New Faculty Research Orientation 2018 Q&A
Is there support for fixed-term faculty interested in pursuing research?
Yes, internal funding is available for fixed term faculty with multi-year appointments. For more information about the eligibility requirements for internal funding opportunities, please consult with each funding program’s point of contact. Visit https://vprgs.msu.edu/find-funding/msu-funding-opportunities for more information on internal funding opportunities.
Do internal funds count toward tenure?
Internal funds do not typically “count” towards tenure, although the responsible use of internal funding (like any other resource) is something for which any faculty member can be held accountable. For more information about tenure requirements, please consult with your department chair.
Are there any programs to help foster research for new clinical faculty?
Yes, the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute provides resources and expertise in support of clinical research teams.
What is MTRAC? How can a researcher access funds to commercialize their research?
MTRAC is the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio, co-funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through the Michigan Strategic Fund. The goal of the MTRAC program is to translate research into the commercial market via a license or startup. The program at MSU focuses on technologies that are AgBio related, but there are hubs for various other disciplines at other Michigan universities, to which MSU faculty can apply.
What kind of resources are available for preparing research grant applications/proposals, and then for managing these proposals?
The Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies offers a number of grant proposal services, including grant writing and grant editing. In addition, many departments and colleges offer grant proposal and award services. For budgetary planning assistance, please start with your department or college first. Learn more about OVPRGS grant services at https://vprgs.msu.edu/proposal-services.
What kind of programs are there for involving undergrads in research?
There are many programs available through the Office of Undergraduate Research. Visit their website to learn more at https://www.urca.msu.edu/. You may also be interested in the Honors College Professorial Assistantship (PA) Program described at https://honorscollege.msu.edu/programs/professorial-assistantship.html.
RE: Create for STEM—How far does your outreach extend (e.g. geographically)? What sort of resources/funding are provided to support projects/initiatives?
The Create for STEM Institute is overseen by the College of Education. Please visit their website to learn more https://create4stem.msu.edu/. More generally, MSU makes nationwide contributions to STEM education. Examples include the NSF supported Connected Mathematics Program (https://connectedmath.msu.edu/ ) and the biologically focused Carbon TIME™ biology program (http://carbontime.bscs.org/home).
What is the best way to get to know about the programs, research, and projects in which MSU is involved?
If you know what information you seek, but are unable to find it, call the Library helpline at (517) 353-8700. We also encourage you to look on MSU’s Research website, the VPRGS website, MSU Today, as well as the websites of MSU’s centers, institutes, and programs. Department brown bags, and college and university networking events, may also be helpful.
In order to apply for grants, what is the usual procedure to follow? Are there provisions of grants which can be obtained from the university or from a specific department?
If you are seeking support from a private sector entity, please contact Business-CONNECT at (517) 884-2370. If you are seeking support from a charitable foundation (other than through response to a public RFP), please contact the advancement officer in your college dean’s office. If you are seeking internal support, please contact staff in Research and Graduate Studies at (517) 432-3773. For all other forms of support including those that involve the federal government and the State of Michigan, please contact a research administrator in your department or college for information.
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) works with MSU researchers and department research administrators to review and submit grant proposals. OSP also provides an overview of the grant process and a step-by-step guide on each activity leading up to proposal submission. For more information, please visit https://osp.msu.edu/Default.aspx. Finally, we recommend becoming familiar with the proposal services available through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. Learn more at https://vprgs.msu.edu/proposal-services.
In terms of supervising, you want the postdoc to be more independent, while you also want the postdoc to explore the idea you would like to pursue. How to balance it?
Individuals seeking assistance with postdoctoral mentoring are invited to contact the Postdoctoral Office https://grad.msu.edu/PDO.
What are the essentials in setting up your office/lab that we might not think about?
A new faculty member, as head of her or his laboratory research team, has a particular responsibility to ensure that the group follows safety protocols, human subject protocols, and laboratory animal protocols assiduously and receives all required training in a timely fashion. For more information, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at https://ehs.msu.edu/, the Human Research Protection Program at https://hrpp.msu.edu/, and the Animal Care Program at https://animalcare.msu.edu/.
What if my chair is not supportive?
Perceptions of the presence or absence of support are somewhat subjective. Every new faculty member should feel free to raise questions concerning this with his or her mentor if they have concerns about how any professional relationship is developing.
Is there a rough rule of thumb for how often we should be applying for grants in our first couple of years?
There is some variation in proposal writing expectations from discipline to discipline. This is an excellent question to discuss with your chairperson and with your faculty mentor as they will be familiar with your discipline’s practices. Obviously, if you do not have the resources necessary to perform high quality, nationally competitive research, that is a strong motivation for proposal writing.