At the beginning of this academic year, I was delighted to meet with a group of graduate research assistants to share insights into “what research administration can do for you.” After my dog-and-pony show about the services of the Research Office, the students raised sharp and important questions.
“What will the research opportunities be like out there as I finish my degree and move into the job market?”, they asked. And “You’ve talked about the university’s obligation to bring the benefits of research out to the public – but what if I don’t see any commercial applications for my project?”
There was a concern: “Equipment: I am doing something that no one in my department has been involved in, and it’s been so hard to find the diagnostic tools equipment I need.”
From our discussion, I learned of some areas that need administrative attention, and of issues that we must communicate about more effectively. I hope the GRAs learned some things too.
It was of note to me that no one in the group raised questions about “compliance.” I knew that the Grad School had recently conducted a survey, and “compliance” did not rank among the issues on the minds of the GRA respondents . It isn’t surprising – when I was working on my advanced degrees at OSU, I also did not think about, for example, the Institutional Review Board, or Animal Use policies.
But now as VP for Research, I strongly recommend that all students become aware of the regulations regarding human subjects, conflict of interest, animal care and use . . . Even if they’re “just” conducting an innocuous survey, or doing “a little” work for their major professor’s start-up company, or “simply” using a pet in a pre-study, consideration of the compliance issues can help ensure the research is conducted smoothly.
I and others in the Research Office are happy to meet with graduate students, individually or in groups. And we will conduct various informational sessions throughout the year. Let us know if you want to talk, or if there’s a topic you’d like to have addressed.
- Rick Spinrad, who went on to become OSU VP for Research
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