There is plenty of research to be done for faculty at East Tennessee State University, but it takes money to do that, which is where the school’s Research Development Committee comes in.
Dr. David Hurley, committee chairman and professor/vice-chairman of pharmaceutical sciences at the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, said for the coming fiscal year the RDC has awarded $277,020 to professors from across campus whom the committee agreed had promising research that just needed a jump start.
Of the money awarded, there were 25 small grants totalling $34,500. Twenty major grants in the amount of $192,687 were awarded. And one $50,000 interdisciplinary grant went to researchers investigating diabetes.
There are three kinds of grants awarded by the RDC. The small grant is up to $1,500 and is typically used for things like travel, supplies or emergencies. These are applied for monthly throughout the year.
Major grants can be up to $10,000 and must be submitted by the end of February.
“And the purpose of the major grant is to give out up to $10,000 to be used by faculty members as they see fit to benefit their research,” Hurley said.
The interdisciplinary grant is a single $50,000 given to one group of researchers from multiple colleges on campus working on a single project.
“And that’s gotten very competitive since it started four years ago,” Hurley said of the interdisciplinary grant.
The purpose of the RDC is to promote and develop research on campus.
“And we try to interpret research very broadly as research and scholarship,” Hurley said. “So there’s a broad range of what can be used here.”
The RDC is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate.
“Everyone who gets a small, major or interdisciplinary grant has the privilege of serving as a reviewer for two years,” Hurley said.
The intention of the reviewer status is to teach the research grant application process and hopefully increase the number of external grants on campus, Hurley said. One new person from each college is typically appointed each year to the RDC. There are 25 members on the RDC and about 50 reviewers.
“It helps keep everybody a little fresher,” Hurley said of the method for appointing the committee.
One criterion for selection of the internal grants is how much leverage such a grant will give the researcher or researchers securing external funding once their project gets going.
The group of researchers who got the interdisciplinary grant were Mike Stone and Mike Ramsey in the College of Arts and Sciences’ exercise and sport science program, Charles Stuart with the College of Medicine and Michelle Lee in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.
“In brief what they’re studying is how much exercise is necessary to help a diabetic overcome their diabetes,” Hurley said. “It’s quite a group. They’ve been doing this a while. And with the importance of diabetes now, we’re really hopeful that this is going to take off.”
Hurley said most colleges support research, but the way ETSU handles it via the committee is unique.
“In my experience it hasn’t been as concerted an effort as we have here at ETSU,” Hurley said. “By having the campus know that we have this program year after year it really fosters a culture of research.”