With the reunification of UT’s two campuses in Knoxville, faculty at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture can now access proposal development support provided by UT’s Office of Research and Engagement. Two researchers who recently accessed support for large, complex proposals were Shigetoshi Eda and Jon Beever.
Eda, professor of forestry, wildlife and fisheries and associate director of the Center for Wildlife Health, worked with Diana Moyer, research development manager in ORE, and DeeDee Wilder, grant coordinator in UTIA’s Office of Sponsored Programs on a graduate traineeship proposal to the National Science Foundation. He explained that the team’s weekly coordination kept the work on track.
The project’s goal is to provide graduate students with cross-disciplinary training in biological science, data science, and mathematics using the One Health concept, a convergent approach that addresses health challenges of humans, animals, and their environments within complex yet interlocked biological systems at multiple scales.
Eda was first introduced to the RD office through an internal competition process that connected him with Moyer. He said his team, which included faculty from both campuses, benefited from the coordination, editing, and compliance checks Moyer and Wilder provided.
“This is my first time to submit a proposal for graduate school training. Without Diana’s help, I can’t imagine I could put this proposal together,” he said. “I would definitely encourage my colleagues to familiarize themselves with and seek help from Diana and others in the RD office.”
Beever, professor of animal science and director of the Genomics Center for the Advancement of Agriculture, recently submitted a $10 million multidisciplinary proposal to the US Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems. His research group seeks to study intensified housing systems for the beef industry from a multi-faceted perspective: beef production and management, forage management, precision livestock farming, economics, soil water and waste, animal health and wellness, and genetics and genomics. The goal is to discover solutions that will meet global demand while reducing the ecological footprint.
According to Beever, Kiley Compton, RD manager, led a support team that included Emily Mitchell; RD coordinator; Liz Hebert, UTIA grant coordinator; and Susan Schexnayder, UTIA senior research associate, which brought a new level of services to him, one he was unaccustomed to but thrilled to receive. He commended Compton’s organizational skills, which he said kept the team focused on the specific needs of the funding agency.
With a team of more than 30 members, proposal management can be challenging. Beever shared that Compton’s expertise in this area was invaluable during the process. She provided an extra set of eyes to help coordinate tasks and sub-tasks, ensure compliance with the proposal requirements, and address issues outside the scientists’ “wheelhouse.”
“In addition to alleviating our stress, she simply helped us get things done,” said Beever, encouraging his colleagues to seek out such assistance on large or complex proposals.
In addition to proposal support, other RD services include faculty training and development programs and collaboration-building programs like SPARKS (Seeking Partnerships to Advance Research, Knowledge, and Science). To learn more about the services provided by the research development office, visit ORE’s website at research.utk.edu.