policy. For example, at USG, the reviews are performed at the level of the individual and the chair, meaning each department or school can set its own criteria for success in teaching and research.
If an emerging research institution finds itself in the position of having an excellent department that is poised to be a premier department—competing on an equal footing with departments at the research universities—the ability to create attractive start-up packages for star junior faculty becomes a pressing issue. Mario Diaz (UTB) pointed out that the physics department at the University of Texas, Brownsville, now finds itself in this position and has no mechanisms by which to provide the financing for such packages. Unattractive though it may be, it appeared that the only real solution was to reroute internal university funds from other areas. Terrance Johnson (TSU) commented on the complete inadequacy of start-up packages in the $10,000 range. For universities not used to the cost of research, $10,000 might seem like substantial funding, but it is about an order of magnitude below the cost of a single piece of equipment: “We need administrators who realize that science is expensive.”
Terrance Johnson (TSU) first brought up the topic of returned overhead, or other research incentive awards. Common in research universities, this practice takes a small portion of the grant-generated overhead dollars and returns it to the researcher for use in furthering his or her research. According to Vijaya Melnick (director of the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs at the University of the District of Columbia), the practice is not so common in ERIs. She said, “Many universities don’t make use of the indirect cost allocation as research incentives.” This kind of incentive system requires a small sacrifice by the university, but is disproportionately appreciated by researchers, who are given more flexibility in managing their research as a result.
The need to find resources was an imperative for most of the innovations presented at the workshop. Resources were not easily found, but did exist. The workshop featured four sources of support as examples of programs available through federal agencies: the Army’s Mentor-Protégé program, NIH’s Extramural Associates Research and Development Award (EARDA) at the Child Health and Human Development Institute, the NSF