Letter From the Vice President - December 2014

Research took center stage during the recent UO Board of Trustees visit. Board members had the chance to meet our outstanding faculty members and students in the Department of Human Physiology as they toured the Evonuk Environmental Physiology Core and I presented an overview of Federal Research Funding. It was a great opportunity for us to talk in depth about the current climate for research funding and to show off an area of research excellence on our campus.

In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more and more about our new PI certification module, which will go live this December 31, 2014. After March 31, 2015, the certification becomes mandatory for all PIs and Co-PIs. PI’s who have not completed the training will not have access to EPCS, thereby foregoing the ability to submit awards, set up new awards or spend funds from existing awards. The module can be completed at any time, but it would certainly be best to complete the module prior to March 31, 2015, and annually thereafter. Completing the module should take approximately 15-20 minutes and it does not have to be completed in one sitting. PIs may start and stop as best suits their schedule. Please contact Analinda Camacho or one of her team members at SPS with questions and suggestions.

I hope you will join me in congratulating our own Geri Richmond on being named a U.S. Science envoy by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month. When she’s not teaching, receiving awards, winning elections, securing appointments and being named to high ranking science and research leadership positions, Dr. Richmond can be found traveling the world and meeting with scientists in developing countries. As an envoy, she will continue that work and collaborate with researchers in other nations on global issues — focusing on Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia — and advise the White House, the State Department and the U.S. science community and work with foreign scientists and institutions. I can’t think of a better person for the job. 

Dr. Richmond has partnered with our office on another exciting new program that offers funding to 10 promising undergraduate students. You can read more about that program, the Presidential Undergraduate Research Scholars (PURS) below, and find more opportunities for undergrads through our office’s recently launched Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

And, in case you missed the recent announcement of Connie and Steve Ballmer’s $50 million gift to the UO, it’s worth reading up on that tremendous contribution, which will propel an already outstanding area of research excellence to new heights. The Ballmers’ gift targets prevention-intervention science, an area that includes faculty in psychology, social and affective neuroscience, development, education and other disciplines. It dedicates $20 million to the UO’s Health Promotion, Obesity Prevention and Human Development Cluster of Excellence. At the center of the Obesity Prevention cluster is the UO’s Prevention Science Institute (PSI), a center dedicated to the development and implementation of effective interventions in community settings.

It’s fitting that this Cluster of Excellence is the first to be funded. Interdisciplinary research is ingrained in the culture at the UO and the Obesity Prevention initiative will harness our strengths in prevention science, education, human physiology, biology among other areas. The Prevention Science Institute collaborates with a range of local, state, national and international organizations and researchers, and as a result, this initiative will have significant real world impacts that will be felt for generations to come.

My best wishes to you and yours for a relaxing and recharging winter break.

Brad Shelton
Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation
(541) 346-2090