Raising our institutional profile through the Drive to 25 opens new opportunities for research, creative activity, and scholarship. Over the past year, this newsletter has highlighted numerous outstanding achievements of WSU faculty, staff, and students engaged in research activities supporting the Drive to 25.

The Office of Research and other college, campus, and administrative offices actively support the WSU research enterprise. In this newsletter, we recognize some notable 2019 accomplishments of the Office of Research in support of the university’s research mission.

Advancing research and its application

WSU research continued to see growth in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. In FY2018, WSU set a record of $360.5 million for total research and development (R&D) expenditures, as reported by the National Science Foundation. In FY2019, the Office of Research Support and Operations submitted over 2,500 proposals and processed over 1,600 awards, bringing in over $230 million to support WSU researchers. WSU also remained in the top two for total U.S. Department of Agriculture R&D expenditures with a total of $38.1 million. Additionally, the Office of Research received $6.7 million in license income, setting a WSU record.

The Office of Commercialization, working with the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) also saw success in 2019 when Cosmic Crisp® apples were released in stores. Nearly 450,000 40-pound boxes were available for sale nationwide in December. By 2020, that number will increase to 2 million boxes of apples available for sale. WSU owns the patent to the cultivar WA 38 and the trademark Cosmic Crisp®.

Operational improvements

Over the past year, the Office of Research has identified ways to improve operational support to researchers system-wide. Some of these changes occurred in the Office of the Campus Veterinarian (OCV), the Office of Commercialization (OC), and Centers and Institutes (C/Is).

Office of the Campus Veterinarian (OCV)

Historically, animal facilities at WSU had been managed as independent units through individual departments or colleges. Multiple animal facilities on the WSU Pullman campus began the transition to centralized management in July 2018. This reorganization effectively brings the vivarium services under the supervision of the campus veterinarian with the intent to capitalize on efficiencies and to promote collaborations and campus-wide strategic planning for the animal care and use program.

The vivarium centralization program made strong progress in FY2019. The following facilities now report to the Integrated Vivarium Services (IVS) within the OCV:
• Biotechnology and Life Sciences Building vivarium
• Veterinary Biomedical Research Building vertical and basement vivaria
• Bustad Hall vivarium
• Animal Disease Biotechnology Facility vivarium
• IVS Isolation Building
• Wegner Hall vivarium
• Eastlick vivarium

Integrated Vivarium Services has a current staff of 12 animal care managers and technicians. This dedicated team of animal care professionals provide the critical day-to-day animal care and oversee safety and facility operations.

WSU standards for animal housing and care are high, and our Animal Care and Use Program is fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC). WSU undergoes a site visit every three years to ensure our program is meeting the highest standards. WSU received notification of Continued Full AAALAC Accreditation in March 2019, based on a site visit in fall 2018. The 2019 and previous 2016 Full Accreditation represent the first consecutive AAALAC Full Accreditation designations at WSU since 1982/1985.

Office of Commercialization (OC)—Changes on intellectual property

In June 2018, the administration revised the University’s policy (Executive Policy #38) regarding intellectual property, technology transfer, and commercialization.

In addition to the revised policy, visiting faculty using WSU resources for research purposes are required to complete the “Intellectual Property and Proprietary Information Agreement for Visiting Personnel Using WSU Facilities” and return it to the WSU Office of Commercialization. It is important that all visitors are made aware of WSU’s policies prior to their visit. For any international visitors, WSU departments must work closely with Global Services, which has primary responsibility for ensuring that the University follows all federal reporting requirements for foreign nationals at WSU. For more information, visit the Office of Commercialization, the Office of Research Support and Operations, and International Research websites.

Centers and Institutes (C/Is)

In November 2017, the Faculty Senate and the Office of Research jointly chartered a task force to review Washington State University’s Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories (CILs) policies and procedures associated with defining, creating, reviewing, and renewing CILs. After numerous discussions, review of guidelines from numerous peer institutions, and WSU’s current CILs guidelines, the taskforce created a report with recommended changes that will facilitate entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration at WSU while also establishing improved oversight and accountability for centers and institutes.

The report was approved by the Faculty Senate on February 7, 2019. The recommendations received final approval from the Board of Regents on May 3, 2019.

New procedures for transitioning, renaming, or discontinuing C/Is have been established. Delegation of final approval of C/Is from the Board of Regents will now go to the University President. Once approved, C/Is will complete an online application process and will be entered into a central registry of C/Is and collaborative units. This online application form will streamline the process while allowing input from multiple stakeholders in a specified timeframe and will significantly reduce approval time from as long as one year to about eight weeks. Additionally, annual reports and comprehensive five-year reviews will be submitted online to the oversight authorities and the Research and Arts Committee.

Office of Research staff receive recognition

Dan Nordquist received the NCURA Outstanding Achievement Award.

The Office of Research has approximately 90 employees who support faculty and staff across the University in their research pursuits, and who ensure that our scientists conduct research in a safe and ethical manner that is compliant with regulations and laws. The behind-the scenes work from our staff allows WSU researchers to focus on advancing research with high public impact to address today’s challenges. In the past year, several staff members received recognition with national organizations and within WSU.

Christopher Keane, vice president for research, was among eight WSU faculty elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) in 2019. The Academy hosts events to raise awareness of key issues affecting the future of Washingtonians. The WSAS members provide unbiased assessments to guide public policy-making in the state.

In November 2019, VPR Keane also received national recognition when he was appointed chair elect to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Council of Research (APLU CoR) Executive Committee. APLU CoR monitors government rules and regulations affecting campus scientific and technical research, and graduate education. CoR working groups have focused on such topics as the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act, the protection of human research subjects, and improving the culture of safety in campus labs and work spaces. VPR Keane’s term as chair formally commences in November 2020.

Kristen Petersen received the 2019 John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship by the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO).

Earlier in the year, Geeta Dutta, assistant vice president for research advancement and partnerships, was selected as an APLU CoR Research Leader Fellow. The Research Leader Fellowship Program leverages CoR’s network of research leaders and allows Fellows to grow connections across areas of expertise and expand relationships among professional organizations, APLU, and institutions.

Dan Nordquist, associate vice president for research and deputy vice president for operations in the Office of Research, also received national recognition from the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA). Nordquist received the 2019 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Administration. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate noteworthy service to NCURA and have made significant contributions to the profession of research administration. The award is NCURA’s highest honor.

Ashley Norberg receives award
Ashely Norberg receiving her Technician of the Year plaque from Dori Gabelmann – WSU IVS Animal Facility Manager.

Kristen Petersen, data manager for WSU’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC), was one of two recipients of the 2019 John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship by the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO). This Scholarship is named after the former AASRO President and former WSU SESRC director. The John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship recognizes outstanding individuals who strengthen academic survey research organizations across the country.

Ashley Norberg, animal technician II in the Integrated Vivarium Services (IVS) unit of the Office of the Campus Veterinarian, received the 2019 Technician of the Year award by the Northern Rocky Mountain American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Branch. This award recognizes animal care technical staff that go above and beyond their job descriptions and is a tribute to the technician’s integrity, work ethic and excellence.

Looking ahead

We are excited about what we have achieved and look forward to further progress in 2020. The Office of Research is committed to implementing and maintaining the structures, processes, and resources needed to fully support WSU faculty, staff, and students engaged in creative activity, research, and scholarship.