The University of Texas Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) entered into a unique partnership in 1991 to maximize resources and increase educational opportunities for the communities of South Texas. During the last sixteen years, this Hispanic-serving institution (93% Hispanic) has made some remarkable progress towards developing competitive research. Additionally, during the last eight years UTB/TSC has rapidly developed a noticeable biomedical research endeavor. UTB/TSC's unique partnership along with its limited resources and fast developing research enterprise will require a non-traditional, highly coordinated, and efficient approach to research administration. The long-term goal of this proposal is to create an appropriate administrative and scientific research environment through the development of an efficient structure that will support competitive research from non-minority funding mechanisms. The objectives of this program focus on improving the: (1) research administration and (2) scientific environment that will in turn boost productivity in publication numbers, external grant funding and support the recruitment of new faculty and thus facilitating the transition to non-minority funding mechanisms. A series of activities are planned to achieve both objectives including training of the PI/EA to become an agent of change, the creation of a research administration office to support the PI/EA's effort, a thorough assessment of the current research climate, increased training opportunities (grant writing and management workshops, grant reviews, and compliance training), improved communications (quarterly research newsletter, seminars and symposia along with an outreach seminar series), and pilot grant opportunities in biomedical/behavioral research. The PI/EA nominee, Luis Colom, M.D., Ph.D has been employed at UTB/TSC since 2001. He is presently the Director of the Center for Biomedical Studies and has been instrumental in the overall growth of the biomedical research programs. Dr. Colom is also an active research scientist studying septo-hippocampal functions of the brain. Overall, through the choice of this highly qualified trainee candidate and the strong commitment of the institution to expand research, we anticipate that the EARDA program will enhance the research culture at UTB/TSC and thus facilitate the transition to non-minority funding mechanisms.
The overarching goal of this EARDA proposal is to strengthen the institutional research culture (administrative and scientific) in order to expand the research capacity (with a special emphasis on building research programs related to the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and cure of human diseases) at this Hispanic-serving institution. Through this program we will build a bridge between the research administration and the scientific community through a focused approach on improving: (1) research administration and (2) scientific environment at UTB/TSC. Since UTB/TSC comprises the strongest group of scientists performing biomedical research south of San Antonio, improving the research administration and scientific environment will enhance the biomedical research capabilities at UTB/TSC and thus deeply impacting South Texas public health.