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Manoa Faculty Senate Committee on Research Minutes, February 8, 2006

8 February 2006: Wednesday 3-5 PM
Hawaii Hall 208

Members in Attendance: David Duffy (Chair), Patricia Donegan, Mike Garcia, Jennifer Herring, Patricia Lorenzo, Gerard Russo, John Stimson, W. Steven Ward, Jim Tiles (SEC Liaison).

Guest: Maqsudul Alam.

Members Excused: Bruce Shiramizu

A quorum was present and Chair Duffy called the meeting to order at 3:05 PM. In consideration of the guest-speaker's time, presentation on the sequencing facilities was the first agenda item.

1.Presentation & Discussion of the Sequencing Facilities

Professor Maqsudul Alam of the Center for Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics Research Initiative (CGBPRI) presented an overview of funding, research activities and future prospects for CGPBRI. Professor Alam provided the CoR members with a hard copy of his PowerPoint presentation and a copy the CGBPRI 2004 Annual Report. With approval from the former UHM Chancellor, CGPBRI has received three million dollars in RTRF funds, approximately one million dollars per year in the first three years of operation, with a tentative commitment for additional two million dollars in RTRF support over the next two years of operation. A request for this continued RTRF funding is pending with the UHM Vice Chancellor of Research & Graduate Education. Previous RTRF funding was largely used to acquire the CGPBRI's capital equipment and thus establish state-of-the-art DNA sequencing capabilities. Professor Alam provided information on CGPBRI's research activities, including most notably the Papaya Genome Project. Building upon the RTRF support, the CGPBRI has received an additional $4.85 million in extramural research awards through non-competitive processes. Professor Alam also provided the CoR members with letters and e-mails from faculty supportive of CGPBRI's mission and pleased with the sequencing services provided. Professor Alam was queried in detail by the CoR members on the future need and use of RTRF funds, current research initiatives and prospects for extramural funding. The CGPBRI goal is to self-sustaining on extramural funds by the end of 2008.

Following Professor Alam's presentation, he was thanked by the committee and he departed. Discussion of the CGPBRI ensued. Although no decision was reached by the committee on a recommendation to the SEC and the Vice-Chancellor, a near consensus was reached on a number of points. First, the scientific mission of the CGPBRI is an important one for UHM and the CoR members hope it succeeds in its goal of financial self-sufficiency. Second, a clear and realistic plan to achieve success in a timely fashion must be formulated and articulated by the director. Third, given the significant commitment of resources, the faculty has a reasonable expectation that CGPBRI researchers will acquire competitive grants from the most prestigious sources and produce publications of the highest quality as a direct result of CGPBRI capabilities. Fourth, CGPBRI will need more research faculty to achieve its goal. Fifth and finally, the path to success can be continued with RTRF support of an amount considerably less than $1 million per year.

The committee requested that the Chair produce a letter transmitting a number of these relevant issues to Professor Alam.

2.The minutes of 14 December 2005 meeting were unanimously approved.

3. A quorum was not present at the 11 January 2006 meeting. The Chair provided meeting notes and briefed the members on the discussion which took place.

4.The Chair reported on the status of a number of old items including the continued need for civil discourse as the faculty address controversial issues related proprietary and classified research.

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, March 8, 2006 3:00-5:00 PM.

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