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Faculty in research and what you need to know, according to this Houston expert

To be better leaders, the administration should engage its primary audience: the faculty. Graphic byMiguel Tovar/University of Houston

The world of academic research is tough. As institutional research offices juggle regulatory and financial challenges within a continually strained system, they still have to lead their respective enterprises and serve their research communities.

“Service before leadership,” said Amr Elnashai, vice president/vice chancellor for research and technology transfer at the University of Houston. “We cannot miss this very important fact – we have to serve the needs of our research communities, first, before they will trust us to lead.”

How can we better serve faculty while tackling the many challenges faced by research divisions?

Sara Bible, associate vice provost for research at Stanford University, says the best way is to continually engage faculty in the business of research.

Rule making within research

Let’s be honest – faculty don’t particularly enjoy the administrative overburden dished out by university research offices. Nor should they.

But involving faculty in the process is the quickest way to earn their cooperation.

“You will have good results if you put in the time,” said Bible. “It’s really important to be flexible with faculty and staff on campus.”

One way Bible has successfully engaged her research community is in policy development. Her office at Stanford implemented a research policy working group that spends months testing policy language and effectiveness with university faculty and staff before it is launched.

“We’ve had great results,” she said. “People want to engage and be part of the process, not just be expected to follow a rigid set of rules.”

The pre-deadline deadline

Another way to partner with faculty is to work with them to improve the proposal review cycle, for everyone knows the risks of pushing the magic button mere minutes before the deadline.

Melinda Cotton, assistant vice president for Sponsored Programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, recommends creating a pre-deadline deadline.

Her office worked with faculty, schools and departments to establish the submission of proposals a full seven days before their due dates. This gave the office time to strengthen merit of the research project and fix minor details that could disqualify a proposal.

“Within our School of Medicine, more than 80 percent of our proposals came in by our pre-deadline,” she said. “We work hard to communicate and advocate to faculty that we can serve them better by doing it this way, and it’s working for us.”

Ultimately, there are lots of processes university research offices have to put in place to do the business of research. But to be better leaders, the administration should engage its primary audience: the faculty.

Engagement in policy-making, for instance, gives insight into pain points and allows research offices to put the best processes in place to get the job done for everyone.

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This article originally appeared on the University of Houston's The Big Idea. Lindsay Lewis, the author of this piece, formerly served as the executive director of communications for the UH Division of Research.


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Here's your latest roundup of innovation news you may have missed. Photo via Getty Images

It's been a new month and a few Houston startup wrapped up November with news you may have missed.

In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, three Houston startups across health care, space, and sports tech have some news they announced recently.

Houston digital health company launches new collaboration

Koda Health has a new partner. Image via kodahealthcare.com

Houston-based Koda Health announced a new partnership with data analytics company, CareJourney.

"This collaboration will aim to develop benchmarking data for advance care planning and end-of-life metrics," the company wrote on LinkedIn. "Koda will provide clinical and practice-based expertise to guide the construction of toolkits, dashboards, and benchmarks that improve ACP programs and end-of-life outcomes."

Koda Health announced the partnership in November..

“Beyond the checkbox of a billing code or completed advance directive, it’s important to build and measure a process that promotes thoughtful planning among patients, their care team, and their loved ones,” says Desh Mohan, MD, Koda's chief medical officer, in the post.

CareJourney was founded in 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.

"I'm hopeful next-generation quality measures will honor the patient’s voice in defining what it means to deliver high quality care, and our commitment is to measure progress on that important endeavor," noted Aneesh Chopra, CareJourney's co-founder and president.

Sports tech startup raises $500,000 pre-seed investment

BeONE Sports has created a technology to enhance athletic training. Photo via beonesports.com

Houston-founded BeONE Sports, an athlete training technology company, announced last month that it closed an oversubscribed round of pre-seed funding. The company announced the raise on its social media pages that the round included $500,000 invested.

Earlier in November, BeONE Sports completed its participation in CodeLaunch DFW 2022. The company was one of six finalists in the program, which concluded with a pitch event on November 16.

Space tech company snags government contracts

Graphic via cognitive space.com

The U.S. Air Force has extended Houston-based Cognitive Space’s contract under a new TACFI, Tactical Funding Increase, award. According to the release, the contract "builds on Cognitive Space’s work to develop a tailored version of CNTIENT for AFRL to achieve ultimate responsiveness and optimized dynamic satellite scheduling via a cloud-based API.

The $1.2 million award follows a $1.5 million U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research award that the company won in 2020 to integrate CNTIENT with commercial ground station providers in support of AFRL’s Hybrid Architecture Demonstration program.

“The TACFI award allows Cognitive Space to continue supporting AFRL’s vitally important HAD program to help deliver commercial space data to the warfighter,” says Guy de Carufel, the company’s founder and CEO, in the releasee. “CNTIENT’s tailored analytics platform will enable HAD and the GLUE platform to integrate modern statistical approaches to optimize mission planning, data collection, and latency estimation.”

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