New vice president for research administration to join CSU

The Office of the Vice President for Research has selected Christa Johnson as its new associate vice president for research administration.  Her appointment begins May 1.

In her new role, Dr. Johnson will serve as a key member of the OVChrista JohnsonPR’s leadership team as well as an advocate and an advisor to the vice president for research and operational activities.
She will interface with central administration, colleges and other agencies on behalf of the OVPR and also will lead the implementation of programs and the deployment of resources to strengthen CSU’s research administrative support, especially in the areas of sponsored programs and research services.
We are fortunate to welcome Dr. Johnson to the Office of the Vice President for Research as her qualifications and endeavors align with not only the mission of the OVPR, but of CSU’s land-grant mission.
During her tenure at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Johnson led several process and quality-improvement initiatives for research administration, including consolidating and streamlining contracting and grants processes in the Office of Sponsored Research Services.
A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Johnson earned a joint-Ph.D. in humanities and German Studies. Prior to joining Washington University, she served as associate dean for research at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where her areas of responsibility included pre-award grants and contracts operations, all areas of legal and ethical compliance, including the Institutional Review Board, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Responsible Conduct of Research, Conflict of Interest and export controls and assisting with graduate program review.
An active member of the Federal Demonstration Partnership, Dr. Johnson has worked with the Council on Government Relations, and the National Council of University Research Administrators. She is a recipient of several awards and has presented at more than 50 national and regional meetings and workshops.
Dr. Johnson has served on numerous National Council of University Research Administrators and Federal Demonstration Partnership committees, co-chaired, among others, the NCURA Pre-Award Research Administration Conference national meeting and was recently elected to the NCURA Nominations and Leadership Development Committee.
Dr. Johnson also has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in historical studies and comparative literature at both Southern Illinois and Washington University.

The LSC Research Wall

The Research Wall, funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research, made its debut Jan. 22 in the Lory Student Center.
This wall, near the LSC Grand Ballroom entrance, emphasizes Colorado State University researchers, projects, awards, events and funders on a rotating basis in photo slideshows and research videos. It is a priority of the office to feature university-wide representation in the design of the wall and on the four interactive TV monitors.

To have your research featured on the Research Wall email



It is the season of resolutions and renewals. I am most often reminded of resolve as I turn the cranks of my bicycle on any of the many long uphill roads in the region. For me, there is a strange Zen of setting a rhythm—pulsing your body’s force against the mountain over the course of 2-or 3-thousand feet for hours. On my latest climb up and around the Sedona Hills and Carter lake areas, I tried to take my mind off the exertion and long uphill ahead to focus on the views from the moment.

These periods of introspection and the resolve needed to rise to the challenge seem appropriate given the events and activities of our office over the fall period and into the New Year. On my first retreat as VPR about a year ago, we set a course to explore interests in the research enterprise in creating new opportunities against large complex issues. We pledged to step up our efforts to advocate for the research enterprise in new ways. In turn, we established three areas of focus to create cross-campus dialogues with our key constituents, faculty around recognizing and rewarding people, examining processes to seek effectiveness and agility and new programs that promote interdisciplinary teaming. In each of these areas, we have made substantive progress against defined goals.

Recent announcements from our office that are products of that retreat include the Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships and the Interdisciplinary Scholars Awards. Both of these programs are launched as a result of a constructive and transparent process that brought in many from all over campus. The Catalyst program seeks to build new interdisciplinary teams that will pursue complex problems with consortia like proposals to establish large impact research opportunities for CSU. This is a different investment model than our typical seeded research programs, as we seek to support these teams with an OVPR Catalyst team to facilitate success. The Interdisciplinary Scholars award recognized existing success in interdisciplinary research and teaming.

CSU students observing the LSC Research Wall

CSU students observing the LSC Research Wall

Our resolve to advocate on behalf of research excellence is best manifested in the opening of the new research wall at the Lory Student Center. The wall project was initiated a year ago when Mike Ellis approached us about supporting a media wall that would allow us to present outstanding achievements from our research and scholarly arts. We commissioned John Gravdahl in our Arts Department to design four panels that capture the imagination and magic of discovery and impact of our research efforts. The work he completed now hangs on the wall and is titled “The Research Method” and is an outstanding artistic legacy John has left for CSU. We held a great unveiling event on January 22. Kudos to Lauren Klamm, Kathy Partin and Ellen Fisher in the OVPR who worked tirelessly to bring the wall to fruition.  For me, the event held a personal connection as I learned that John also was commissioned for graphic arts for my uncle who at the time led the Fort Collins Symphony.

The last month we participated in the strategic planning and budget hearings held at this time of resolve. Our presentations represented hours of dialogue with the Council of Research Associate Deans, Council of Deans and Research Strategic Planning Committee on key goals for the research enterprise, metrics as to what we would measure and be held accountable for, and resources needed to meet defined strategic goals and programs. We requested resources to grow the Catalyst program, solidify the implementation of electronic reporting and administrative systems (Digital Measures, Kuali-Coeus) and to add resources to communicate the world class discoveries and impacts accomplished by our outstanding faculty.

Finally, the Provost Office and OVPR launched a new effort to fund faculty in key strategic areas of interest. We received many great cluster hire proposals from across campus in this first round of this new program in exciting areas of potential growth. We are currently evaluating the proposals to explore how to strategically align these investments. I am sure we will apply the same resolve that is a hallmark of CSU to identifying areas for cluster hires, recruitment and selection of great new faculty that can contribute to future land grant missions in exciting new ways.

As I finish reflecting over the last year, my mind returns to my cycling trek. I recognize then that the exertion I was avoiding held a metaphor to the OVPR’s journey. Processing this comparison, I pedal along the uphill path. A marker of my laborious effort remains the rhythmic beat of my own breathing, my own heart thumping and my bicycle’s gears changing, providing cadence to the journey. In this rigorous moment, I remember one of the great motivators is the promise of an easier downhill journey. When it arrives, I rest my legs and, from here, a scenic view serves as a reward for great effort. After only one short year, a year full of uphill strategic planning, determination and implementation, the OVPR’s abundant accomplishments are the scenic views rewarding our hard work. While we allow ourselves to relish in this moment, as any trekker knows, one must prepare for the next journey with great resolve. Heart pumping and cranks turning, we welcome the uphill journey propelling us into the next year.

Investing in Research Partnerships

Seven teams of researchers across Colorado State University will be working together on some of the  most pressing global problems, thanks to innovative investments from the Office of the Vice President of Research.

The ability to use scientific discoveries to drive technological solutions to our global problems will require the integration of multiple disciplines and the formation of innovative partnerships across sectors.

Teams will be seeded with a critical mass of funding up to $200,000 for two years and provided infrastructural support to seek partners and resources to create and deliver novel solutions for some of our most important problems. These relationships will nurture the creation and delivery of solutions in energy, health, and the environment.

We are excited about this new program and the tremendous response we have received across campus. The Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships investments were created to encourage research teams to collaborate with new partners and find innovative ways to solve complicated, global problems in line with our rich land-grant heritage.

Congratulations to the following teams:

Team Members

Developing Advanced Polymeric Materials for Grand Challenges
Sue James, Ellen Fisher and Matt Kipper, Eugene Chen, David Dandy, Arun Kota, Melissa Reynolds, Chris Snow, Travis Bailey, Ketul Popat, Christie Peebles, Tom Chen, Christian Puttlitz, Vivian Li, Jeni Cross, Stu Tobet This group will develop and exploit new synergies to solve two grand challenges associated with modern polymers and plastics:   development of renewable/ sustainable feed stocks for polymers and designing biocompatible polymers for use in applications such as tissue engineering, vascular grafts and implantable medical devices. COE, CNS, CVMBS, CHHS, CLA
Rural Village Microgrid
Daniel Zimmerle, Amy Young, Meghan Suter, Eric Aoki, Kathleen Galvin, Peter Means, Paul Hudnut, Dale Manning, Keith Paustian and Doo-ho Park The overall goal of this initiative is to establish a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural team to design, test, and validate energy-based solutions for rural African villages utilizing microgrid technology built on clean energy and hopes to use this effort as a catalyst for comprehensive rural development. CLA, COB, CAS, CHHS, COE, Energy Institute
Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Matthew Wallenstein, Richard Conant, Gregory Graff, Courtney Jahn, Andrew Jones, Ken Reardon, Meagan Schipanski Through this initiative, the team will advance innovations to feed more people with reduced environmental impacts globally by harnessing the power of soil microbial communities and plant-soil-microbe interactions. WCNR, CAS, COE
Partnership for Air Quality, Climate, and Health
A. R. Ravishankara, Sonia Kreidenweis, Jennifer Peel, John Volckens, Marilee Long This team will implement a structure and support facility to comprehensively integrate CSU-wide capabilities in air quality, climate, and health, while focusing on communicating scientific findings to stakeholders in innovative ways so as to inform and direct individuals as well as climate policy. CNS, CVMBS, COE, CLA
Fort Collins Urban Resiliency: EcoDistricts and Triple-Helix Community Development
Jeni Cross, Brian Dunbar, and Choi As the earth’s population becomes increasingly urban, cities are facing complex economic, social, and environmental challenges that are best met through the collaborative effort of municipalities, private business, and researchers – the triple-helix approach proposed by this team. CLA, CHHS, CAS
Institute for Genome Architecture and Function
Karolin Luger, Jennifer DeLuca, Randy Bartels, Ashok Prasad, Travis Bailey, Cristiana Argueso Establishing an institute for Genome Architecture and Function will allow this team of researchers to explore the organization of genetic material in the cell which affects the development and progression of a wide range of diseases including cancer. CNS, COE, CVMBS
Coalition for Development and Implementation of Sensor Systems
David Dandy, Tom Chen, Chuck Henry, Anura Jayasumana, Rick Lyons, Jennifer Mueller, Sangmi Pallickara, Lori Peek, Ken Reardon, Melissa Reynolds, John Volckens The mission of this team is to unite researchers focused on designing and developing integrated chemical and biological sensors and sensor networks that address critical needs in prevention, monitoring, and treatment applications including infectious diseases, cancer, water, food safety and energy. COE, CNS, CLA, CVMBS, IDRC

VPR Research Core Facilities

The Office of the Vice President for Research is committed to supporting foundational research infrastructure and facilities necessary to enable excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement in research, scholarship and creative artistry. These shared resources ensure access to state-of-the-art research tools and expertise across the University and provide for development of new directions in emerging areas of research and technology.

The OVPR acknowledges the critical need to provide ongoing support of research infrastructure as well as to be agile and adaptable to new technologies and innovations in research. As such, we have designated three types of core facilities:

Institutional Core Research Facilities – directly provide core function to CSU’s research mission, through core research functions or services that include specific environmental needs and/or infrastructure spaces (e.g. buildings, hardware, security, air quality, isolation requirements, etc.) and have broad-base institutional support.
Foundational Core Research Facilities – directly provide one or more core functions across a broad spectrum of researchers, both within CSU and likely external to CSU
Emerging Innovations Facilities – provide resources and/or services in new or emerging areas of research and technology, both within CSU and potentially external to CSU

The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to announce availability of funding from the Research and Creative Artistry (RA/RSP) Core Facility allocation-

Foundational Core Facilities: The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to announce availability of funding from the Research and Creative Artistry (RA/RSP) Core Facility allocation. This RFP is focused on the directed funding of Foundational Core Research Facilities – characterized by directly providing one or more fundamental core functions serving a broad spectrum of researchers across several units at CSU. Given the critical nature of the functions and services provided, these facilities are eligible for recurring funding from OVPR with annual oversight and subject to program review every four years. APPLICATION RECEIPT DEADLINE: March 13, 2015. View RFP.

Research and Creative Artistry (RA/RSP) Core Facility allocation: The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to announce availability of funding from the Research and Creative Artistry (RA/RSP) Core Facility allocation. This RFP is focused on directed funding of Emerging Innovations Facilities – characterized as providing resources and/or services in new or emerging areas of research and technology. The intent of these funds is to explore new instrumentation and/or methods and/or services and demonstrate utility and impact to the CSU research community. Early milestones will be set to monitor progress and to nurture success. Awards will be made for one-time funds over a two year term. Re-competition will be allowed in one additional funding cycle and successful programs (based on defined metrics of impact and resource management) may eventually be eligible for transition to a Foundational Core Facility or incorporation into an existing Foundational Core Facility during the major program review (every 4 years). APPLICATION RECEIPT DEADLINE: March 13, 2015. View RFP.

The annual Roles and Responsibilities Survey is moving to a web based format

KC COI announcmentStarting in February the annual Conflict of Interest (COI), also known as the Roles and Responsibilities Survey, will move to a web-based format created by Kuali-Coeus (KC). This initiative, spearheaded by the Provost’s Office, will eliminate the paper-based system.

Eliminating the paper process for completing the annual roles and responsibilities survey has been one of the most requested enhancements for reducing the administrative burden on faculty and staff according to Dave Hoffman, KC Project Manager.

The project is developed by the Research Services KC team that reports to the Vice President for Research.

The implementation of the conflict of interest module in KC represents a significant milestone in the introduction of new electronic systems that will help facilitate faculty in routine research administrative functions.  With the recently introduced KC post award financial module and now the conflict of interest module we are embarking on a path to accelerate KC implementation which will dramatically increase our agility and effectiveness.

The COI module will automatically list Public Health Services awards and will allow research investigators to track travel subject to federal reporting requirements. Training for approvers and one on one “open lab” sessions will be available starting in February. Visit the Computer Application Training website at to find dates and times.

Dan Bush, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs is asking faculty not to distribute the paper form at this time and is expecting the web based system to be a universal improvement.