- Author: Wendy Powers
Please welcome Cindy Renee Kron who started today as an IPM Advisor, based in Santa Rosa, with programmatic responsibilities in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. Cindy fills a position that is one of the last from the 2016 Position Call.
The first part of this week I am at Emory University to attend the Research Integrity Officers (RIO) annual meeting. The meeting venue is a hotel located across the street from the CDC, a huge complex that is walled off for security. A sharp contrast to USDA facilities in Washington DC. The irony of being located across from CDC is that the hotel has no potable water due to a storm that passed through and disrupted the local water treatment plant. I feel like I'm in a third world country or Flint, MI.
I chatted with the RIO from the University of Pittsburgh who shared that an increasing portion of his responsibilities relates to Conflict of Interest. The reason for the increase is that faculty are now permitted to spend up to 20% of their time working outside of their academic position. Translation: a faculty member can serve as a CEO of a company, 1 day per week, and that company may sponsor research conducted in the faculty member's laboratory. This is a component of the institution's entrepreneurial efforts to offset repeated flat funding from the state. Note that state funding comprises only 13% of the institution's budget but has prohibited tuition increases in recent years. The scenario is not unique to this institution. As foreign policy changes and as data security concerns escalate, conflict of interest disclosure is likely to become far more complex than checking a box when one submit a grant application for review.
Later this week I will catch up with the Blue Ribbon Panel as they tour 5 of the RECs. They start their long week across CA tonight with a group meeting in the Woodland/Sacramento area then head to Sierra Foothill REC tomorrow morning. While I would have liked to avoid the schedule conflict that prevented me from joining the group for the full week, I will meet the Panel in time for the South Coast and Desert REC stops on Thursday and Friday.