The University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez (UPRM) is proposing the establishment and institutionalization of a Proposal Development Unit, within its Research and Development Center (R&DC), the entity in charge of promoting, managing and disseminating research endeavors on Campus. UPRM is nominating Dr. Marisol Vera, Professor of Chemistry, for the Extramural Associate Research Development Award. The nominee has been part of the UPRM faculty since 1986 and has been involved in teaching, research, and administration during her academic career. Since August 2007, she serves as Associate Director of the UPRM R&DC. This is an institutional team effort, which actively involves the UPRM R&D Center Director, Prof. Yuri Rojas, who has the appropriate level of authority to execute the institutional plan and is designated as the leader of the UPRM Strategic Plan Priority Objective #7: "Develop research initiatives in support of Puerto Rico's technological, economic and social development" and the Critical area of Research, creative action and graduate studies. This UPRM EARDA proposal has three long-term goals in mind, clearly aligned with the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM) Research and Development Center's Strategic Plan. The three goals are: (1) augment the number of UPRM professors doing research in NIH-related areas, (2) increase the number of proposals - new and resubmissions - submitted to NIH;and (3) strengthen the quality of the proposals being submitted to NIH by UPRM researchers. In meeting with these goals, after the five-year period of this proposal, we expect to: (1) increase by 50% the number of UPRM researchers in NIH areas of interest, (2) double the number of proposals - new and resubmissions - submitted to NIH, and (3) get at least two R-type proposals approved by NIH. To achieve these goals, five objectives have been defined: 1) the establishment of the Proposal Development Unit (PDU) within the Research and Development Center (R&DC), 2) the training of the Extramural Associate (EA) nominee to serve effectively as administrator of the PDU and become a change agent at the institution by bridging science and administration, 3) the establishment of an evaluation plan to monitor the enhancement of the institutional capacity in research administration, 4) the strengthening of the UPRM capability to support pilot projects that focus on the NIH areas of interest, and 5) the institutionalization of the PDU within the R&D Center structure, as a means to strengthen its pre-award capabilities.
The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) is a Hispanic, minority institution committed to science and technology, and has a pool of highly motivated and well prepared researchers in disciplines consonant with NIH mission areas. The Research and Development Center (R&DC) has the responsibility of promoting capacity building of these researchers at UPRM, so that they can effectively contribute to Puerto Rico's wellbeing and the nation's public health. This initiative will enhance the capacity of the R&D Center to promote among UPRM investigators a culture of biomedical and behavioral research in our institution.