Rick Spinrad speaking at event
photo by Pat Kight/Oregon Sea Grant

On March 23rd, 2012, Rick Spinrad joined Bob Houtman, NSF Section Head- Ocean Sciences Division;  Sabah Randhawa, OSU Provost and Executive Vice President; Rob Munier, WHOI Vice President;  Marine Facilities and Operations; Mark Abbott, Dean, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; and John Byrne, OSU President Emeritus, CEOAS Past Dean; and others in Newport, Oregon to bid thanks and farewell to the Research Vessel Wecoma, and to welcome R/V Oceanus. The following is from Rick Spinrad’s remarks at the “retirement” event.
Let’s do some time-traveling.

Looking up at ship, OSU flag
Pat Kight/Oregon Sea Grant

It’s November 3rd , 1976,  6:04 in the evening. Less than 24 hours earlier, Gerald Ford and Bob Dole won Oregon, but lost the Presidential election to a toothy peanut farmer from Georgia. From a pier in Newport, Oregon, the still-shiny, brand new R/V Wecoma cast her lines and set out for a short cruise along the C-line to test gear in preparation for the upcoming long cruise off of Peru. The official ship’s log for that coastal jaunt is hardly a page-turner: they consumed 5278 gallons of fuel, 3600 gallons of fresh water, 25 gallons of lube oil (and although it was not recorded as such, an unknown volume of 95% laboratory-grade ethanol).

Improbably, the most noteworthy development was in the ship’s laundry; the log reads  ” The shipping ring on the laundry washer has broken. This item permitted partial use of washer in rolling ship operation. ”  In other words, the agitator moved with the movement of the vessel. Gotta love that kind of resourcefulness.

The only research-relevant note in the log: “scientists have a very good procedure set up for launching and recovering the nephelometer under positive control.  I feel it is much more satisfactory than our close quarter R/V YAQUINA operation.”  So we knew the new ship would be an improvement over our older vessel.

How telling that was, in terms of the next 35 years of research that would be conducted aboard this wonderful vessel. The ship’s crew included Captain Linse, Chief Mate Tony Loskota, Cook Tom Kluttz (incidentally, my wife, Alanna, still uses Tom’s recipe for macaroons  – *provided below –  best in the world ) and AB John Keiper. The scientific crew was led by Ron Zaneveld and Hasong Pak, with a rowdy bunch of techs and students: Bob Kaupaun, Bob Bartz, Jim Kitchen …. and one long haired, banjo playing graduate student whose name was misspelled on the manifest as Rick Spinrod.

I had the pleasure of being on the Wecoma for 53 days, off the coasts of Oregon, Washington and Peru.

The Wecoma at seaAfter 1976, and for the next 3½ decades, the R/V Wecoma served as host to an oceanographic hall of fame.  OSU’s researchers filled the bunks: Chief Scientists with the names of Smith, Huyer, Carey, Pearcy, Kulm, Caldwell, Schrader, Miller, Zaneveld, Dymond, Gordon, Pak, Keller, Heath, Small, Lilley, Paulson, Prahl, Collier, and no doubt many others, just up to the 1986 period when the ship was laid up for repairs. And that’s just the Beavers.  Consider this list of other Chief Scientists from that same period: Barber, Cox, Knauer, Lorenzen, Bruland, Wyrtki, Knox, Murray, Weiss, Martin, Hickey, Brown, Beardsley, Winant, Irish, Karl, Robison, Packard.  Believe me, this is impressive to people in the marine sciences.

Wecoma was witness to discoveries that changed the way we think about our world, including how upwelling drives coastal productivity and fisheries; the magic of El Nino; the sheer power of deep-sea vulcanology; and understanding the complex nature of how the interactions of the ocean and atmosphere affect our weather and climate.

Not to mention those Nobel-laureate-worthy discoveries of the real-time full water column monochromatic specific beam attenuation coefficients – conducted by the most preeminent optical oceanographic team in the universe: Spinrad and Zaneveld, (OK, Zaneveld and Spinrad!) If you want to know details,  let’s meet at the Beanery.

Seriously, the world is unquestionably a better place because of the service this ship, her crew, scientists and land-based staff have provided  – for longer than many of us have been alive.

The name Wecoma, I propose, might be an acronym for “With Every Cruise, One Meaningful Accomplishment.”

It’s not easy to say goodbye.  The “retirement” event was a pretty emotional moment for many of us.

Wecoma is a star.  She was a workhorse, a transport, a world-class lab, and, for many of us at some point in our lives – even if was after a night at Anna’s bar in Callao –  she was our home.

Pat Kight/Oregon Sea Grant

But this is also a wonderful time, as we welcome the R/V Oceanus into our OSU family.  We can only imagine the discoveries and revelations that this new vessel will help us attain. Understanding the mysteries of ocean acidification, the complex microbial networks that define the foodweb of the seas, the ever-more intricate definitions of the four-dimensional structures of ocean dynamics.  The OCEANUS will be our tour guide to the next generation of oceanography.

Recently I was enjoying a drink with an old friend of mine who said he couldn’t have been more delighted to see the Oceanus come to OSU.  He went on to add that our legacy of transdisciplinary research and scientific accomplishment couldn’t be better suited to Oceanus’s capabilities.  That friend is Bob Gagosian, the former Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  We should feel good about that. I can’t wait to see what we do with our new ship!

The R/V WECOMA has sailed her last cruise for Oregon State University.  The last sample’s been drawn, the last station taken, the last watch retired.  The horizon will be her home, her legacy will be her name.  Research Vessel Wecoma, we wish you fair winds and following seas.


bonus : recipe from the Wecoma

Coconut-crusted round cookie*Tom’s Macaroons

Stir together:

1-1/2 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons flour (matzoh flour works as well)
dash of salt
6 heaping cups shredded coconut

Beat until stiff :

6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

“Fluff in” sugar mixture with egg whites. Be sure to stir the ingredients carefully to keep the air in the egg whites.

Put oil on your hands and loosely roll the dough into balls.  The oil makes the dough slip off your fingers.  Don’t press too hard or handle too much.

Place on heavily sprayed cookie sheet , or use parchment paper.

Bake 350 degrees for about 15 minutes –  watch them carefully!

Makes 20


bonus question:
What are the original meanings and origins of the words  “wecoma” and “oceanus”?



Dr. Spinrad asked me to share information about disaster planning and response for researchers.  Professionally, I’ve created and published disaster planning guidelines and articles related to animal facilities.

Poster for the movie The Blob - Indescribable, Indestructible, Nothing can stop it! plus list of actors.The focus of this post is steps to take to be prepared for “events” that create potential risk to people, so they can escape safely! With advanced planning, important research tools, equipment, or endeavors are minimally impacted. Advanced planning ensures important data aren’t lost and that we are able to get back to our important research as soon as possible.

The University has information available for general safety needs during an emergency. Regardless of the specifics for your area, disasters have some common elements that can be addressed with advanced planning. This includes taking inventory of sensitive equipment and irreplaceable samples, and having procedures in place to ensure safety for personnel. Knowing in advance how irreplaceable samples or research equipment will be protected will reduce stress during an event. Each individual research laboratory or office is responsible for organizing this information, as it relates to its own area. This will allow staff to be able to practice and fully respond to whatever needs are created from an event or evacuation.


You can get assistance in organizing preparedness efforts from the campus emergency coordinator, Mathew Rodgers (mathew.rodgers@oregonstate.edu ; 541-230-4621) .  He will provide guidance and examples, to help clarify what will be best for your area. If your unit hasn’t already identified your needs to Matt, they may be overlooked and unnecessarily endangered during an event.

Image of San Andreas Fault

The most likely “event” to occur will be an alarm sounding, which necessitates evacuation. Most of us are familiar with this sound; yet, this might not be clear to everyone, especially individuals from other countries. This underlines the need for all staff to be part of discussion on procedures for your specific area. The challenges of evacuating safely are compounded when you are responsible for guests and/or need to protect data, equipment, and other valuable research tools.

Please don’t assume that everything is covered and “someone” knows what to do. “Someone” may well be you!

Is your unit fully prepared? Please contact Matt if you haven’t already done so!

As my Dad always said, “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.”

– Stephen Durkee
Office of Research Integrity
Join the conversation. Your comments about this posting are welcome.

Looking up at windows, plants
Looking up in the atrium of the National Science Foundation photo by Carol Ormand

A few years ago I was invited to deliver a talk at a science pub in Washington, DC (of course, since it was Washington, they called it a “science café,” as I suspect that’s more politically correct. ) It was held in the gorgeous, airy atrium of the National Science Foundation headquarters – what a treat!

I talked about climate change and its implications for a range of societal issues.  The venue was conducive to a healthy discussion and debate afterward.  I was an instant aficionado of the concept of casual public gatherings in which experts converse with lay people on subjects of topical import.


Exerior of Old World Deli: building, sign, flag, bikes, windows, awnings.Coming back to Corvallis, I was delighted to learn that science pubs are now an active part of OSU’s relationship with the community, at the Old World Deli* –  a familiar local venue with its own unique charm.

So, I am especially excited about the opportunity to be host for the March 12 Corvallis Science Pub.

As always at this monthly event, we will begin with the fun of a trivia competition, complete with prizes – yet the topic of the evening, biofuels, is not trivial.

Of course, raising crops such as corn and soybeans specifically in order to produce fuel poses difficult questions for policymakers in areas ranging from managing greenhouse gases to security issues associated with energy independence.

We’ll hear from two scientists whose work points us toward a more efficient and sustainable way to produce biofuels.

Vince Remcho is a professor in the analytical chemistry at Oregon State University and an affiliate scientist for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has authored numerous scientific publications on microfluidics, biosensors and nanoscale separations. His primary responsibilities are at OSU. As part of that capacity, he will be the principal investigator for Trillium FiberFuel’s work with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) on advanced isomerization systems.

Chris Beatty has an MS in Materials Science with an emphasis in Microfabrication. He worked at Hewlett-Packard for 22 years, including 15+ years in product/process development and 5 years in business development. He has 18 issued and numerous pending patents in MEMS, inkjet, and fuel cells. He founded and managed Ecopress (book publishing), which was later acquired by a larger press. Chris is president of Trillium FiberFuels and a member of its board of directors.

I am eager to hear what Vince and Chris will say – and I know that the topic will elicit pointed questions from the audience and a lively discussion. I hope you can join us.Hand-painted menu signs: mighty meaty, mighty meatless, and more


– Rick Spinrad
VP for Research


Logo Science Pub, with drinkig glass as part of symbol.Corvallis Science Pubs are generally the second Monday of the Month,
6:00pm – 8:00pm at The Old World Deli, 341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis.
No RSVP or tickets are required. Come early for food, drink, and a seat. Quench your thirst and feed your head. Learn about cutting-edge topics in science and technology from leading experts, in an interactive, informal atmosphere where there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Everyone has fun at Science Pub, from those completely unfamiliar with science to self-identified “science geeks.”

Corvallis Science Pubs are for ages 21+, or minor with adult, but please read the disclaimer if you’re thinking of bringing kids.

full drinking glasses topped with foam, with Science Pub logo

General Inquiries  Terra Magazine 541.737.0783

Downtown Corvallis Association 541.754.6624

For information or to sign up for the mailing list Email: sciencepub@omsi.edu

note: I made one of my first public appearances on that very Old World Deli stage  in 1976 – not as a scientific administrator, but playing my banjo and passing the hat –  the start of a prematurely (but appropriately) aborted career as a professional musician! – RS

Like so many ‘Boomers’, my siblings and I grew up being told to eat our vegetables, taking for granted that we’d have three nutritious meals a day, and enjoying abundant opportunities to stay physically active (even in the middle of New York City!). I didn’t realize as a child that not everyone was so privileged.

Now each year through a special program, more than 70,000 Oregonians of all ages – in all 36 counties and in 3 tribal lands – are educated to make nutritious food choices, engage in physical activity, handle food safely, and manage their resources so they have food at the end of the month.

Sally Bowman, smiling.

Please join me in thanks and hearty congratulations to Sally Bowman, Core Director of the Parenting and Family Life Core of the Hallie E. Ford Center, who oversees the Oregon Nutrition Education Program, and the 130 OSU Extension Service faculty and staff who provide nutrition education around the state.

With a recent grant of almost $7Million from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and a contract with Oregon Department of Human Services, they are reaching those who are receiving benefits or who are eligible for The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education program

Sally is the Program Leader for Extension 4-H Youth Development and Family and Community Health. She has made many significant contributions over the years to address the needs of rural and vulnerable populations, on issues ranging from hunger to parenting. She received the L.L. Stewart Faculty Scholar award in 2009, and the Extended Education Faculty Achievement Award in 2004.

SNAP was formally known as Food Stamps. According to Sally, this program is now regulated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which will transform the SNAP-Ed program into a nutrition education and obesity prevention grant program.”

In 2011, the Oregon program had about 698,000 direct educational contacts with adults, families and youth, in series or single events. In addition, it reached 250,000 participants through demonstrations, displays, or newsletters.

Again, please join me in celebrating Sally’s past and ongoing accomplishments.


-Rick Spinrad
VP for Research


Recognizing the growing importance of research that addresses complex societal challenges, we know that innovative integrative approaches to the research process itself are required. At the same time, many sponsors have been emphasizing projects requiring interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams.

To succeed in an increasingly competitive funding environment, most major research institutions have invested in capacity for “research development”* – many have thus dramatically increased their research proposal success and revenue.

OSU’s Strategic Plan and supporting Research Agenda already lay out a broad vision for expanding the research enterprise and achieving international recognition. Last year an OSU task force led by Cherri Pancake studied best practices at other institutions and the background of and capacity for collaborative research at OSU. The group, including participants from six colleges and the Research Office, met throughout the year to develop recommendations for our research development, focusing on strategic support for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and proposals.

The resulting strategy is a complement and can jump-start our implementation efforts.  It is broad-based, for researchers at all levels. While I know that resourcing this strategy will be a challenge, many of the recommendations are immediately “actionable” with our existing resources, and there was excellent thought put into phasing for long-term success.

With appreciation for the fruitful efforts of the task force members (named at end of this blog  post), I am pleased to share below a brief summary.

  • Facilitate development of large-scale proposals: Establish “strategic criteria” that can assess the institutional importance of particular large-scale proposals and develop a fast-track for expediting large proposals supported by selected and trained clerical staff that could evolve into a “SWAT team” providing proposal management services .
  • Institutionalize our “lessons learned”: Track OSU’s experience, success rate and lessons learned with medium-to-large group proposals, and make information about funding successes and valuable contacts available to potential proposers.
  • Position OSU to compete successfully on large-scale opportunities: Adopt mechanisms to bring in faculty who will engage in transdisciplinary activities and create flexible ways to credit/reward researchers participating in large scale proposals. Build relationships with Minority Serving Institutions, private sources and foundations to support these activities.

  • Foresee and create new opportunities for large-scale research: Identify our “resource people” for foreseeing new opportunities and establish a mechanism for identifying in advance what solicitations for large-scale efforts will be emerging. Proactively “market” our research and cultivate relationships with agencies, foundations, industry, and private donors.
  • Make interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary research an institutional priority: Make it part of the role and responsibilities of someone at the Research Office to take ownership of the future success of OSU’s interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research proposals. Establish metrics that reflect what is needed to achieve success and track progress toward success.

(Please note that the report does not imply that single investigator and/or single-discipline research are not valued at OSU,especially for less-experienced researchers. Many of the needs identified are also important to individual researchers, and the recommendations would have positive impact on them as well.)

Thanks again to the task force:(CAS) Susan Capalbo, Dan Edge; (CLA) Kathleen Dean Moore; (COAS – now CEOAS) Phil Mote; (COE) Terri Fiez, Cherri Pancake; (COF) Barbara Bond, Jim Johnson; (COS) Aaron Wolf; (Research Office) Pat Hawk

* Research Development encompasses a set of strategic, proactive, catalytic, and capacity-building activities designed to facilitate individual faculty members, teams of researchers, and central research administrations in attracting extramural research funding, creating relationships, and developing and implementing strategies that increase institutional competitiveness.

Research Development professionals initiate and nurture critical partnerships and alliances throughout the institutional research enterprise and between institutions—and with their external stakeholders. With the goal of enabling competitive individual and team research and facilitating research excellence, Research Development professionals build and implement strategic services and collaborative resources that span across disciplinary and administrative barriers within their organizations and beyond.

Research Development includes a broad spectrum of activities that vary by institution, including: funding opportunity identification and targeted dissemination, grant/contract proposal development, budget preparation, forms and submission assistance, research team building, interaction with funding agencies and institutional research administration and leadership, and outreach activities and training.

from National Organization of Research Development Professionals


If you are interested in the full report which includes specific recommendations, please contact the Research Office.
I am very interested in your responses and ideas, whether you are faculty, staff or student – please comment via this blog.

Rick Spinrad, smiling– Rick Spinrad
Vice President for Research


The Cayuse web-based proposal development and submission system has been in use at OSU for five months now.  It’s been exciting to train faculty and staff and to see the system work well.  We’ve submitted proposals to the Army, ONR, DOE, DOT, NIFA, NIH, NOAA, USGS and NSF.  We’ve also seen proposals reviewed and approved going to sponsors including Idaho State University, Portland State University, the International Whaling Commission, and Hewlett Packard.

Now that we’ve finished the discovery process, Cayuse staff will program our customized system requirements for Phase II, which brings some nice features that we are sure faculty will appreciate:

  • System-generated concurrent routing.  Currently, Cayuse routes proposals in a linear fashion.  With the Phase II implementation, a lead PI (or designee) starts the routing process and then the proposal will route concurrently between all units.
  • Drop-down menus for agencies and F&A rates on the proposal summary form, making it easier to complete the summary form and describe where the project takes place.
  • Division of indirect cost recoveries can be documented in the proposal record as part of the summary form.
  • Listing of project personnel (co-PIs) will take place on the summary form as well as the agency forms.
  • Additional data elements to assist in measuring international and industry partners.
  • Additional data elements to assist in accreditation requests.
  • Improved reporting capabilities.

These new features will not change how the Federal forms will be completed, and any additional training should be minimal.  In addition, The link to the Cayuse website is now more prominent on Sponsored Programs’ website.

We anticipate that a version will be available for testing in the Office of  Sponsored Programs in early January, with roll-out to campus in the spring.

While the Office of Sponsored Programs plans to retire the Proposal Transmittal Form at the end of June 2012,  some forms will still be required and  will remain on the Sponsored Programs website: F&A waivers; Attachment A – justification for direct charging clerical and administrative costs; and fabricated equipment.

Pat Hawk, smiling.
Pat Hawk

Director, Office of  Sponsored Programs

link to Cayuse login


Oregon State University has established a new Center for Latino/Latina Studies and Engagement, and named a prominent faculty member as interim director.

Susana Rivera-Mills, a professor of Spanish and diversity advancement, will direct the new center, known as CL@SE (pronounced claw-SAY), which is designed to meet the research and outreach needs relating to Oregon’s growing Latino population. Rivera-Mills also is the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and has been an active leader on the OSU campus in advancing diversity.

“Research and outreach on issues surrounding the Latino population
affect every discipline at OSU,
and are integral with our university’s strategic areas and our research agenda.”

– Sabah Randhawa, Provost and Executive Vice President

The new center will integrate studies of Latino communities in the United States with analyses of their histories, politics, cultures and societies, officials say. Among the research themes that will be explored are colonialism, race, gender, nationalism, globalism, immigration, economic development, language and identity.

Rivera-Mills, smiling.“The center will promote engaged research and outreach
devoted to advancing knowledge and understanding of Latino contributions
and the issues surrounding this population in our state, region and beyond.
I am enthusiastic about the opportunities.
Our action-based agenda will promote
economic, political, physical and educational well-being and development.”

–  Susana Rivera-Mills

Rivera-Mills has been on the OSU faculty since 2007, and has mentored Latino students and been involved with the university’s internationalization and transnational efforts, as well as been a leader in student engagement and global learning initiatives. She specializes in Spanish language maintenance and loss, sociolinguistics, and Spanish as a first and second language.

CL@SE will be affiliated with both the OSU Provost’s Office and the Research Office, officials say.

“Our recently developed research agenda emphasizes
relevance, integration, collaboration and leadership.
Its principles support team-based research, student involvement,
partnership with communities, and transdisciplinary research.
CL@SE has at its core all of these principles
and reflects the values of the OSU research community.”

– Richard Spinrad, Vice President for Research

“The advancement of social justice
is among the important things that will be fostered
with Susana’s able leadership.”

– Scott Reed, Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement


CL@SE will collaborate with several units on campus, especially the colleges of liberal arts, science and education, and Outreach and Engagement.



The Research Office fields many questions. One frequently heard concern comes from practically every level within OSU – from the newly minted junior faculty member through senior academic administrators: ‘What happens to all that Facilities and Administration (aka F&A, overhead, or indirect costs) money we bring in via grants and contracts?”

In order to provide a broader context, allow me to explain very briefly what F&A funds are, where they come from, how they really contribute to OSU’s overall financial health, and, most importantly, how they are distributed.

F&A funds are collected as a percentage of grant/contract expenditures. The University gets F&A based on actual direct grant expenditures. If you, as researchers, don’t spend it, OSU doesn’t get it.

The F&A funds are used to help defray the costs of activities that are essential for the conduct of research, but which cannot be charged directly to a grant. For example a laboratory may host multiple, separately funded research projects. It would be unrealistic to allocate space and meter utility usage for each project, so such expenses are “lumped” under the F&A rate. Similarly, the administrative costs associated with obtaining and managing grants are incurred at every level of the university, from departments and colleges, through the Business Centers and into the central administration.

So, why bother collect F&A at all? Don’t they just run up the costs of a grant and make us less competitive, and how can such a “small” amount of money contribute to the financial health of the university in any event?  Well, actually, F&A funds are a significant contributor to OSU’s budget. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, faculty research activities generated $36,358,254 of F&A funds. This is equal to almost half of the non-targeted, state-appropriated funds received from the legislature for fiscal year 2011.  In other words, the money recovered from F&A has a huge impact on our ability to serve all of the varied missions to which OSU is committed!

Next, how are F&A rates determined? The federal F&A rates are based on what we have actually spent to support federally funded research. The process: In conjunction with our federal oversight agency, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a base fiscal year is identified. Upon closing of the base year’s books, OSU goes through a detailed analysis of research-related expenditures not attributable directly to grants or contracts.  This is done according to a strict set of rules and accounting principles; the university does not have much flexibility about what can be included. This analysis takes 4-6 months.  The results are submitted to DHHS, which reviews them for inappropriately included expenses. There is a negotiation to settle differences; then the agency tells OSU what our rate will be for the following 3 to 5 years. Typically, we end up with a rate that is one or two percentage points below what we believe is a reflection of our true costs.

If the grant/contract’s sponsor is a private corporation, the university tacks an additional 5% surcharge onto the F&A rate. This 5% supports the Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development, and is being used to develop a more robust campus-wide program of industry collaboration. This effort supports both the university’s Strategic Plan and our recently deployed Research Agenda. A more thorough discussion of this effort will be presented later this year.

So, focusing on just the federally negotiated F&A, how does it get distributed? The basic structure of the distribution has been in place for more than a decade, as outlined in the table below. The model for distribution is stable for the first four entries, but there is a bit of fluidity among the other categories from year to year.


Percentage Allocation of F&A Recipient Notes
4% Chancellor’s Office Centralized Services provided by OUS
8% Research Equipment Reserve Fund (RERF) Mandated in our federally negotiated rate package.
4% Building Use Credits (BUC) Mandated in our federally negotiated rate package.
~31% F&A returned to the college generating the F&A 26% is returned to most colleges in addition to special arrangements made with depts. and colleges
~2.3% University libraries Actually a fixed dollar amount: $768,000
~6.9% Special Initiatives Determined by the Provost. In addition, if F&A earning exceed the budgeted amount, 53% of the overage goes into this category.
~34.2% Education and General Funds Discretionary state dollars
~8.6% Centers and Institutes Actually a fixed dollar amount: $3,125,000
1% Audit Disallowances Based on actual audit results
100% Total


The first cut taken out of the “F&A pie” goes to the Chancellor’s office – 4% of all of the F&A recovered by OSU. Each of the seven institutions in the Oregon University System pays the same percentage; however, OSU contributes more to this fund than all of the other OUS institutions combined. Those funds are used to support mandated federal and state reporting requirements among the other services provided by the system.

The next two categories of money, 8% for Research Equipment (RERF) and 4% for Building Use Credits (BUC), are mandated in our federal negotiation. While the university gets to depreciate capital equipment and facility expenses, we are not allowed to amortize the costs for federally funded equipment (i.e., we cannot charge equipment depreciation to a grant if that equipment was purchased using federal money). These allocations in the indirect cost rate are to help offset that depreciation.

A large allocation of F&A resources goes directly to colleges as Returned Overhead (ROH). Except for COAS and a few special cases, colleges receive 26% of the F&A earned from grant/contract indices assigned to each college’s organization code (Note: our financial system allows for distinct indices to be set up for different component parts of grants, and these indices can be aligned with different academic units.)  Deans have discretion about how to disperse the funds within their units. Some reserve all of it for strategic investments, some take a small slice and return the majority to the department or school that generated the grants, and some have more finely tuned distribution models. Check with your dean about how your college distributes its returned overhead.

The University library gets a flat amount out of the F&A pool, which amounts to about 2.3% of the F&A earning expected for FY2012.

Research centers and institutes draw on a percentage of the F&A. The majority of this is used to cover federal matching requirements, for example with our Sea Grant and Space Grant Programs, or to cover maintenance and safety costs associated with major facilities such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center that the university does not otherwise support.

A small percentage of our F&A, about 1%, is set aside to cover disallowed costs, i.e., items charged directly to grants or contracts that, upon review/audit, are determined to fall outside appropriate or allowable expenditures.  Thankfully, this is usually a pretty small amount.

In the last several years, the Provost has made strategic investments in the research enterprise. For example, the Provost funded multi-year transdisciplinary initiatives in six areas a few years ago, and, more recently, he has made significant investments in new faculty hires. More broadly, the Provost has provided ongoing support for major multi-college user facilities such as interdepartmental mass spectrometry, electron beam instruments, and laboratory animal resources. These are all large investments that benefit a broad spectrum of high impact, multi-user research facilities across campus.

The balance of F&A resources, about a third, are combined with the non-targeted, state-appropriated and tuition dollars; these are distributed as part of the base budget for units at OSU.

The bottom line here is that the majority of F&A dollars gets reinvested into academic units and the broader research enterprise, either directly through the ~31% allocation, or less directly through the distribution of RERF, BUC, Provost Initiatives, Centers and Institutes, and the university’s resource allocation model.  The F&A resources do not actually cover the costs OSU incurs for supporting research, but the money does make many things possible that would otherwise go undone.

OSU’s research enterprise collectively is a vibrant and high impact endeavor, all of which is made possible by the dedication and hard of each and every one of you, the members of our faculty. A great faculty is the first and most critical requirement for a great university, and you all play a huge role in that!  Thank you.

Rich Holdren
Associate Vice President for Research

In my ongoing thrust to build our relations with federal agencies, this September I again had productive meetings in D.C. with representatives. I offer here summaries – the “Bumper Stickers” are my take-home messages for us at OSU.

  • Department of Defense – Stu Wolf (Assistant Director (Physics) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering)

DOD 6.1 (basic research) funding is holding its own, and has enjoyed good support from Secretary Gates as well as the House and Senate.  There is some question, of course, on how much research Secretary Panetta will support, but clearly his history in the White House, Congress and the CIA suggest he will want to maintain strong research budgets in DoD.

Dr. Wolf shared that the Defense Sciences Board is preparing a strategic plan on Defense Basic Sciences.  This is something we should watch for, and be prepared to respond.  He also emphasized that we focus on several information sources and opportunities:


Annual solicitations for Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI)

•  Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) – incidentally, OSU has just submitted three proposals to DURIP

•  Industry briefings from DARPA – check the DARPA website



  • US Geological Survey

Marcia McNutt (Director) – Marcia was the Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, so it was nice to have a chance to talk briefly about some of the key issues in the oceanographic community (e.g. ship construction and operations).

LANDSAT - WHERE'RE THE BANDS ATWe spent a long time talking about the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, and the prognosis for sustained capabilities past the Landsat 8 launch scheduled for late 2012.  USGS is facing difficulties finding the resources (from somewhere other than out of hide), but apparently has good support from Congress to do this without penalty to the agency.  They are looking at a range of options, and may want some help from the academic community in assessing capabilities. Stay tuned.

Doug Beard, Chief of the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and Robin O’Malley, USGS NCCWSC Partnership and Policy Coordinator

I had a chance to catch up with Beard and O’Malley in their offices in Northern Virginia.  The last time we talked at any length was in the summer of 2010, when Phil Mote had organized their visit to Corvallis, while we were competing for the USGS Climate Science Center leadership (which Phil and Co. won!).  Getting USGS personnel on campus as part of the Center is a high priority for Doug Beard, and he indicated we can expect to hear an announcement of who will be the USGS Center lead “very soon” (before 1 Jan).  That will set in motion further activity to bring into the center at least two more USGS employees.Climate Science is about the Grass Roots

We also had a good discussion regarding coordination of various agency climate activities.  Doug and Robin made clear that their USGS priority for climate science is attending to immediate regional issues (rather than completing assessments, for example).


  • National Science Foundation –   Farnam Jahanian, Assistant Director for Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate


Dr. Jahanian shared his view that everything that CISE supports (and consequently their position in coordinating with the NSF “domain” sciences) should advance the frontiers in computer sciences and communications.  He emphasized a focus on exploiting advances in technologies in areas such as data access, broadband, and sensor development.  He added that, as with all of the Directorates at NSF, they are aiming at issues of sustainability, lifelong learning, health and security.  He indicated that while 70% of the CISE funding will go to core computer science and information science research, the remainder will be cross-cutting.  He cited as examples of the cross-cutting effort initiatives and programs: SEES, focusing on sustainability and energy security; and Smart Health and Well-Being, focusing on chronic health issues and aging populations. Going beyond NSF, Jahanian also discussed the emerging collaborations with NASA, NIST and NIH in the National Robotics Initiative.


  • U.S.  Department of Agriculture – Rich Guldin,  Director of Quantitative Science Research and Development, U.S. Forest Service

WHAT WE NEED IS REMOTELY USEFULWe were scheduled to meet with the head of R&D for the Forest Service, Jim Reaves, but he was called away at the last minute; Guldin is one of Reaves’ Deputies, working mostly on USFS remote sensing issues. So I used this opportunity to hear more about the USFS needs for Landsat data continuity (see above, for discussion with Marcia McNutt).  Their concerns with any changes in satellite sensor technology is that they would lose the bands that are critical to their applications. In connection with that discussion, I asked Guldin what his toughest challenges are in remote sensing.  In short, he said he needs work in site- and ecosystem-specific algorithm development, as well as improved capabilities for polygon definition to support evaluating categories of environments of interest. We also had a good discussion of the potential utility of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for USFS applications.  He stated that UAS are potentially valuable for forest inventories, especially where there is 10% tree cover or less.  For any readers who want to pursue this UAS discussion further, Guldin’s staff point of contact is Ken Brewer.

Chavonda Jacobs-Young (Acting Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture {NIFA})

When I last visited this office in the winter, I met with Dr. Roger Beachy, who was full of expectations about what he’d be able to do at NIFA.  Three months later, he left NIFA!

NIFA NEEDS SOME LIMELIGHTChavonda stated that work needs to be done to get Office of Management & Budget to see NIFA as a “real player in the science arena.”  She pointed out that NIFA’s leadership in some important technical areas (e.g. bioenergy, food safety and nutrition, environmental prediction) is not recognized.  She sees several opportunities for the community to address these misperceptions: getting ag people on President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, National Research Council NRC panels, etc.  It’s clear that she feels a strategic imperative is needed for NIFA, so much of what they do will be implemented with that in mind. “CAP grants will be awarded strategically,” she said.  In closing, she asked, somewhat rhetorically “What is USDA’s ‘Man on the Moon’?”


  • Environmental Protection Agency– Lek Kadeli (Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development {OED}), Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta (Acting Division Director, Environmental Public Health Division), Rick Linthurst (National Program Director for Ecology), Thomas D. Fontaine (Director, Western Ecology Division), Tony Olsen (Western Ecology Division) Seema Schappelle  (Special Assistant/Immediate Office of the Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development)

When my meeting with ORD Assistant Administrator Paul Anastas was cancelled last-minute, we had the wonderful opportunity to do a video telecon with Anastas’ deputy, Lek Kadeli and his staff from Research Triangle Park (RTP) and Corvallis. It turned into a great discussion on a range of issues. Tom and Tony talked about the vibrant relationship with OSU faculty (e.g. Robert Tanguay, Phil Mote, John Bolte and Jeff McDonnell), and expressed interest in pursuing other relationships, including perhaps renewing some of the old relationships with our Environmental and Molecular Toxicology folks.

I asked about what programs we should watch for and got some good intel.  Lek recommended we watch for an RFA on molecular design, aimed at risk mitigation (based on recommendations from an NRC report on sustainability, chaired by Bernie Goldstein, released last week).  Jennifer indicated they’d be redesigning a number of their programs around sustainability and that the EPA Science Advisory Board web site is a good reference for us to infer the direction they’re getting.  Tom talked about their emphasis on Pacific NW water features.

LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR, EPA IS THERESince I haven’t yet visited our Corvallis EPA neighbors, I wangled an invitation from Tom and Tony to come by for a tour soon.



  • Department of  Energy (DOE), Jose Zayas, Program Manager for the Wind and Water Program


This was a great opportunity to meet the new program director in charge of our wave energy program, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, run by Belinda Batten.  Jose’s been on the job just a few weeks, coming from Sandia National Lab.  He’s clearly a strong advocate for the program, and we had a good discussion about how we can help him sell the marine hydrokinetics program, and what he expects of us. He made two good points:

  1. We should become known well and uniquely for certain broad competencies (he used the example of U Maine’s recognized expertise in deepwater wind energy research).  He pointed out that this will require an even stronger within-campus coordination of what’s going on in engineering, oceanography and Sea Grant.
  2. Working together with the national labs is critical.  NREL, PNNL, Sandia, etc. must be seen as meaningful partners in our work.

I returned to campus encouraged and inspired.

– Rick Spinrad, Vice President for Research

“5 x 5” –
Radio terminology used to signify that the signal has excellent strength and perfect clarity – therefore, that something is fine.

The Research Office Quiz 2011 debuted at the University Day expo. Here it is again, in case you missed the chance to figure out the answers, or want another go at it  – or hope to stump your colleagues.

The winner of our U.Day quiz  participation drawing is
Mike Hinds, IT Communication Manager for Information Services!
Mike will receive his choice of a book by an  OSU author.

If you are not Mike, yet participated at the event, thank you – your prize can be a subscription to The Spin on Research. Congratulations!

Match each numbered question with an answer from the list below.

  1. Which coffee shops are nearest the Research Office?

2. What is the least turn-around time you should allow for proposal review at the Office of Sponsored Programs (to avoid turning into a pumpkin)?

3.What are the values that inform the new OSU Research Agenda?

Image by Rembrandt of man and horse.4.  What system, named after a horse bred by a Native American tribe, will make your funding life easier?

5.Which unit in the Research Office may help get the results of your work out there to benefit your neighbors?

6. Say your project includes a simple survey to be filled out by dog owners. Which office should you consult with?

7.Why do two Research Office  leaders have names starting with R-I-C ?

8. What green technology is available for able-bodied people to get up to the Research Office?

9. How can you get the inside scoop on the OSU research enterprise?

Match each question with its answers  . . . from among the options below

a. Three full business days 






b. The Office of Research Integrity – Institutional Review Board (IRB) 






Spiral staircase.c. The stairs

d. That’s a rich topic for research! 







e. Java Stop II in the  Valley Library;  and shops in McNary Dining Hall 






f. Subscribe to The Spin on Research blog 


g. Most specifically The Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development




h.Relevance, Integration, Collaboration, Leadership, Accessibility

i. Cayuse, for  electronic proposal submissions.

To  verify answers or find out more, please see oregonstate.edu/research, or call 541-737-3467