the plenary sessions; visit the NSF Grants Conference website for additional details.