Social Media and Research Administration

Last week, your humble scribes were presenters at NCURA’s annual Regional Meeting in Gettysburg, PA, speaking on the emergence of Social Media in Research Administration and our experiences in setting up our various platforms.  Given the positive response, as well as the questions received concerning how exactly to go about setting up Social Media accounts, we thought it might be beneficial to our readership at large to also learn a bit more about our efforts and where we plan to go.  So, for the next few weeks, we will be featuring “Social Media Monday,” where we break down our own Social Media techniques and how it can apply to your institution. For us, Social Media will only be successful as more and more institutions embrace it, and thus we want to share our processes and encourage you to start your own.

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The Importance of Those Pesky Liability Clauses

One of the more confusing, and contested, clauses in research contracts is that which contemplates the liability that each party will have in the event that something goes wrong during the project.  Unlike other sections that may hinge on the interpretation of one term, liability provisions are generally consistent in their wording, and simply are dependent on who will ultimately be responsible for a given misdeed or oversight.  However, getting to that point often requires a significant amount of back and forth, and frequently also includes the involvement of higher-ups within a University’s legal food chain.  Two of the more problematic liability issues involve IP indemnification and product liability.

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Budget Justifications

In the current environment, a strong budget justification is more important than ever to insure adequate funding.  Federal agencies are quite honest concerning their efforts to cut out spending that isn’t adequately justified, and will do so without discussion.  Consequently, in order to preserve the research budget and make sure PIs are receiving funds sufficient for their projects, budget justifications are becoming increasingly important.  A good justification should be detailed and specific, remembering that only the information in the justification will be the deciding factor for whether or not money is awarded fully.  As a result, making them an afterthought could mean significant cuts to your proposed budget and many resultant issues.

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Sheldon’s Fun-day Friday

This has been yet another rough week, but I’m *thisclose* to returning to civilization and, more importantly, my cross-country sojourn!  I wish I could tell you where I’ve been the last couple of weeks, but it’s all a bit of a blur since I left Miami.  I do know that I ended up seeing not only some of the most beautiful things ever, but also some of the most terrifying.

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Export Controls

Of all of the various rules and regulations that PIs keep at the forefront of their consciousness, our guess is that those concerning export controls are generally tucked away in some dark recess of the mind, rarely, if ever, given consideration.  To be fair, navigating the labyrinthine laws that determine what is and isn’t a subject act requires substantial effort, so PIs can’t be blamed too much for focusing their mental energies on other, more straight-forward matters.  However, running afoul of any export control parameters can result in serious penalties, and thus it is important that everyone be aware of the scope and specifics of all such laws.

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Sheldon’s Fun-day Friday

Happy National Snark Week.

It’s like Shark Week, except only those sarcastic and a little bit mean get to participate. Being snarky is a talent, but it’s better than people who think they can sing. It’s a week where we celebrate idiots. While on the road, I’ve been struggling with my snark. All the warm fuzzies, butterflies and occasional hugs are making me die inside. I even bought the new Glee tracks. I almost said YOLO (you only live once), bought a knit cap and fake glasses.

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