CALS Advisory Panel for Engaged Research

CAPER: CALS New Research SWAT Team

The CALS Advisory Panel for Engaged Research, or CAPER, is a new faculty team in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences working to help CALS scientists achieve more. The team’s charge: Identify opportunities to improve administrative processes that support and encourage the research enterprise.

CAPER is meant to function as a peer network working together to identify bottlenecks and help resolve issues that can cause confusion and pose obstacles to productive, creative work by CALS research faculty and their teams. Sometimes the barriers are pervasive and must be chipped away slowly. Sometimes they are small and easily dealt with, such as making it easier to find answers to routine questions.

Initial themes for CAPER’s work include:

  • improving administrative processes so faculty can focus on their work;
  • becoming more data-driven to guide smart decision-making; and
  • creating transparency so all have a better understanding of internal research funds available and how to apply for them.

Think of CAPER as CALS’ research SWAT team. For departments with a research associate chair, that’s the CAPER. For others, members are selected in consultation with department chairs. See the inaugural team, below.

Questions and issues CAPER has started to address include:

  • If researchers succeed in landing competitive grants, should they continue on a Hatch Project? When and how do capacity grants need to be acknowledged?
  • Are there internal grants to support graduate students? Are graduate students employees of the university, and can they officially perform supervisory roles?
  • What are best practices to efficiently address issues in cross-college departments and interdepartmental programs?
  • What travel assistance is available from the college to support research activities and networking that may not be funded through grants?

Got an idea to make things work better? Contact CAPER!