|VPR/ED candidate Malayer tackles grant funding, expectations for senior faculty, and support for the liberal arts scholarship and research|
Based on its five- to seven-year track record in building up its
research portfolio, UND is well-positioned to significantly advance,
perhaps even double, that enterprise, said Jerry Malayer, associate dean for research and graduate education, Center for Veterinary Health
Sciences at Oklahoma State University, and one of four semi-finalists
for vice president for research and economic development at UND. Malayer presented his perspective about the role of VPR/ED office’s role in developing, promoting, and supporting research across disciplines, including the humanities, at his open forum May 1.
Malayer obtained his Ph.D. in animal science (reproductive endocrinology) at the University of Florida in 1990 and his Master’s
of Science in 1986 and Bachelor’s degree in 1979, both in animal
science at Purdue. He completed a four-year post-doc in at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been in his current position at
OSU since 2001. From 1999 to 2004, he was associate professor in the
physiological sciences; he was promoted to full professor in 2004, and
holds that appointment currently. From 1999 to 2001, he was coordinator
of OSU’s veterinary biomedical sciences graduate program.
Malayer also holds an appointment as adjunct professor in biochemistry
and molecular biology in the OSU College of Agriculture. His research
interests include the role of steroid hormones and their receptors in
the control of gene expression during the establishment and maintenance
of pregnancy in domestic animals; and molecular approaches in the
development of diagnostic technologies. He is a member of the National
Council of University Research Administrators.
When asked to describe some of the ways he managed his division's
growth at OSU, Malayer said that he worked with businesses large and
small to develop opportunities for faculty.
“I also participated in writing, and was awarded, SBIR [Small Business Innovation Research] grants. I participated in developing partnerships with large companies to facilitate research activities for faculty, and I did a lot of liaison work with our intellectual property management group on campus and with our compliance office,” he said.
Questioned about the role of the VPR/ED in enhancing research, both through intramural and external funding sources, Malayer said he saw the VPR’s function as threefold, starting with service.
“This is the aspect (of the VPR’s office) where you are running the
office of sponsored programs that helps to facilitate development of
proposals, assurance of compliance with the details of federal and state regulations, and just assisting faculty to identify opportunities in getting proposals out the door,” Malayer said.
Second, there’s the specific compliance element.
“That’s sort of the enforcement part of the VPR’s office, and assurance of compliance with the rules involves a lot of communication,
it involves a lot of education,” he said.
“Faculty need to understand as much about these things as possible
before they develop their proposals, and then they need to be kept in
the loop as things move forward in the compliance area, so they’re not
caught off guard by new developments, new regulations,” Malayer said.
The VPR needs to be proactive, for example in the area of biosafety.
“There is a lot of talk around the country now about ramping up
assurity on biologicals in places that work in the biosafety level 3
environment,” he said. “We need to be way out in front of that type
Third is development.
“This is the identification of opportunity,” Malayer said. “I see
the vice president participating in fund-raising, I see the vice
president aligning folks who are interested in the scholarly activities
of the faculty, and getting them to put some money on the table to fund
endowed chairs across the disciplines, to fund scholarships for students, to fund really anything that would relate to the ability of
the faculty to become more competitive and draw in more grants and
contracts through the competitive mechanisms.”
Malayer said he would encourage students to participate in the scholarly pursuits of the faculty through honors and related kinds of
He also said, in response to a question about what he thought would be
an appropriate seed grant pool for UND, that he would not put a dollar
amount on that.
“What I would like to see is an environment where the successful
faculty pay their own way, and where we have, then, folks who are coming in who are on their way to being successful be the ones to use those programs, rather than people who are operating for their whole career on the internal seed grant programs,” he said. “I couldn’t put a
dollar amount on that, but I would think that at any point in time the
cohort of faculty who’ve been here less than five years would be 25 to 30 percent of your faculty, and so whatever seed grant program size you’d need to serve 30 percent of your faculty would be about right.”
Asked about intellectual property, Malayer said, "That's always a difficult one because there are a number of models for how you could do
(IP). Some institutions keep it internal in the way they operate an IP
office; others hand it off to foundations. Apparently here, they’ve handed it off to half a dozen foundations, or something on that order.
UND’s first VPR came in 2003, and so all of this is relatively new. It
would be very important to develop a consistent and systematic policy
that addresses that issue.”
Malayer tackled several questions relating to the VPR’s support for
humanities research and scholarship.
“I think it’s very important, but I don’t have much experience (with the humanities) because the nature of my career has not really involved administrative interaction with those departments,” he said.
“But I know that there is a seed grant program in place (at UND), and
I would see a seed grant program that paid for travel, that paid for
your time, for that library time, as being an integral part of a plan to support (the humanities) disciplines.”
“I also think it’s important to try to look for places for more
interdisciplinary interaction where there would be an opportunity for
either industry or competitive funding that brought a multi-disciplinary team together that involved people from humanities disciplines with people from other disciplines. It’s important to have an engaged faculty of high quality scholars so that we can recruit more high quality scholars in those disciplines so that we can recruit very good students in those disciplines.”
He also said he’d support partial funding for graduate students to
travel to conferences, do research, present papers, and the like. At
OSU, he said, graduate students can apply for seed grant money, up to
Malayer said UND’s community engagement initiatives were exemplary
and laudable, and his office would continue to support such efforts.
On a more technical note, Malayer was questioned about his views on
dealing with indirect costs and so-called “facilities and
administration” costs in terms of grant funding.
“The federal government intends that F&A money go into facilities and
administration, and they have a particular formula for the split between those two things. They expect that the administration part of that supports the infrastructure that’s necessary to maintain a compliance program, that’s necessary to maintain an office of sponsored programs, that’s necessary to maintain the financial controls that you need to operate within the guidelines that they’ve set forward,” he said. “And the facilities portion is to maintain the facilities that you’ve built so that they remain serviceable for the research that you need to conduct.”
“What I'd like to see happen, and what we do at my current institution, is (that we) reinvest a portion back to the investigator to give the investigator incentives to be successful in grantsmanship,”
“What I would not like to see is that (F&A) money drawn off for
purposes (unrelated to research), which some institutions do, such as
pay for a parking lot in front of the administration building,” Malayer said.
To a question regarding the hiring of post-docs, Malayer said he’d
recommend allowing individual investigators to hire them as needed,
rather than put them through a faculty hiring process.
One questioner prompted this response from Malayer regarding diversity
“I think that it’s very important to increase diversity and that we
pay particular attention to students who come from disadvantaged
backgrounds,” he said. “We want to make sure that with funds that we
have for graduate students and post-docs, that diversity is taken into
account. It’s important to promote the opportunity for students from
various backgrounds to participate in research. We need to track what
the demographics are, and we (need to) assure that there is a broad
range of students that get that opportunity.”
Malayer was also questioned about his top priorities if he were
appointed to the VPR/ED position.
“My action points moving forward would be to come in and begin to
examine the university in enough detail to be able to make an educated
proposal about what needs to happen,” he said. “I think that for the
first several months the process should be interacting with faculty and
administration in a very in-depth way, one-on-one or in small groups,
with the conversation revolving around the ideas of where faculty see
their programs going, what they need to get there, and what the VPR’s
office can do to facilitate that.”
He also said he’d review policies to “identify landmines,” that
is, “policies that are counterproductive to what we’re trying to get
accomplished and polices that aren’t enforced and get rid of them.”
Then, he said, he’d cultivate relationships with North Dakota’s
congressional delegation and its state staffs to keep the ball rolling
with them on the good work already taking place at UND.
He’d also support hiring a grant writer or grant writers.
“We need to transform the institution, and that’s been happening.
Going forward, it’s not going to be easy, it’s not overnight,” he
said. “And I believe that we have to balance our teaching mission with
this growth in the research enterprise.”
-- Juan Pedraza, University Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org,