Spring 2021 Newsletter
Research Dean’s Corner
One year ago, our lives were forever changed by Covid-19. For many of us who have worked remotely due to the pandemic, this shift has largely blurred the lines between our work and home lives. While the pandemic has strained everyone, the stress and impacts from Covid-19 are felt more severely by some. Among our PIs and faculty members, the pandemic has brought heavy tolls for those who have lost family or friends, our early career faculty, women faculty, faculty who are caregivers of young children and elderly parents, and faculty of color. Some of you have shared the struggles and losses you’ve experienced in the past year. I’ve heard from some of you that you feel you’ve lost an entire year of your life. This past year has been hard on us mentally, emotionally, and physically. It has been exhausting. Without a doubt, we are still very much in the pandemic, but it appears that we’ve made it through the worst of it and will collectively emerge with newfound resilience and insights. We are positioned to apply our collective grit, strengths, and talents to contribute to solutions to the on-going and long-term impacts of this pandemic in our society.
Over the past 8 months in my role as Associate Dean for Research, I have gained a deeper appreciation of communication, coordination, and collaboration. I’ve increasingly seen how critical these three things are to the success of our research enterprise. I’ve enjoyed informative and productive conversations with many of you during our CERD Coffee Chats on the first Fridays of each month, which include representatives from each department in our college, from the CERD Office, from our CEHD Council of Principal Investigators (CPI), from Sponsored Research Services (SRS), and from the Division of Research and the Vice President for Research (VPR) Office. To date, we hosted interactive virtual sessions on addressing the needs and concerns of new and early career investigators, on ways to adapt outreach and research methods in Covid-19, on ways to maintain research productivity during the pandemic, on turning your ideas into awards, and on finding external funding. During the CERD Coffee Chats, it became very clear that the CERD Office, SRS, and the Division of Research were all working toward the same goal of supporting our PIs and researchers, so it was important to coordinate our efforts. In particular, I will continue to coordinate efforts with SRS and the Division of Research aimed at streamlining processes that will reduce the turnaround time for research compliance reviews and also reduce the burden of administration and management of grants for our PIs. I am also meeting monthly with Gerianne Alexander, Associate VPR and Research Integrity Officer, to coordinate efforts to streamline IRB and compliance applications for our PIs. I am enthused to know that we are all working on the same team, and I will continue forging close collaborative efforts with SRS and the Division Research to champion and work on behalf of our PIs and researchers.
I want to close by highlighting our CEHD Catapult Seed Grant program, as well as the exciting external grant opportunities at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). We were able to fund 13 CEHD Catapult Seed Grants for fiscal year 2021, with half of these awarded to early career investigators. Particularly noteworthy is that the Catapult awards were granted to PIs from every department in our college and to both tenure and academic professional track faculty. With the Catapult as the signature internal seed grant program for our college, we are in the process of collecting data to evaluate the outcomes, impacts, and the return-on-investment from prior Catapult Seed Grants awards. We look forward to hearing of your successes and receiving feedback from our prior Catapult awardees so we can further improve this program and continue to support our PIs to position them for successful external funding. Lastly, I know that many of you do research that is relevant to NSF and IES. As part of the Covid-19 Relief Bill, NSF received a supplement of $600 million to their budget and IES received an additional appropriation of $100 million. We have experts in our college ready to contribute to solutions to study and address the short- and long-term impacts from Covid-19. I would encourage all researchers doing work related to prevention, preparation for, and response to coronavirus to develop grant proposals aimed at the NSF and the IES. In particular, IES is interested in research that addresses the learning loss due to the coronavirus among at-risk or vulnerable student subgroups. Jack Baldauf, Associate VPR, is spearheading efforts with the Livable Texas initiative that brings TAMU researchers together to identify and address critical issues facing Texas society. As a member on the University Research Council (URC) Executive Committee, I am working with Jack Baldauf and with Frank Ashley III, Senior Associate Dean at the Bush School, along with other members of the URC to develop and implement a university-wide workshop focused on the Economy and Education. This workshop is targeted to take place in May 2021, and will focus on ways to address the impacts and learning loss from Covid-19. Details on this university-wide workshop are forthcoming, and we look forward to having many of our researchers and experts from CEHD be on the forefront and to collaborate with scientists and practitioners from across the Texas A&M System as we collectively tackle these critical issues facing Texas, U.S., and global societies.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or if I can support you with your research efforts in any way. Our CERD Pre-award Office is also here to help you with your grant proposal development. Please remember that we are here for you!
Until next time, thanks and Gig `em!
Dr. Jeff Liew
TAMU surpassed $1 billion in total research expenditures and is the first university in Texas to do so. I want to congratulate our CEHD researchers for their part in this major milestone! Please click above for details on this historic achievement for Texas A&M.
|Dept||Researcher||Role||Award Date||Project Title||Sponsor Name||Amount|
|TLAC||Rambo-Hernandez, Karen||PI||Sep-20||EEC: Research Initiative: A Holistic Cross-disciplinary Project Experience as a Platform to Advance the Professional Formation of Engineers||West Virginia University – for National Science Foundation||$8,628|
|TLAC||Hill-Jackson, Valerie||PI||Oct-20||2020-2022 Grow Your Own, Cycle 3 (aggieTERM)||Texas Education Agency||$220,000|
|EAHR||Roumell, Elizabeth||PI||Oct-20||Beyond the digital-divide: A grounded theory study to explore psychosocial barriers to adult digital literacy||Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy||$150,000|
|EPSY||Zhang, Dan||PI||Oct-20||Person-Centered Employment Planning Training (PCEP)||Texas Workforce Commission||$174,720|
|TLAC||Kuo, Li-Jen||PI||Oct-20||Reconceptualizing Early Writing Development in Chinese in a Digital Age: An Integrative and Technology-Enhanced Approach||Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation||$20,000|
|HLKN||Ten Have, Gabriella||PI||Oct-20||Targeted nutritional approach to restore metabolic deregulations during recovery from sepsis as assessed by comprehensive metabolic phenotyping||American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)||$25,000|
|EPSY||Zhang, Dan||PI||Oct-20||Texas A&M University Postsecondary Access and Training in Human Services (PATHS) Program at the Center on Disability and Development||Texas Workforce Commission||$312,000|
|HLKN||Harvey, Idethia||PI||Oct-20||The Study on Type-2 Diabetes and the Rural Experience regarding Stress and Self-management behaviors (STRESS) Project||DHHS-NIH-National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders||$533,290|
|EPSY||Gilson, Carly||PI||Nov-20||Aggie ACHIEVE at Texas A&M University||Department of Education||$2,231,742|
|TLAC||Hill-Jackson, Valerie||PI||Nov-20||Aggie Teacher Education Residency Model (aggieTERM): A Partnership Among Local Education Agencies and Texas A&M University||Department of Education||$6,657,837|
|HLKN||Kennedy, Deanna||Co-PI||Nov-20||Effects of Altered-Gravity on Perception and Bi-manual Coordination: Impacts on Functional Performance||National Aeronautics And Space Administration||$80,000|
|EPSY||Castillo, Linda||PI||Nov-20||Heart of Texas GEAR UP||Department of Education||$6,328,505|
|TLAC||Hernandez, Paul||PI||Dec-20||Families for STEM success||California State University – San Marcos – for DHHS-NIH-National Institute of General Medical Science||$124,930|
|TLAC||Hill-Jackson, Valerie||PI||Jan-21||Brazos Valley Teach: Building a Sustainable Teacher Education Pipeline for High School Learners’ Post-secondary Success||Greater Texas Foundation||$729,156|
|HLKN||Garney, Whitney||PI||Jan-21||Central Oklahoma Caregiver Innovation and Impact Network: Achieving Optimal Health and Preventing Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections||Thrive Inc. – for DHHS-PHS-Office of Adolescent Health||$558,858|
|HLKN||Moore, Melinda||PI||Feb-21||Designing Treatments for Brain Injury Associated Fatigue||University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston – for The Moody Endowment||$124,823|
|TLAC||Craig, Cheryl||PI||Feb-21||ESPRIT de Corps: Expanding STEM Professionals Roles in Teaching||University of Houston – Downtown – for National Science Foundation||$13,889|
|HLKN||Chen, Lei-Shih||PI||Feb-21||Promoting access to maternal smoking cessation and smoke-free home services among low-income rural pregnant women and their household smokers||Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas||$1,000,000|
|EPSY||Lara-Alecio, Rafael||PI||Feb-21||Virtually-Infused Collaborations for Teaching and Learning Opportunities for Rural Youth: Testing in a RCT Difference in Teaching Online versus Face-to-Face (Project VICTORY)||Department of Education||$7,999,563|
Note: the above list shows awards received and set up in Maestro as of the date of this publication.
Council of Principal Investigators
The CEHD Council of Principal Investigators held their third meeting of the 2020-2021 academic year on February 11, 2021, led by Chair, Dr. Tamika Gilreath, Associate Professor in the Health & Kinesiology Department.
Faculty members in attendance were Sandra Acosta (EPSY), Tim Elliott (EPSY), Marielle Engelen (HLKN), Ben Herman (TLAC), Rafael Lara-Alecio (EPSY), Joanne Olson (TLAC), Steven Riechman (HLKN), Kay Wijekumar (TLAC), David Wright (HLKN).
Topics discussed in the CPI Meeting included:
- X-Grants – Dr. Jeffrey Liew mentioned that, for the first time in the X-Grants’ history, they have more social behavior research reviewers than from engineering. If you are interested in being a reviewer for the X-Grants, let Dr. Liew know and he will put your name forward.
- US Department of Education’s IES program – we discussed the purview of this program and the types of proposals from unexpected perspectives that might be successful.
- Overview of services the CERD preaward office can provide, particularly with the introduction of the new Sr. Research Development Officer.
- Progress on the CPI Goals that were set for the 2020/2021 year.
- Technology needs for researchers, and how the solutions presented so far are working.
- CERD Post-Award discussed solutions reached on the action items from the fall, including account setup, messaging from SRS on COVID-related changes, and the creation of financial reporting.
- CERD Pre-Award has not seen any significant decrease in proposal submission due to COVID-19. CERD is working with SRS on process improvements to further help PI’s.
- Dr. Lara-Alecio provided updates from the University CPI, as well as changes coming to Maestro. CEHD CPI will plan to have a presentation from the Maestro group to go over these changes in the next CPI meeting occurring in April.
The date for the next CPI meeting will be April 8, 2021 from 12:30-2:00 via zoom. All CEHD faculty are invited to attend, and can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a link to the meeting.
For more information about The CEHD Council of Principal Investigators please visit the CEHD CPI website.
All faculty are invited to virtually attend our monthly CERD Coffee Chats on the First Friday of each month at 11:00 on Zoom. To register and submit discussion questions ahead of time, visit:
Thanks to everyone who has participated and contributed in our CERD Coffee Chats co-sponsored with CEHD CPI over the past several months. Last semester, we had discussions and speakers on topics covering “Supports for new & early career investigators”, “Ways to adapt outreach and research methods in COVID-19”, and “Ways to maintain our research programs in COVID-19”.
Our first topic for this semester focused on “Turning your ideas into awards”, and included speakers from CERD, SRS, and CEHD PI’s Dr. Idethia Harvey (Associate Professor, HLKN) and Dr. Carly Gilson (Assistant Professor, EPSY).
Our March Coffee Chat was a discussion on “Finding Funding”, with Dr. Noemi Mendoza Diaz (Assistant Professor, EAHR), Dr. Sandra Acosta (Assoc. Professor, EPSY), Dr. Karen Rambo-Hernandez (Assoc. Professor, TLAC), Dr. Jim Izat (Sr Research Development Officer, HLKN), Shelly Martin (Exec. Asst. managing Limited Submissions, TAMU Division of Research), and Julie Svetlik (Sr Research Development Officer, CERD) as guest panelists.
If you missed our last Coffee Chat and would like to see what the buzz is about, check out the video posted on our facebook page!
Our coffee chats offer a lot to learn for participants and speakers alike, and we are always looking for new topics to discuss at our interactive chats. We would love to hear your suggestions at email@example.com.
Pre Award Updates
CERD Pre-award Office hires new Senior Research Development Officer
We are pleased to announce that Julie Svetlik joined the CERD Pre-award Office in November as our new senior research development officer. As the senior research development officer for our college, Julie will be helping faculty identify funding opportunities and to foster collaborations and partnerships that exhibit potential for furthering the CEHD mission and strategic goals. She looks forward to meeting everyone and learning more about your research programs, so she can better support and assist you with funding opportunities and proposal development.
Julie comes to CEHD from Texas A&M AgriLife Research, where she coordinated large strategic grant proposals and provided overall research development support to faculty in the TAMU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS) and the 13 statewide AgriLife Research and Extension Centers. Before AgriLife, she worked for the West Virginia Water Research Institute as a natural resource economist. Julie holds a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University and a M.S. in agriculture and resource economics from West Virginia University. In her spare time, Julie enjoys gardening, birdwatching, and home improvement projects. Julie can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do we budget for Indirect Costs in our proposals?
Indirect costs (IDC), also referred to as F&A (facilities and administrative) rate or overhead, represent costs of performing research that are not readily identified with a particular grant, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and activities it performs. Examples include depreciation of research equipment and buildings, office and laboratory utilities (light, heat/cooling, power), hazardous materials management, libraries, internet, data storage & processing, insurance, administrative services, and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) for human subject research. These costs are not directly allocable to one specific project because those resources support multiple projects. Often, sponsors set maximum award amounts in their RFPs with the understanding that institutions will charge full IDC to their projects; therefore, the IDC allowance is built into the funding levels, not “taken away” from the research budget. Alternatively, NIH specifies the amount of direct costs it will fund per award, with the understanding that institutions will tack on indirect cost at their federally negotiated rates.
It is important for research grants to include these indirect costs because reimbursement of overhead encourages quality research at TAMU in two ways. First, the funds provide TAMU with the resources necessary to maintain a strong research infrastructure. Second, the extra compensation increases the value of research grants to TAMU, and subsequently, provides incentives for TAMU to devote its efforts toward building a strong reputation for quality research.
The current federally negotiated rate for on-campus research at Texas A&M University is 51.5%. When preparing a grant proposal, you can see the “Total Unrecovered IDC” at the bottom of the budget sheet prepared by SRS. When indirect costs are limited or unrecovered, TAMU must cover that amount using internal funds that may be better used elsewhere. Research support in the form of cost sharing, graduate tuition, lab renovations, etc. also comes from internal funds. These funds also provide support for most other things that TAMU does, from salaries, to benefits, to start up and retention packages, to student support and beyond. Therefore, it is important that TAMU receive full reimbursement for indirect costs whenever possible.
Research During COVID-19
Like most CEHD employees, our CERD office is currently working remotely rather than on-campus. But we are here and ready to answer all your needs virtually. We’re only a phone call, email, or zoom meeting away!
For guidance from Texas A&M University’s Division of Research on how to continue research during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://vpr.tamu.edu/covid-19.
If any faculty wishes to contribute to research related to the COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to look through the opportunities posted at https://vpr.tamu.edu/research-index-for-covid-19.
Researchers can also find a list of federal funding announcements for COVID-19 research by visiting https://vpr.tamu.edu/covid-19-funding-announcements.
Finding Funding Opportunities
With Pivot, you can enter search terms or browse by keyword to explore the latest funding opportunities and research trends. You can also sign up for regular, tailored email notifications with funding opportunities relevant to your research!
Scholars@TAMU – Did you know you can search for collaborators within a database created by the Texas A&M University Libraries? Scholars@TAMU is a profile system that hosts searchable expertise for faculty and TAMU organizations by gathering data from institution-level/enterprise systems, publicly available research data (e.g., grants and publications), and other authoritative sources. The data is compiled into a profile that you can edit to best represent your scholarship and expertise.
We encourage all CEHD researchers to give Scholars@TAMU a look. While you’re there, update your profile to help others find you and the important research you are working on – or wanting to work on!
Check out Scholars@TAMU here: scholars.library.tamu.edu
ResearchGate – Another great resource that all researchers should register for is ResearchGate.Net. ResearchGate is a global professional network for researchers where you can make connections with others in your field, access publications, share your research, and collaborate with peers.
Visit ResearchGate here: researchgate.net
Both sites are great ways to network with other researchers. Federal sponsors are increasingly looking to fund collaborative research proposals!
SRS Informational Sessions
Did you know SRS offers a series of monthly informational and Q&A sessions to address various research administration topics and issues? The sessions are titled AnSRS4U – Answers for You. If you would like to receive notices for these sessions directly to your email, you can contact email@example.com and request to be added to the SRS listserv.
The next AnSRS4U topic will be “Understanding Research Security”, and will be presented via zoom on Thursday March 25 from 10:00 to 11:30AM. If you have questions on project administration that you would like to have addressed, please email them ahead of time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register in advance by visiting:
Check out the most recent funding flyers available for CEHD: CEHD Funding Flyer 2020
* version as of March 16, 2021 – pending final numbers
Post Award Updates
The CEHD Post Award office is continuing to work remotely. If there are any questions regarding grant expenditures, or if you would like to arrange a zoom meeting or conference call, please contact one of the shared email boxes below.
Payroll and Personnel email@example.com
Orders, Invoice Payments, or Contracts firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Payroll Planning Has Started
The Post-Award Research Services team would like to take the opportunity to remind faculty and staff that we have begun planning for summer payroll efforts on research accounts. Over the next few weeks, we ask that faculty and staff please check your inboxes for emails from our staff and shared email addresses regarding plans for summer Graduate Research Assistants (GARs) and hourly student workers. If faculty plan to charge effort to research grant accounts for Summer, please coordinate with your post award representative, or contact the shared email box listed below. In addition to research effort, if faculty will be teaching courses during the Summer, or if they will be supported by departmental sources, this information is very helpful during the planning process.
We encourage anyone who has questions about summer payroll efforts on research accounts to contact our office at any time by emailing email@example.com.
A new maximum summer effort policy is now in effect for Summer 2021. Below are the details of this new policy along with an example.
The College of Education and Human Development best practice is that only 2.85 months should be charged to a research grant during the Summer. The remaining .15 months should go unpaid or be filled in by departmental sources (indirect cost, salary savings, etc.). This .15 months, or 5% effort per summer month, is meant to allow time to perform non-research tasks such as teaching prep and other administrative tasks.
If a principal investigator charges 2.85 (research) + .15 (departmental funds) for a total of 3 months’ salary, the attached Summer Salary Request form must be completed and routed to the Dean for approval. If only 2.85 months is charged and the .15 goes unpaid, no additional approval is needed.
The Summer Salary Request form may be found at https://vpr.tamu.edu/forms/pdfs/summer-salary-request
As a reminder, all purchases of software, internet programs, and internet subscriptions should be reviewed and approved by CEHD IT Tech Services prior to purchase. The post award team is happy to submit a help ticket for these type items. This is extremely important for personal credit card or TAMU purchase card transactions where the post award team may not be aware of the expense until after the fact. These expenses should be purchase via Aggiebuy when possible.
The review and approval by CEHD Tech Services is necessary to confirm compliance with accessibility requirements and usage restrictions; TAMU, State, and Federal regulations; intellectual property concerns; as well as CEHD infrastructure capabilities.
The first day of spring is just a few days away and I am forecasting the best spring ever and hopefully you are too! CERD Outreach has continued to work hard through the fall and winter to find ways to connect with and for faculty of the College. Since there has been no travel, we have focused on local initiatives including Brazos Valley Teach. BVT is a brand new project funded by the Greater Texas Foundation. Lead PI Dr. Val Hill-Jackson (TLAC) and Co-PI Dr. Leann Smith (EPSY) are working with three local pilot districts, Caldwell, Hearne and Bryan ISDs. Brazos Valley Teach (BVT) is an innovative college bridge and transfer transition program designed for high school students who know that a career in teaching is for them. Unlike traditional transfer programs, admitted BVT Fellows are also Texas A&M College of Education students from day one. The BVT Academy is a collaborative, co-enrollment partnership between a major university (Texas A&M) and a community college (Blinn). This initiative will allow the admission of hundreds of additional qualified students into Texas A&M University who want to be a part of the next generation of teachers.
Contact Amy Hinnant for more information or with any questions.