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Campus Messages

An archive of email messages sent to the entire UCSF community by the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor's Cabinet.

June 8, 2017
Advocacy

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to report that NIH announced today that it will not implement the Grant Support Index (GSI) plan first made public at the beginning of May (see my June 1 email). This decision was in response to substantial feedback and concerns received from the community; UCSF was very active in that discussion, and many will be pleased with this outcome.

Also announced following yesterday’s Advisory Committee to the [NIH] Director meeting is a new effort, the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, which seeks to “increase the number of NIH-funded early-stage and mid-career investigators and to stabilize the career trajectory of scientists” (https://grants.nih.gov/ngri.htm). This plan will extend the payline for early-stage and mid-career scientists, at an estimated cost of $210 million in the first year, ramping up to $1.1 billion in year five, using funds obtained from “rearranging priorities in other categories.” Greater emphasis also will be placed on existing NIH programs that serve scientists in these career stages.

While NIH will not move forward with GSI, they intend to pursue “the development and testing of metrics that can be used to assess the impact of NIH grant support on scientific progress.” We will track those plans closely, with the expectation that stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide input in the process similar to what occurred with the GSI concept.

Sincerely,

Keith R. Yamamoto, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy

May 31, 2017
Advocacy

Dear Colleagues,

Many in the UCSF community are aware that NIH has been seeking ways to assess the value of NIH grant support, and in particular wants to determine “whether it might be possible to fund more investigators with a fixed sum of money without hurting overall productivity.” [1, 2] On the premise that there are diminishing returns after achieving a given level of total support, NIH Director Francis Collins announced on May 2, 2017 a plan [3] to limit the number of grants held by any one investigator. In that scheme, a Grant Support Index (GSI) would assign point values to various grant mechanisms (e.g., an R01 grant is valued at 7 points), and any applicant who would exceed a GSI of 21 would be expected to adjust his/her grant portfolio if the new application were to be funded. Based on an initial analysis carried out by our Office of Sponsored Research, at least 42 UCSF investigators currently exceed 21 points, and at least an additional 18 are at 21 points precisely.

Not surprisingly, there has been much concern within the research community about the GSI policy as initially announced. I have been in active discussion with NIH leadership about these issues, as have many others across the nation. Direct communications to me, as well as a recent press article [4], suggest that substantial changes are being made. Unofficially, I have been told that GSI point assignments will be limited to R-mechanism grants, and that T, P and U mechanisms will no longer be included. I also have been assured informally that the 21-point line will not serve as a formulaic cap, but rather will flag an application and applicant for consideration of whether exceeding 21 points is merited by...

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May 22, 2017
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues,

We are honored and very pleased to share the news that Ron Vale, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology in the UCSF School of Medicine, has been named to receive the 2017 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

Dr. Vale shares the prize with Ian R. Gibbons, PhD, FRS, visiting researcher in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. The award recognizes the scientists’ discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins, “the engines that drive nerve cell growth and chromosome inheritance essential to human development.”

In 2012, Dr. Vale was one of three scientists awarded the 2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his discovery in the mid-1980s of the motor protein kinesin, which transports cargo inside the cell along microtubule “tracks.” Kinesin makes it possible for the heart to beat and is also crucial to the separation of chromosomes during cell division. Drs. Vale and Gibbons have collaborated on studies of dynein, a motor protein discovered by Dr. Gibbons in the 1960s that moves along microtubules in the opposite direction to kinesin.

Their work underscores the tremendous value of basic research in advancing our knowledge of human health and disease. Read more about Drs. Vale and Gibbons’ Shaw-winning work.

The Shaw Prize, established in November 2002, honors individuals, regardless of race, nationality, gender and religious belief, who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications and whose work has...

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April 30, 2017
Administrative

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce our 2017 UCSF-wide Staff Engagement Survey results. In February, I urged you to participate, and seventy percent of staff responded.

We have achieved an overall UCSF grand mean of 3.93, based on a five-point scale. This is an improvement of .07 points from the 2015 score and marks significant improvement since the first Gallup survey at UCSF in 2011. The steady progress can be seen below:

Results of the Staff Survey Over Time

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April 9, 2017
Administrative

Dear Colleagues:

At UCSF, our mission of advancing health worldwide guides us. To help us deliver on this promise, we need a strong communications foundation.

To that end, UCSF is conducting a survey of faculty and staff to better understand our current communications environment – what’s working well and where we can make improvements. Our goal is that you feel informed about UCSF and that our communications are as timely, targeted and transparent as possible.

You will receive the communications survey via email soon from [email protected], and we ask that you take a few minutes to complete it by Monday, April 24. The survey is completely confidential and your response will be anonymous. It should take about 15 minutes to complete.

We seek your candid feedback, and the more responses we receive, the more informed our actions will be to improve in this area. This effort is part of a new university initiative, Great People, Great Place, in which we aim to make UCSF a best place to work, learn, teach and discover.

Thank you in advance for your valuable perspective. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Gil Lorenzo, project manager for Great People, Great Place.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

March 26, 2017
Advocacy
Partnerships

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

As a public university, UCSF is firmly grounded in the belief that the expansion of knowledge, through scientific discovery, is core to our society’s freedom and prosperity. We also believe that our strength as a university stems from a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion, and respects every individual regardless of his or her religion or national origin.

To reaffirm and celebrate these values, UCSF will “Stand Up for Science” in solidarity with other members of the academic and scientific communities, including the Gladstone Institutes and the California Life Sciences Association. On Saturday, April 22, two morning events are scheduled to take place at Mission Bay:

  • “Stand Up for Science” Teach-In (8-10 a.m.), featuring UCSF faculty members who, during their careers, have pursued research that has clashed with political sentiments. Listen to stories from those experienced in advancing evidence-based health policy when politics interfered or presented seemingly immovable obstacles. RSVP to attend this event. The teach-in will be available via livestream.
  • “Stand Up for Science” Rally (10-10:45 a.m.), with the local life sciences community to speak out for our shared values of diversity and inclusion in advancing scientific discovery.

...

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March 16, 2017
Advocacy
Partnerships
UC System

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

The severe budget cuts to federal funding for scientific research proposed by the new administration, particularly a 19 percent reduction in support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are deeply concerning. UCSF is fortunate to have been a top recipient of NIH funds for many years and, as a public institution, it has been our privilege to fulfill our pact with taxpayers by conducting research that has improved the health of all Americans.

Be assured that our leadership team continues to work, in concert with the UC Office of the President, to stay apprised of federal actions and issues that have a significant impact on our university. We are strongly committed to keeping UCSF community members informed and taking appropriate actions to address these concerns and defend the values that are core to the University of California.

UCSF is advocating in our nation’s capital. Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy Keith Yamamoto is in Washington, DC working with Associate Director Natalie Alpert, our federal government relations lead, to actively represent UCSF. We remain aligned and in partnership with others who share our deep concerns, including our peer academic research institutions and national organizations such as the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). It is by working with our peers and colleagues that we can truly represent the breadth of support that exists for maintaining what has been consistent and long-standing bipartisan backing for the federal funding of biomedical research.

Related to these advocacy efforts, I want to acknowledge that many in our community have asked about UCSF participation...

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March 6, 2017
Advocacy

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, President Trump signed a new immigration Executive Order yesterday that restricts entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. While this order has been revised from the one issued in January, we remain opposed to such bans because they impinge on the free flow of knowledge and information, which is core to UCSF’s mission. We remain deeply concerned about the impact of this immigration policy on our faculty, students, trainees, and staff – and on their families.

We also are concerned with a policy change announced on March 3 that suspends premium or expedited processing services for H-1B visa applications beginning on April 3 for a period of up to six months. This announcement by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service will have an impact on academic employees and trainees requiring initial H-1B status during the six-month period.

In the wake of these announcements, the University of California and UCSF reaffirm our utmost commitment to safeguarding and supporting the rights of all members of our community, especially those directly affected by these most recent actions to restrict travel and access opportunities here at UCSF.

During these times of uncertainty, we want you to know that we continue to monitor and analyze the impact of these and other executive actions, such as efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. We are consulting and coordinating with the UC Office of the President and our...

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March 2, 2017
Administrative

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

Bay Area media outlets have carried stories this week covering more than three years of reported violations of the Title IX Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy between January 1, 2013 and April 6, 2016 at the ten campuses of the University of California. Of the 113 cases that were included in this systemwide release of records, 26 cases occurred at UCSF. The release of these records is the result of several California Public Records Act requests made last spring by media outlets.

As a university dedicated to equity and inclusion, we strive each day to foster a climate and culture based on our PRIDE values of professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence. This includes respect for consent with regard to sexual behavior.

Under the leadership of President Janet Napolitano, UC has recommitted to cultivating an environment in which all UC students, faculty, staff and trainees are free from harassment and discrimination and has implemented policies and procedures to drive much-needed change. I applaud and support this work.

I assure you that UCSF has taken actions to both raise awareness of sexual violence and sexual harassment as well as to protect and support every member of the UCSF community.

When a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment is filed, we commit to clarity, fairness and timeliness in our investigation. We also commit that remedies or disciplinary actions resulting from such investigations will be appropriate with respect to the seriousness of substantiated behavior.

At UCSF, we have several resources available:

  • ...
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February 27, 2017
Leadership

Dear Colleagues,

John Featherstone, MSc, PhD, has informed me of his intent to step down as dean of the School of Dentistry and as a UCSF faculty member at the end of December 2017. Dean Featherstone came to UCSF in 1995, and his accomplishments as a faculty member and dean have made a significant impact on research, dental care and the UCSF community.

During John’s tenure, the School of Dentistry has excelled in its mission across research, education and patient care. The School ranked No. 1 in 2015 among all schools of dentistry in funding from the National Institutes of Health for the 24th year, and, in 2012, the School received its full accreditation with no recommendations, which enabled it to run its nationally renowned programs without interruption. His work to expand scholarship programs at the School and to create an Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion position have allowed recruitment of underrepresented minorities who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend UCSF.

Just last month, John announced a significant milestone for the school – the launch of the UCSF Dental Center, which will improve integration among our dental clinics to enable collaborative care and efficiency for the entire dental clinical enterprise.

The impact of Dean Featherstone’s pioneering research extends beyond UCSF. John’s research over the last 43 years has covered several aspects on cariology – the study of tooth decay – and he was one of the researchers who developed Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA), which emphasizes prevention and risk assessment rather than surgical procedures. Since helping to develop the approach in the early 2000s, John has...

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