The Council of Principal Investigators (CPI) comprises individuals elected to represent Principal Investigators (PIs) from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio research community. The CPI’s mission is to ensure continued improvement of the research environment for faculty, students and staff at UT Health San Antonio. The CPI, acts as an independent voice for the PIs it represents, works with administration to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the research and training environment, with the goal of increasing the national recognition of UT Health San Antonio as an institution competitive in research and teaching.
The CPI meets monthly to consider specific issues relevant to research. Recommendations are formulated, then discussed with and implemented through the appropriate organizations or administrative offices.
Making the CPI a stronger voice for researchers
The CPI holds regular meetings with UTHSA leadership including President Henrich, the COO Ms. Marks and the VPR Dr. Potter to discuss concerns of importance to researchers and the research enterprise. These meetings have been constructive and productive, keeping an open line of communication between the administration and researchers as well as contributing to the advocacy mission of the CPI to ensure that research remains a central component in the Institution’s mission.
Centralization of Administrative Services
The CPI has continued efforts to relay concerns about how systemic and day-to-day challenges arising from the initiatives (MOST) that reorganized the structure of the administrative services at UTHSA. The CPI has worked with Ms. Marks, Ms. Gomez-Leon, Dr. Potter, and others to address concerns PIs have raised regarding pre and post award services, IT infrastructure, travel requisition and reimbursement, staff hiring, and purchasing and procurement. The voice of the CPI has ensured the perspective of researchers is considering in the proposed solutions.
- Reviewed, advised, and trialed the implementation of the Contract Management System implemented by OSP. Provided insight into the needs of researchers, where the bottlenecks in the current approval process were, and suggestions for improvements.
- Discussed the implementation of Graduate Student stipend increases with Dean Weiss, expressed to the Dean how these increases impact faculty budgets, and suggested strategies that would minimize sudden stipend increases and help with grant planning and budgeting.
- Reviewed with HR leadership how proposed changes to the employee onboarding process could affect the hiring and retention of research staff. The CPI addressed the general concern expressed by our constituents about how delays and a one-size-fits-all approach in the hiring and onboarding process for new employees was detrimental to the continued growth and success of the UTHSA research mission.
- Worked with the UTHSA Data Management Working Group and all stakeholders to develop the infrastructure and procedures to ensure UTHSA grantees would have the tools to comply with NIH policies for the implementation of Data Management and Sharing Plans.
- Continued to foster a close working relationship with Facilities Management to ensure renovations to existing space and new construction activities would have minimal impact on the research mission.
- The CPI provided feedback to the LSOM Office of Research regarding planned activities to support investigators in obtaining pilot project grants and bridging funds. The CPI also discussed ways for researchers to accept medical students into their labs under the Research Connect program.