This June 12th, a paralyzed Brazilian clad in a robotic bodysuit will be wheeled onto the field at the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In front of thousands of people in the stands, and millions watching on television, he will walk several steps and kick a soccer ball aided only by a new prosthetic exoskeleton – or mechanical suit – he controls with his brain waves via an EEG cap. He will feel his feet for the first time as tactile feedback is delivered to him about his progress. More than 170 researchers from around the world are working on the Walk Again Project, which is led by Miguel Nicolelis, a native of Brazil, and a prominent neuroscience researcher at Duke University.
As I indicated in my communication on April 25th, we have engaged an outside consulting partner, Huron Consulting Group, to perform a review of our research administration functions across the University (both central and local research administration operations).
I wanted to update you that we have officially started the project and expect Huron to deliver their final report by early June. There will be a number of opportunities for you to engage in the review process including an Open Forum which will be held on May 23, 2014. Please be watching for more specific information regarding time and location. You may also be contacted to participate in targeted survey activity. We expect to receive external review recommendations in early June.
Your input on CSU’s research administrative infrastructure strengths and our opportunities for innovation and enhancement are important to the process. Thank you again for your participation in this important initiative. Please feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns or as an alternative, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alan S. Rudolph, PhD, MBA
Vice President for Research
It has been a few weeks since I have had a chance to catch up with the Muse. As we wind down the semester, this has been a particularly busy time on and off campus for me, and I have been balancing immersive activities on campus with representing campus in DC and overseas. In the last few weeks I have continued my visits to campus departments, and colleges to meet new faces, hear about new passions, and learn more about how our office can serve faculty and the research enterprise. In early April I enjoyed a visit to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) where I met with the equine reproduction program and discussed the current status of the science and business of cryopreservation and radiological health particularly with opportunities in Japan at Fukushima University. In mid April I also visited with the Warner College of Natural Resources’ department of Geosciences and had a general discussion about microbiome work, working with industry partners, and hearing about infrastructural needs in the college.
I have stepped up bringing thought leaders to campus to identify new research opportunities for faculty. In the third week of April, we hosted Richard Hatchett, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director of the Biological Advanced Research Authority (BARDA), a $1.5B agency dedicated to research and development in medical countermeasures for emergency preparedness for pandemic disease outbreaks. He spoke to two groups on campus from both industry (including CSU spin outs and CSU ventures) and a broad presentation to campus that was very well attended. Richard spoke about future needs in diagnostics, radiological health and antimicrobial resistance. This latter area was especially pertinent as the World Health Organization (WHO) just released a sobering report on our antimicrobial resistance vulnerability. Richard was particularly interested in CSU’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) facility capable of producing countermeasures in containment facilities needed for many of the pathogen threats.
On April 25 we hosted a second visit of senior thought leaders in consort with the One Health Initiative bringing senior members of the Gates Foundation to campus to be keynote speakers in the One Health Dinner series. Steve Buchsbaum, Deputy Director of Discovery and Translational Science and Sindura Ganapathi, a new Program Officer presented the Foundation philosophy in investment and future areas of need. More specifically, Sindura addressed prospects in their new One Health Initiative. His main message was a recommendation to us to focus our initiative and define it by specific problems we are interested in addressing under the One Health banner. It was a great opportunity to see how a major sponsor in this area is thinking about One Health and compare notes to our own growing initiative. As we know, One Health is a broad landscape of potential opportunity and landscape and we are in the formative stages of defining this opportunity for ourselves. We hosted Stephen the next day to a series of topics and discussions ranging from Elizabeth Ryan’s work on rice bran, Mary Jackson’s departments work on mycobacteria, Dick Bowen presented on his emerging infectious disease work and United State Agency for International Development (USAID) program efforts, Raj Khosla presented on precision agriculture and Andy Jones presented on predictive atmospheric sciences and weather interests. This was a great interactive discussion to show how our faculty interests in One Health areas cross many disciplines. The discussion also showed a systems view of the intersections between animal and human health and the environment.
This spring we launched evaluations of key aspects of research infrastructure to seek more agility and innovation in providing key infrastructural needs to campus. We have called this initiative INSTAR, to reflect the insect larval stage of growth where significant adaptive reorganization takes place (think caterpillar to butterfly). INSTAR is an acronym that stands for Infrastructure for Innovative and Agile Science and Technology Applications. Lets see if we can live up to it. We completed a review of our animal care and use program and initiated a review in sponsored research activity. The evaluations are being conducted by external independent subject matter experts and will be invaluable as we work together to seek implemental change. This is timely as the National Science Foundation (NSF) just released a report entitled “Reducing Investigators’ Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research” that documents how faculty are being bureaucratized by increased regulation. I look forward to working with the new faculty advisory committee, the research associated deans, and the research strategic planning groups on campus to see how we can improve our infrastructure as a competitive advantage for us on campus.
Finally, I was able to attend the Undergraduate Research Colloquium in Johnson Hall and what a fantastic event. The hall was crammed with energy, enthusiasm, and ambitions of a new generation of future researchers. Many faculty mentors, parents, and friends were also in attendance. I was honored to attend the award ceremony and was humbled by the great turnout and excellence of the program. A big shout out to Mark Brown for his leadership in the Undergraduate Research Colloquium.
As we head into the end of the semester and into the summer, I will try to find a rhythm to the Muse that suits us and seek to distribute this communication to the appropriate audience. Enjoy the warmer weather.