Southern Methodist University expects all faculty members to engage in research, scholarship, or creative efforts guided by the University's three general objectives:
- the advancement, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge through teaching, research and scholarship at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels;
- the protection and advancement of the University's welfare and interests; and
- the advancement and protection of the public interest and public welfare.
All who participate in any sponsored project activities agree be familiar with and comply with University Policy 7.1; with Policy 6.16.1 and Policy 7.6 (the policies on Research Misconduct); and with all sponsor regulations, terms, and conditions. The University requires and monitors this compliance.
The University proposes projects to sponsors and accepts project awards from sponsors on behalf of Principal Investigators/Project Directors (PI). University Policy 7.1 requires that proposals and agreements for sponsored projects be coordinated and approved through the Office of Research Administration, and establishes that the Interim Director, Alicia Brossette, is the Authorizing Official for the University. The Office of Research Administration administers subsequent awards for sponsored projects.
The Office of Research Administration strives to (a) administer sponsored project activity so that the University's objectives are met while minimizing regulatory, financial, and business risks; (b) assist faculty members seeking external funding and conducting externally funded research and other projects; (c) ensure that externally funded research and projects are conducted in compliance with the award agreement's terms and conditions and University Policy; and finally (d) expand the quantity and diversity of research and sponsored project activity and thereby maximize its contribution to the University.
In all functions, we in the Office of Research Administration strive to simultaneously represent, preserve, and advance the interests of the PI, the University and external agencies (funding and regulatory). Our actions and ways and means must be legal and ethical. We strive to render courteous, effective, efficient, and professional service to each PI in keeping with University Policy and without violating the terms and conditions of the grant or contract and attendant regulations. Conflicts between what a PI requests and what is required or allowed by regulations occur occasionally, and that is normal. In such cases we will try to resolve the conflict by saying that you cannot do (what was requested) that way because of (cited regulation), but let us try to find an acceptable way or to obtain approval for an alternative to accomplish approximately the same end.
Primary functions of the Office of Research Administration are:
- Providing information
- Administering proposal development and submission
- Administering award acceptance, project initiation and conduct, and award closeouts
The volume of sponsored research per year is in the range of $10 to $12 million in agency funds. During 2001-2002, 70 faculty and staff investigators received 117 awards for a total volume of $11.01 million. Needless to say, the bulk of sponsored research is in the disciplines of science and engineering.