Presentation on theme: "C A E F F Pre-Center Formation Strategies and Issues Dan Edie, Former Director Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films Clemson University NSF."— Presentation transcript:
C A E F F Pre-Center Formation Strategies and Issues Dan Edie, Former Director Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films Clemson University NSF North Dakota EPSCoR Program April 14-15, 2005
C A E F F Interdisciplinary, rather than merely multidisciplinary Inter-university Creates synergy among projects Necessitates shared laboratory facilities Team of faculty and students (grad, undergrad, high school) Collaborative, not ego-centered Center Research CHANGING THE UNIVERSITY CULTURE
C A E F F Center research presents special challenges to the status quo. Many faculty habits and perspectives that are traditionally encouraged and rewarded by the university actually undermine the ideal Center environment. Your faculty will need to recognize group goals and cooperate to achieve them. Some faculty can make this transition and some can not. CHANGING THE UNIVERSITY CULTURE
C A E F F THE CENTER AND THE UNIVERSITY Academic Departments
C A E F F INITIAL STEPS FOR ADMINISTRATORS Breakdown Barriers to Collaboration How do you track research expenditures? Does the system tend to reward faculty with single-PI grants? Are faculty encouraged to publish outside of their discipline? Are faculty encouraged to publish with other faculty? Is collaboration viewed as positive, negative or neutral in promotion and tenure decisions? Encourage your faculty to take risks. Lead by example – be willing to gamble.
C A E F F INITIAL STEPS FOR KEY RESEARCHERS Self-Assessment Do others recognize you as a leading researcher in your college? Can you name the other leading researchers in your college? Do the most of your grants involve other faculty?
C A E F F INITIAL STEPS FOR KEY RESEARCHERS Self-Assessment Are you bored and looking for a change – a really big change? Is your administration willing to gamble? If so, is it willing to gamble on you?
C A E F F 1.Start with a Focused Research Grant or an Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team Award. This will help you build the type of faculty/student team needed for a Center. ADVICE FOR KEY RESEARCHERS
C A E F F 2.Then, begin formulating the vision for your Center. Is your vision unique? Is your vision compelling enough to motivate people for 3 years – 6 years – even a decade? Can you draw in the best talent for this research? Is your personal network of contacts sufficient? ADVICE FOR KEY RESEARCHERS
C A E F F ADVICE FOR ADMINISTRATORS Facilities A Center will require new and contiguous space. At most universities this means that you will need to disrupt other faculty and/or other programs. Are you willing to irritate others to insure that the Center succeeds?
C A E F F ADVICE FOR ADMINISTRATORS Long-Term Hiring Practices 1.Hire good people who enjoy working with others. 2.Don’t try to guess research trends in fields outside your own. 3.Hire people in areas that complement existing strengths. 4.Often hunger is a better indication of future success than pedigree. 5.Invest in the wisest instead of the loudest.
C A E F F LONG-TERM HIRING PRACTICES Most Centers are built on the talent of existing faculty, not that of new hires. Academic departments hire faculty, not the college, and not even the Center Will the faculty member really collaborate? (You must select extraverts from a pool of introverts) Using long-term hiring to build the talent base for a Center can be inefficient. In other words, long-term will probably be longer than your term.
C A E F F Consultants can provide a valuable critique for your Center concept. However, you must provide the concept. The major deficiency in most Center proposals is they are not Center proposals. Instead, they are a collection of independent projects. Faculty tend to stress what they know rather than how their research relates to that of others. Detecting this deficiency is the primary task of the consultant. Can your faculty complete a major proposal early? If not, the consultant’s advice will be worthless. ROLE OF CONSULTANTS