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Author Archives: Jessica McBride

OVPR Quarterly Reports

Dear Colleagues,

Now that data have been finalized, I would like to provide you with several reports relating to sponsored program activity—both research and education/service—managed by Sponsored Program Services within the Office of the Vice President for Research at UConn and UConn Health. These reports include:

In the reports, data are presented in two ways: by the PI’s Academic Home Department and by the Managing Department or Center/Institute. Please refer to the first pages of the reports for definitions and information regarding the data. Should you have any questions regarding these quarterly reports, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please note that we have included an additional Summary of Sponsored Program Activity, which includes the Effective F&A rate on awards. This information provides a snapshot of our activity as compared to the same period last year.

Through the 3rd quarter of FY2018, we have seen continued increases in Proposal and Award amounts over the same period in FY2017, while Expenditures have declined. We believe that the delayed federal budget last year impacted federal awards in FY2017, particularly at UCH; the effects of which were less pronounced at Storrs due to a more diverse funding portfolio. Award rates are expected to return to more traditional levels by the end of the year. FY2018 combined Expenditures across both campuses are on track with FY2017 spending; however, there has been a decrease at UConn Health which has been offset by an increase at Storrs.

The OVPR continues to seek creative solutions that allow UConn and UConn Health to grow our research enterprise through federal funding, industry partnerships, and collaboration with foundations. I am confident we can continue upward trends by continuing to work together, aggressively applying for extramural funding, and pursuing new channels of support for the tremendous research, scholarship, and creative activities taking place every day at UConn and UConn Health.

Thank you for your continued commitment and contribution to our students, to your research and scholarship, and to UConn/UConn Health.

Sincerely,

Dr. Radenka Maric
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health
Professor in Sustainable Energy
438 Whitney Road Ext., Unit 1006
Storrs, CT 06269
Storrs: 860.486.3621
UCH: 860.679.2230

Twitter: https://twitter.com/uconnresearch
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/uconnresearch/

Attending Veterinarian and Director of Animal Care Services

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that following a national search, we have selected Dr. Curtis Schondelmeyer, DVM, DACLAM to serve as Attending Veterinarian and Director of Animal Care Services for UConn’s Storrs and regional campuses, effective June 22, 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the search committee and other members of the university community who assisted in conducting the search, met with candidates, and provided feedback.

I would also like to thank Attending Veterinarian and Director of the Center for Comparative Medicine at UConn Health, Dr. Ramaswamy (Ramy) Chidambaram, DVM, PhD, DACLAM. During the national search, Ramy served as Attending Vet for UConn Health as well as Storrs/regionals, which allowed programs at all campuses to be maintained and for research to continue uninterrupted. Ramy will return to his prior roles as AV and Director of CCM at UConn Health upon Curtis’ arrival. Thank you, Ramy!

In his role as institutional attending veterinarian, Curtis will have oversight and direction of all animal facilities at the Storrs and regional campuses; maintain a veterinary care program that ensures compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, laws, policies, accreditation agency standards, and guidelines for the ethical care and use of animals; develop and maintain a collaborative relationship with faculty, staff, and students; and lead the administrative, management, technical, and operational functions of ACS.

Prior to UConn, Curtis served as Senior Scientist and Veterinarian at Biogen, a multinational biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, specializing in the discovery, development, and delivery of therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative, hematologic, and autoimmune diseases to patients worldwide. He also has extensive previous experience working in an academic setting and held various positions in animal care services at Delaware Valley University, Emory University School of Medicine and The Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Harvard Medical School’s Center for Animal Resources and Comparative Medicine. He earned his BS in Small Animal Science from Delaware Valley University in 2001, his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004, and held a postdoctoral appointment at Emory University School of Medicine and The Yerkes National Primate Research Center beginning in 2006. He is also a Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA) and a Diplomate, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

Curtis brings extensive experience, expertise, and a history of collaboration and engagement with colleagues from the private sector and academia to this appointment. Please join me in welcoming him to UConn and congratulating him on this new position.

 

Sincerely,
Radenka Maric

OVPR Quarterly Reports

Dear Colleagues,

Now that data has been finalized, I would like to provide you with several reports relating to sponsored program activity—both research and education/service—managed by Sponsored Program Services within the Office of the Vice President for Research at UConn and UConn Health. These reports include:

In the reports, data is presented in two ways: by the PI’s Academic Home Department and by the Managing Department or Center/Institute. Please refer to the first pages of the reports for definitions and information regarding the data. Should you have any questions regarding these quarterly reports, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please note that we have included an additional Summary of Sponsored Program Activity, including the Effective F&A rate on awards. This information provides a snapshot of our activity as compared to the same period last year and can be found on the third page of the Proposals, Awards, and Expenditures: FY14-FY18Q2 report.

Through the 2nd quarter of FY2018, we have seen continued increases in Proposals, Awards, and Expenditures over the same period in FY2017. The significant increase in Awards is primarily due to a shifting of Federal awards from the last quarter of FY2017 to the 1st quarter of FY2018 due to delays in the approval of the federal budget. Award rates are expected to return to more traditional levels as the year progresses. FY2018 combined Expenditures across both campuses are on track with FY2017 spending; however, there has been a decrease at UConn Health which has been offset by an increase at Storrs. The Effective F&A rate for FY2018 through the 2nd quarter at Storrs is 29.60% and 33.24% for UConn Health.

The OVPR continues to seek creative solutions to address the major challenges UConn and UConn Health researchers face as a result of decreasing federal funds. I am confident we can continue upwards trends by continuing to work together, aggressively apply for extramural funding, and pursuing new channels of support for the tremendous research, scholarship, and creative activities taking place every day at UConn and UConn Health.

Thank you for your continued commitment and contribution to our students, to your research and scholarship, and to UConn/UConn Health.

Sincerely,

Dr. Radenka Maric
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health
Professor in Sustainable Energy
438 Whitney Road Ext., Unit 1006
Storrs, CT 06269
Storrs: 860.486.3621
UCH: 860.679.2230
www.research.uconn.edu

NE Underwater Research, Technology & Education Center Closure

UConn’s Northeast Underwater Research, Technology and Education Center Closes

Exploration and Research that Made a Difference

 

The University of Connecticut’s Northeast Underwater Research, Technology and Education Center (NURTEC) officially closed on December 31, 2017 after 34 years of activities across the global ocean and large lakes of the world.  Reduced funding and retirement of key personnel necessitated this action.  The Center was established at UConn in 1983 with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Undersea Research Program (NURP) and began fieldwork with research submersibles, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and advanced wet diving technologies in 1984.  Over the next three decades the Center compiled a remarkable record of scientific accomplishment, technological advancement, and operational safety along with developing unique education and outreach programs.  Using the scientific results generated by this work, the Center also influenced ocean policy and management.  A brief retrospective of the Center recognizes that it was guided both by the mandates and mission of NOAA, focused on conservation and sustainable use of ocean and large lake resources and by the spirit of innovation and exploration that runs deep at UConn.

For the first 25 years NURTEC operated as one of six regional National Undersea Research Centers (NURC’s), soliciting, reviewing and funding undersea research projects that required placing scientists directly, or virtually, underwater.  After federal budget priorities shifted and NURP was eliminated, NURTEC operated as a University cost center for 11 more years, based on a diversity of grants and contracts.  Over time, the Center used 9 different occupied submersibles, ten different remotely operated vehicles, and multiple approaches for wet diving systems including surface supplied, mixed gas and rebreather technologies.  The Center’s annual request for proposals was based upon NOAA’s national and related regional research priorities and was distributed to over 2,500 scientists across the nation.  Over this period the Center brought in over $43 million of federal funds that supported 246 peer-reviewed undersea research and education projects.  While research was focused primarily off the northeast and U.S. Great Lakes, projects also spanned the globe including Antarctica and U.S. Arctic waters, South China Sea, Eastern Tropical Pacific, African Rift Valley Lakes, Lake Baikal in Russia, Gulf of California, Mediterranean, Red Sea, and the northeast Atlantic off Portugal.  Scientists supported by the Center produced 213 peer reviewed publications with data collected from over 8,750 dives.

map of NURTEC dives

Location of NURTEC supported dives

Staff scientists at the Center and those supported at other institutions, often working with NOAA partners, made direct contributions to improve management and conservation of ocean resources.  Center scientists took results from their underwater studies to State governments, regional Fishery Management Councils, the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and even the White House.  Some notable examples include the use of research results to significantly influence the development of essential fish habitat and deep sea coral provisions in national fisheries legislation, implementation of fisheries closed areas off the northeast US to enhance sustainable fisheries, identification of management plan alternatives for National Marine Sanctuaries, development of measures to protect vulnerable ecosystems on the high seas through the United Nations, and designation of the first Marine National Monument in the U.S. North Atlantic by President Obama. Such research also aided decisions about Long Island Sound in regards to assessing impacts of a proposed liquid natural gas terminal and impacts of the disposal of harbor dredge material on seafloor habitats.

Studies with other partners focused on the use of underwater technologies to explore our nation’s rich maritime history.  ROVs were used to identify and survey the remains of the steamship Portland, a sidewheel passenger steamer that sank in 1898 in a surprise storm with loss of 192 lives including crew and passengers.  Called the “Titanic of the Gulf of Maine,” the exploration was featured on Discovery’s Science Channel. Thirty-five additional shipwrecks were surveyed while working with NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary program, four of which have been provided additional protection by placement on the National Register of Historic Places.  Further, the Center surveyed the wreck of the Lightship LV-51 that sank at the mouth of the Connecticut River, resulting in its being designated as Connecticut’s second submerged heritage site.

Since its inception the Center played a leading role in developing underwater sampling tools to meet the needs of sponsored researchers working on a variety of diving technologies.  In 1987 the Center initiated its remotely operated vehicle (ROV) program with the purchase of the first commercially available low-cost vehicle, the MiniRover, capable of diving to 1,000 feet and collecting samples using a simple manipulator arm. Over the next thirty years the Center acquired, operated and upgraded a number of ROVs to better serve the research community, culminating with the development of the 1,000-meter Kraken2 (K2). The K2 is widely recognized as one of the most capable and affordable “science class” ROV’s in the country and conducted a wide range of missions in support of ocean science and infrastructure.  Over the past decade the K2 has provided subsea maintenance to help keep the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative’s Pioneer Array, located on the continental shelf south of Martha’s Vineyard, operational; recovered NOAA’s $500K HabCam towed imaging system that was lost on the wreck of the Bow Mariner; supported numerous projects focused on deep sea corals in the Gulf of Maine, Atlantic seaboard, Gulf of Mexico and National Marine Sanctuaries off the coasts of Oregon and California; and surveyed over 65 nautical miles of subsea cables for the U.S. Navy operating from the Research Vessel Connecticut.

Recovering the K2 ROV onto the RV Connecticut following a dive in the Gulf of Maine

Recovering the K2 ROV onto the RV Connecticut following a dive in the Gulf of Maine

Ocean science education was an enduring mission of the Center with a focus on the unique contribution that underwater technologies make to the advancement of science and the engagement of students and teachers.  The High School Aquanaut Program, conducted over the course of 20 years, engaged students and teachers in hands-on field science using submersibles, remotely operated vehicles and acoustic technologies.  The NSF-funded Classroom of the Sea program developed innovative ocean science education approaches for deaf and hard of hearing students.  Most recently, the Center led one of the 14 Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) funded by the NSF – COSEE-TEK – Technology and Engineering for Knowledge that utilized ocean science and technology to provide professional development for high school teachers, and engage and expose students to ocean sciences and engineering career opportunities, including dozens of undergraduate students from the New England Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

While NURTEC has ceased to operate, the legacy of excellence and innovation will continue within the Department of Marine Sciences.  Former Center Director Ivar Babb is now a Research Scientist within the Department with a focus on science education and the broader impacts of ocean research.  Research Professor Emeritus and former NURTEC Science Director Peter Auster, who has had a faculty appointment with the Department since 2002, continues his studies on the ecology and conservation of marine fishes, human impacts on the sea, and the use of marine protected areas as conservation tools.  The Underwater Vehicles Laboratory and ROV operations, led by Kevin Joy, will now be directed by the Department’s marine operations program.

 

What Makes the Bacteria Behind Lyme Disease Tick?

Read on on UConn Today.

Postdoctoral fellow Ashley Groshong in the Spirochete Lab at UConn Health. (Office of the Vice President for Research Photo)
UConn Health researchers led by postdoctoral fellow Ashley Groshong, shown here in UConn Health’s Spirochete Research Lab, are advancing understanding of how the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi transmits Lyme disease, pointing to the potential for ultimately developing therapeutics to target this system. (Office of the Vice President for Research Photo)

Connecticut residents are all too familiar with Lyme disease, but the precise mechanisms of how humans become infected are still unclear. Researchers from UConn Health are advancing the understanding of how the causative bacterial agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), survives in ticks and mammals.

The findings from Ashley Groshong, a postdoctoral fellow in the Spirochete Research Lab at UConn Health, and her colleagues were recently published in mBio.

Here’s a refresher on the typical steps involved in the spreading of Lyme disease.

An infected black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) feeds on and infects a mammal, like a white-footed mouse, to transmit a pathogen (i.e. Borrelia burgdorferi) to its next mammalian host. While the tick may prefer to feed from small rodents or deer, oftentimes humans are an accidental host. In this case, transmission of the bacteria to humans results in disease pathology.

This bacterial pathogen is a spirochete, which means it has a unique spiral shape, and it is slow to replicate. It also depends entirely on its host for nutrients, a unique characteristic that has drawn attention from many Lyme researchers. While previous genetic analyses have suggested that the Bb’s genome encodes a cellular transport system capable of importing nutrients from the host in the form of peptides, the importance of the system for viability and pathogenesis had never been established.

“We wanted to target the energy domain of the system to understand exactly how important this system is for survival and proliferation during infection,” explains Groshong. “If we understand how B. burgdorferi acquires its nutrients from its hosts and which nutrients are essential, it could potentially lead to a novel target for therapeutic intervention.”

The peptide transport system is quite complex, preventing previous evaluation of its role in the bacteria. To better understand the importance of peptides, a source of amino acids, Groshong and the UConn Health team adopted a novel approach. Groshong created a mutant version of B. burgdorferi that effectively blocks the spirochete’s normal methods of consuming peptides by targeting the lynchpin of the transporter, the part of the system that provides energy for peptide transport.

The research showed that spirochetes deprived of peptides failed to replicate, which indicates that peptide uptake is essential for bacterial viability and ability to infect. In other words, Groshong and the UConn Health team have shown that if Bb’s transport system is inhibited, it would be possible to block the proliferation of the bacteria in an infected mammal, such as a human or rodent. Interestingly, this is the only pathogen demonstrated to require peptides for basic viability, making this a unique find in the world of pathogenic bacteria.

Lyme disease research is particularly important for Connecticut residents, where the condition was first recognized in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. According to the Connecticut State Department of Public Health, approximately 30,000 people in the state are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

“When it comes to helping Connecticut tackle Lyme disease, UConn is providing support on all fronts,” says Radenka Maric, vice president for research at UConn and UConn Health, “from tick testing at the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory to innovative research like Dr. Groshong’s at the Spirochete Research Lab. UConn’s faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students are conducting research to find solutions to the major health challenges we face today.”

Groshong plans to build on this research through a project that will explore possible ways to target this system for the development of therapeutics and to evaluate if a limited peptide environment, such as the mammal, promotes the formation of antibiotic-tolerant persister cells. This research will be funded through a Blackman Fellowship from the Global Lyme Alliance.

According to Groshong, there is still a long way to go before this research could translate into a new treatment option, but she’s hopeful about what this discovery means for the study of Lyme disease.

“Right now, our options for treating and preventing this infection are limited and not specific to the bacteria,” says Groshong. “Our goal is to conduct research that could lead to better understanding of how these bacteria cause disease, as well as novel and targeted approaches to new therapies.”

Other UConn Health authors include Abhishek Dey, Irina Bezsonova, Melissa J. Caimano, and Justin D. Radolf. 

New Research Initiatives Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research

Dear Colleagues,

In the current climate of declining federal funding and impending reductions in state support, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is taking measures to provide faculty with critical additional assistance to guarantee that UConn proposals have the best chances of success. I wanted to share a few new initiatives with you as you prepare to submit new grant proposals.

Reduction of Overhead Costs

In order to provide faculty with more buying power on proposals, reduced overhead costs will be charged to grants of up to $50,000 where total costs are inclusive (i.e., direct and indirect costs capped at $50,000). This policy will be in place at UConn and UConn Health. The effective overhead rate for such grants will be capped at 20% instead of the standard 59%. This reduced rate will apply to future grant proposals, and is not applicable retroactively. Existing grants will continue to be charged the standard 59% rate. In the case where agencies, such as NSF, view a reduced F&A rate as cost share, faculty should apply the full rate and the OVPR will return the F&A back to the PI. Additional guidelines will be forthcoming on how to incorporate this lower rate on new proposals.

Faculty Grant Mentorship Incentive Program

Faculty members with a history of grant success have valuable expertise that can benefit faculty colleagues. Through this program, experienced PIs will be eligible to serve as mentors for three untenured faculty in return for a stipend of $10,000. Faculty mentors will provide untenured faculty with strategic insight and guidance to more successfully navigate the grant submission process. Activities will include introductions to program managers, review of proposals, guidance and support, help to establish individualized goals and professional development plans for each mentee, and insight on how to learn about grant solicitations that may not be announced through standard methods. In the coming weeks, we will announce an open call for senior faculty to nominate their colleagues or themselves to serve as mentors. The selection process will include an evaluation of nominees’ previous experience as a mentor for untenured faculty, as well as a review of their success winning extramural funding. Additional guidelines, mentor/mentee applications, and program requirements will be forthcoming and available on the OVPR website.

SBIR/STTR Funding

Funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs encourage domestic small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has the potential for commercialization. Each year, Federal agencies with extramural research and development budgets that exceed $100 million are required to allocate 3.2 percent (FY 2017) of their R&D budget to these programs, and agencies with research budgets over $1 billion are required to set aside a portion of these funds for STTR. SBIR/STTR grants range from $300,000 to $1 million each and can be a valuable source of non-dilutive funding for startups and eligible small companies. Under SBIR, the PI must be primarily employed with the small business at the time of award and for the duration of the project period, but subcontracts often occur with collaborating research institutions. Under the STTR program, primary employment is not stipulated, so the PI may be primarily employed by a collaborating institution.

These programs can be an effective tool for entrepreneurial faculty and the university’s efforts to boost our industry sponsored research portfolio. The OVPR is initiating several support programs to increase the number of successful SBIR/STTR awards submitted with UConn/UConn Health PIs or co-PIs.

First, we will host a series of workshops to expose faculty to the programs and how to successfully apply. The first workshop is sponsored by CTNext and will be held on November 29 & 30 at 400 Farmington Ave on the UConn Health campus. For more information and to register, visit the CTNext site.

The OVPR is also piloting an effort to connect faculty to SBIR/STTR program managers, as well as existing companies seeking R&D partnerships to support SBIR/STTR proposals. In order to do this we are developing a team able to offer assistance directly to faculty, their startups, and outside industry partners that are eligible for SBIR/STTR support. If you are interested in learning more about these support services, please contact ovpr@uconn.edu.

Collaboration with the UConn Foundation

Finally, in partnership with the UConn Foundation, we will continue to seek creative solutions and establish innovative programs and initiatives to increase philanthropic dollars for student and faculty research.

For existing and new initiatives to support research, we will establish metrics and methods to track success to ensure that our investments result in returns for our faculty and the university.

We will be in touch again soon to share additional information and more specific details about these new programs and initiatives as soon as they become available. In the meantime, this message serves to reassure faculty and students that we are dedicated to helping UConn’s world-class researchers succeed despite the fiscal challenges we are currently facing. We are committed to supporting UConn’s vibrant research community, and we thank you for your invaluable contribution to the university, the state of Connecticut, and the global scientific community.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Radenka Maric
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

Latest UConn Research Innovation Newsletter

Check out the latest in UConn Research Innovation News in the August edition of our UConn Research Newsletter.

Animal Care Services Personnel Announcement

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to update you on changes occurring in Animal Care Services.

Dr. Cecile Baccanale, Director of Animal Care Services and Attending Veterinarian for Storrs and the regional campuses, has accepted a new position in North Carolina. During her 10 years at UConn, Cecile has provided exemplary leadership and expert animal care. While we will miss Cecile’s contribution to the University’s research mission, we wish her all the best in her new role.

With Cecile’s departure, Dr. Ramaswamy Chidambaram, DVM, PhD, the Attending Veterinarian at UConn Health, has assumed the additional role of Interim Attending Veterinarian for UConn Storrs and regional campuses, effective July 4, 2017. In this role, Dr. Chidambaram has direct responsibility for the oversight of veterinary care for UConn’s animals. To ensure adequate coverage for veterinary needs, the University is also contracting with clinical veterinarians on an interim basis. Rimantas (Rimas) Kirvelevicius, currently Assistant Director, Animal Care Services, will have interim responsibilities for all operational issues related to Animal Care Services at Storrs and regional campuses. Karen Moré will continue to manage the IACUC and Dr. Holly Fitch will continue as IACUC Chair. These interim measures will allow Animal Care Services to continue to provide support for faculty and care of our animals, and allow time for recruitment of full-time replacement veterinarians.

Our continued focus is ensuring there is continuity of veterinary care, operations, and support for faculty as they conduct their research. As part of the future recruitment process, we will reach out to faculty and staff for input to help define the needs and structure of Animal Care Services that will best support UConn researchers and their work. ​

Please contact Wesley Byerly, Associate Vice President for Research Integrity & Regulatory Affairs, at 860-679-2230 if you have any questions.

 

Sincerely,
Dr. Radenka Maric
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

UConn Research Innovation Newsletter – June 2017

Check out the latest UConn Research Innovation newsletter to learn about exciting technologies and startups with a UConn connection.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Compensation Announcement

May 31, 2017

 

Dear Investigators,

The University is taking steps to establish compensation standards for Postdoctoral Research Associates that ensure these valued members of our institution are compensated fairly and consistently. In order to achieve this, the University will use as a guideline the standard minimum pay for postdocs as determined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) zero year level of experience stipend amount. Effective June 9, 2017, the compensation for any Storrs postdoctoral research associate making less than the current NRSA zero level stipend of $47,484 will be increased to this new minimum. At UConn Health, because postdoctoral research associates are part of a union, their compensation will be addressed at a later date.

In case where postdocs are grant funded, we understand the financial challenge faced by Principal Investigators to identify additional funds on existing grants to pay for this increase. Thus, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) will provide one-half of the necessary funds to cover the required salary increases for FY18. Additional details concerning this institutional funding program can be found below in the Q&A.

The establishment of a standard minimum compensation for postdocs will allow UConn to remain competitive in attracting talented postdoctoral research associates to our research programs.  Compensation is an important part of the postdoc experience, but we know these valued members of our community are also concerned about other work-life issues.  Under the leadership of Christopher Delello, Vice President for Human Resources, the University will be conducting a comprehensive study of UConn’s policies and procedures related to postdoctoral positions.

The details about how this change will be implemented, in the form of Questions and Answers (Q&A) follows.  Additional questions about this change can be directed to Renee Boggis in Human Resources (860-486-0421), or Julie Schwager in the Office of the Vice President for Research (860) 372-2531.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeff Seemann
Former Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health
Dr. Jeremy Teitelbaum
Interim Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Scott Jordan
Executive Vice President for Administration &
Chief Financial Officer

 

Implementation Q&A

 

1.       How will the increase be implemented and will institutional support be available to help cover the cost increase?

  • The HR department will be responsible for identifying postdocs whose salaries will be adjusted to the new minimum, and HR will make the salary change effective June 9, 2017.  No PA forms or other changes initiated by administrators are necessary.
  • The impact of the increase will be partially offset by support from the University, as described in the table below:
State or Tuition Funded Postdocs

(Ledger 2)

 

Grant Funded Postdocs

All Other Funded Postdocs
The expected cost increase to be absorbed by the University Half of the expected cost increase for FY18 to be provided by the OVPR. Increases in future periods to be absorbed by grant funding sources or the PI’s department. Cost increase to be absorbed by the department

 

2.       How will the support from the OVPR for the cost increase on grants in FY18 be determined and funded?

  • OVPR support for the cost increase on grants for half of FY18 will be determined based on the postdoc’s salary funding sources as of the date of the change, June 9, 2017. For postdocs paid on grants, the cost increase will be calculated as the cost to maintain the postdoc on grants for FY18 (salary and fringe) irrespective of the termination date of the grant and/or the postdoc.  The calculated OVPR support will be deposited into the PI’s IDC account. Postdocs should remain funded from grants where the work is performed.  This will result in effort reports that meet federal requirements for salary charges to grants being based on payroll records that accurately reflect effort.  The OVPR support will be available to the PI to fund other grant-related expenses that would otherwise have been funded from the grant. The OVPR support for the cost increase on grants will be distributed to PIs in July 2017.

3.       My postdoc’s funding shifts after June 9, 2017 from a non-sponsored account to a sponsored account. Will the University support be available to me?

  • We recognize that changes in grant portfolios will occur after June 9, 2017.  There are currently no plans to fund changes that occur after June 9, 2017, but situations such as this will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

4.       I am, or have been, awarded a new grant that budgeted postdocs at the lower rate. Will the University support be available to me?

  • Support will be determined based on the impact of the salary increase and not based on the difference between the salary budgeted in the grant proposal and actual salary.

5.       My grant ends before June 9, 2017 and my postdoc will be moved onto non ledger-2 department funds.  Will I get any support?

  • No.  The PI support for the cost increase on grants will be calculated based on postdoc funding at June 9, 2017.  No reconciliation and rescission based on individual grant and postdoc situations will occur.

6.       My grant ends before June 9, 2017 and the postdoc will shift work to another grant with a different PI.  Will I lose my University support?

  • In a situation such as this, where the support has already been distributed, it will be left to the PIs/departments involved to find an equitable solution.

7.       Existing postdocs who are above the new minimum will not receive a salary increase.  Can I adjust my postdoc’s salary to maintain the experience-level variance that currently exists in postdoc salaries?

  • Investigators should contact their HR representative with questions related to compensation changes for postdocs making in excess of the new minimum.

8.       The cost increase will cause me to exceed the compensation budget on my grant.  What do I do?

  • To the extent your grant budget can absorb the increase in other pools, and subject to sponsor restrictions, you can request a re-budget using the normal re-budgeting process.  In the event your grant can’t absorb the increase because you are at the end of the grant, or sponsor restrictions preclude such a re-budget, the cost should be charged to the grant and then subsequently moved off the grant (via a cost transfer, not a labor redistribution) and onto your IDC account.

9.       I have a postdoc funded on a private fellowship or training grant.  Will their pay change too and how will that be handled?

  • Postdocs paid stipends through Accounts Payable (AP) saw their stipends increase in December 2016 when the NRSA stipend changed.