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Discovery DiscoveryOctober 2001

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by Tom McCoy

Welcome back to faculty, staff and students. To those people who are new to our campus, I'm Tom McCoy, vice president for research at MSU.

Briefly, this office administers all grant- and contract-sponsored research and creative projects, which last fiscal year totalled $61 million (see story). It coordinates the work of several specialized centers offering research and instructional opportunities, such as the Center for Biofilm Engineering and the Thermal Biology Institute. The office also serves as the technology transfer arm of the university by working with faculty to patent and license their inventions and by working with local companies on new technologies. We have a research communications staff as well that works with faculty and students to publicize MSU creative projects in the local, regional and, in some cases, national media.

In short, I and my staff are here to support and encourage the creative projects that are the lifeblood of every university.

Toward that end, some exciting changes have occurred within our division. Sandy Sward has been promoted to the position of Director of Pre-Award Services. Pre-Award Services encompass a wide range of support designed to foster research and creative activities before getting an award of external funding. An example would be identifying possible funding sources for a particular project. For students, the office can help identify possible fellowships. These various components of the pre-award function are facilitated by a database that contains information on an individual's research interests.

Sandy joins Audrey Thurlow who has provided pre-award assistance for the past eight years. Sandy is setting up personal appointments with individuals to visit with them in their offices about their specific research interests, but she and Audrey also invite you to get in touch with them to arrange such a meeting. Please call Sandy at 994-5318 or e-mail her at ssward@montana.edu.

While personal visits are optimal, a profile sheet is also available on the web that helps the pre-award office track interests with funding. I encourage faculty to complete this form so that when funding opportunities become available, notices can be sent electronically to alert individuals of deadlines and the various guidelines for submitting an application or proposal.

The Pre-Award Office also welcomes individuals, small groups and classes for workshops on finding grant opportunities and will continue to participate in the Grants and Contracts roundtable that has been well attended. Researchers and departmental personnel are invited to attend the roundtable that will meet once a month through May or June 2002.

In addition, overviews of the Pre-Award and Grants and Contracts operations have been scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. and again on Monday, Oct. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Room 108 of the Ag/Bioscience Building. These "Excellence in Research" sessions offer an opportunity to meet the staff and ask questions.

In other staff news, Bob Pfister has been selected to replace Sandy as the assistant director of the Grants and Contracts office. Bob was recently in charge of all sub-contracts for the Grants and Contracts office. This responsibility will now be handled by Deb Cox and a new fiscal officer will be hired to replace Bob.

Please feel free to contact the research office or any of the above individuals or other members of my staff to help you with your respective research endeavors. The main office can be reached at 994-2891.

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