The Ten Initiatives: Independent Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

Independent Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
Point Person:
Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research

To ensure continued excellence in areas of core disciplinary strength, and those for which external funding support is limited, we will increase and stabilize funding for both faculty and students for travel, assistance, summer support, and internal grants to provide uninterrupted time for research, writing, and the creative process.

Relevant working group reports

Group 2 – Research: New Frontiers and Old Challenges
Group 3 – Teaching and Learning: Modalities, Technology and Contexts in the 21st Century
Group 6 – Student Experience: UNH as a Student‐centered Institution

Download all reports. (pdf)

What's happened in the last year

The Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Academic Outreach (OSVPEAO), and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research (OSVPR) collaborated to facilitate a number of learning communities (LCs) that worked specifically  with faculty in the humanities, social sciences, the library, and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to develop strategies, knowledge about funders, and other grant-seeking skills.  Support was provided for LC members to travel to visit program directors at a number of federal grant-making agencies.

As in past years, faculty were provided opportunities to develop their understanding of the sponsored research environment and develop their knowledge and skills related to grant seeking, compliance, grants management, and intellectual property by a variety of means including workshops, seminars,  on-line training modules, and individual meetings with OSVPR support unit staff.  During  AY10 -11, the OSVPR’s Office of Research Development and Communications (ORDaC) offered new workshops on Fulbright programs, working with foundations (co-hosted with the UNH Advancement Office), preparing proposals in the new NIH format, and funding opportunities for new investigators as well as recurring programs about NSF (National Science Foundation) CAREER Awards, and NIH AREA (Academic Research Enhancement Awards).  The OSVPR’s Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization (ORPC) hosted a series of seminars and workshops to provide guidance for applying to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants programs.

The redesigned UNH Research Web site has been completed.  Well-received since its launch in mid-March, the website brings the tools and services provided by all the Research Office support units to a single, user-oriented site created using best practices for web design. In addition, the area of the site that showcases the breadth and depth of the research, scholarship and creative activity taking place at UNH will facilitate collaborations and cross- and multi-disciplinary efforts between faculty, staff, students and partners from outside the University.

The OSVPEAO, assisted by the OSVPR, conducted the first Research and Engagement Academy in the spring of 2011  with an inaugural class of twenty-one faculty members. The Academy is designed to enhance faculty members’ scholarly careers by strengthening the quality and quantity of proposals submitted to external funders and to increase the diversity of faculty who are awarded grant funding.  Each participating Academy scholar commits to submit a competitive grant proposal to an external funder and to attend six workshops and receive guidance from an assigned “scholarly coach.” Scholarly coaches are senior UNH faculty with established track records of external funding and with the personal qualities and desire necessary to serve others.

What's happening now and plans for the future

The learning communities (LCs) established last year will continue, again facilitated by the OSVPEAO and OSVPR .  In addition, the new Sustainable Ecosystems LC will kick off with a 3-day summer institute in August.  A LC comprised of faculty interested in seeking support from the National Institutes of Health will be formed as well.   Special seminars and workshops focused on working with NIH are planned, some of which will be open to the entire UNH community to attend. 

The range of education and training opportunities for UNH researchers and partners is being expanded.  Building on last year’s well-received offerings, the OSVPR’s support units will provide a wider selection of programs in a variety of formats to address compliance, grant seeking, grants management, intellectual property and commercialization, and other topics that will help to increase and strengthen research and scholarly activity at UNH.  Of particular note,  a program to ensure that members of the UNH community that work with human subjects and seek funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) meet the NIH's new requirement for documented education on the protection of human subjects will be launched by Research Integrity Services . An updated calendar will be available on the Research Office website by mid-August, with additions to it occurring throughout the year as plans for programs are finalized.

The OSVPEAO, with the continued assistance of the OSVPR, plans to conduct the second Research and Engagement Academy in the spring of 2012.  Nominations by the deans will be requested in the fall.  It is expected that, over the next five years, 100 faculty members will have the opportunity to be involved in this academy as scholars or coaches.

Kathy Cataneo, Director of the OSVPR’s Office of Research Development and Communications, continues to define the services offered by this new office to assist individual and groups of faculty members and students to develop competitive proposals.  Guided by a Research Development Working Group composed of representatives from all UNH colleges, schools, and institutes, and from key partners such as UNH Advancement, Information Technology, and Research Partnerships and Economic Development, Cataneo presented recommendations regarding current and future programs and services to the SVPR in late spring.  In the coming year, tools and processes for evaluation of the office’s research development activities will be designed and implemented, and an OSVPR-wide communications plan will be finalized.

Sponsored Programs Administration and Research Computing & Instrumentation (both units of the OSVPR) continue to provide leadership for the on-going, complex process of implementing an electronic proposal-development interface.  This tool promises to be an easy-to-use system that will reduce the need for paper submissions and routing and improve the overall efficiency of research administration.