-- BryanShepherd - 19 Sep 2017

Notes from Biostat Faculty Town Hall Meeting, September 15, 2017

I. Internal Funding for Biostatistics Research

The proposed idea is rather than giving protected time for methods development to all, faculty will write proposals to be awarded protected time, money for students, etc.

  • Faculty not eager to have protected time taken away. Protected time still needed, as faculty spend a lot of time in service to the department and this needs to be covered. Methods awards should be above and beyond a current minimal level of protected time for faculty.
  • The winners need to show high level results (more than just giving a seminar at the end of the year): submission to top-level methods journal, grant written
  • Need more than 10% to get strong results
  • Co-investigators may actually be benefitting most from the awards, as faculty will still be expected to do the same collaborative work with less effort designated for it.
    • Likely that faculty will need to drop a project, and need to find someone to fill that project. Requires advanced hiring. Would be ideal to have a research assistant professor hired for the explicit purpose of having ability to offload whole collaboration efforts (not a good idea to cut collaborative percent effort on a project; better to keep all or move all to another person).
    • Plan for reducing effort to make way for Department Research Award funds could be part of the award.
  • Issue – how to get faculty “re”-funded at end of award
  • There was some worry that this would this create competitiveness vs. collaboration in the department among faculty.
  • Possibly tie to external funding and have department match?
  • Sense of need and demand to consider for award.
  • Judges – external review committee or senior faculty in our department?
  • Possible types of awards (multiple)
    • Tenure Track Assistant Professors – after first three years. Kind of like a career development award for senior assistant professors.
    • Any faculty member going for a R01. (The word "Methods" was removed because faculty putting in grants to develop software or public health R01's that are not Methods related may also be of interest. To improve clout in the medical center we need to engage more in initiatives to improve patient outcomes rather than developing methods in a vacuum.)
    • Use in ways to achieve department goals by focusing on specific areas, cognitive impact
    • Possibly expand with Service Awards as well
    • Possibly use this to reward faculty for taking on students thesis work.

II. Research Publications Awards:

The proposed idea was to increase the award amount for current awards (Methods, Collaborative, and Report) and possibly expand number of awards

  • In general, the group felt that the money is not an incentive and that our money could be spent better elsewhere.
  • The true benefit is the positive internal recognition and listing on CV.
  • What about an award for top software/computing application? Didn't get a lot of feedback on that.
  • Ideas: Rather than increase the number of award categories, increase the number of winners within a category, or allow a paper to be eligible for multiple years.
    • Will that dilute the significance of the award, and make people who do not win feel worse?
  • Have an award luncheon with winners
  • Winners give a seminar

III. Department Seminars:

  • Could be better used by faculty to develop mentoring committees and to network
  • A better balance of topics, to boost areas currently not addressed
  • Faculty should take a more active role in inviting speakers; plan to invite one person per year.
  • Possibly have seminars year around (downside – summer attendance would be low – no students and many faculty are out of the office)
  • Invite more internal data scientists as speakers

IV. Other ideas to Promote Research:

  • We didn't have time to discuss this topic. Any ideas are welcome.
  • More book clubs and reading groups.
  • Laurie currently hosts a works in progress session once a month during Monday clinic. But this is dependent on outside investigators not signing up -- it would be great if this could be done more often and more regularly.
  • Provide departmental funds and develop mentoring program to help new faculty and non-tenure track faculty to write and/or take the lead on statistical methods papers based on their collaborations.
  • Email blasts about biostatistics funding opportunities would be helpful.
  • Email blasts about conference/abstract deadlines.
  • Research day, with student/faculty posters
Topic revision: r5 - 02 Oct 2017, BryanShepherd

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