SMU Research

SMU Research

Newsletter May 2020

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies is physically closed during reduced operations status. However, all normal business operations are still in place during this time. Members of ORGS can be reached via email or phone. If you choose to call, please leave a voicemail and your call will be returned as soon as possible. All contact information can be found in the Office Directory.

Find the latest guidance for researchers during COVID-19 here.

$945 million of federal grants are available for research related to COVID-19. Do your part!

Human Subject Research

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS) and the SMU IRB understand that changes may need to be made to your IRB protocol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is some guidance:

  1. We strongly recommend that any in-person research visits be suspended temporarily.
  2. If you need to make immediate and temporary changes to your procedures in the interest of protecting the health of participants and / or researchers, please make the changes using your best judgement. Submit an amendment form detailing the changes within 5 business days, and be sure to document the changes in your study records as well. We will acknowledge the temporary changes in our records. Once normal operations have resumed, we will check back in with you to confirm that the original procedures are back in place.
  3. If you are able to submit a request for a temporary change in advance, please do so using an amendment form. We will do our best to get the request approved quickly.
  4. ORGS and the IRB are able to work remotely, and we intend to continue processing all submissions throughout the pandemic response.

Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure Reminder

Please remember that the Principal Investigator (PI) and all Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) must submit Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Disclosures upon project proposal.  In addition, FCOI Disclosures must be completed yearly by each PI and Co-PI for each sponsored project. Awarded funding, including new and incremental funding, will NOT be set up until the FCOI Disclosure has been completed by the project PI and all Co-PIs.  FCOI Disclosure can be completed here. Alternatively, you can fill out and submit this form to your GMS.

This is a great time to catch up on some training!

Faculty, staff, and students involved with certain types of research are required to complete compliance trainings. Most of these trainings require a refresher every 3 years, so if you haven't completed a training recently, you might be overdue! You can find details about the trainings and instructions for accessing the training system here. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Research Compliance!

Welcome new Grant Management Specialists

Welcome Nicole Babilya, Senior Grant Management Specialist. She joins SMU by way of UT Austin and UT Southwestern Medical Center, where she was involved in both departmental and central research administration. Nicole is a member of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and earned the designation of Certified Research Administrator (CRA) in 2010. She is happy to join SMU and looks forward to working with the research community.

It is also our pleasure to welcome Katie Wu as our new Grant Management Specialist. Prior to joining SMU, she worked at Northwestern University in research administration and financial accounting. She has a Master of Accounting and is passionate in budgeting and projections. She is also a candidate for the Certified Research Administrator (CRA) exam. She is very excited to join SMU and looking forward to working together to make a difference in the SMU community.

New NSF Formatting

Beginning June 1, 2020, The National Science Foundation (NSF) will require the use of NSF’s new fillable PDF for the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections for all NSF proposals.

NSF Career Application FAQs

New deadline date regardless of discipline is July 27, 2020 and on the fourth Monday of July, annually thereafter @ 5:00 pm submitter's local time. If you plan to apply contact your GMS.

New F&A and Fringe Rates

Effective June 1, 2020; Rates for Post-Doctoral Fellows will increase to 25%.

The Facilities and Administrative Rate for Fiscal Year 2023 will increase to 48.5%. Any new proposals with budget periods beyond June 1, 2022 will include the new rate.

Online invention disclosures

Did you know that now Faculty, Staff, and students who create a patentable IP can submit their Invention Disclosure Form electronically through our Intellectual Property Software Wellspring Sophia (Sophia)? Sophia is a secure, web-based database. This system allows our office to have the entire patent file consisting of internal and external communications in one system.

You can login at This should allow you to submit your invention disclosure and view all patent applications and any related agreements that list you as an inventor. Once you complete the online disclosure, our office will send an email to verify receipt.

We highly encourage you to submit your disclosure online for easier input, editing, and review. ORGS will review and process your invention disclosure per its normal procedures - but this format should allow for faster entry into our process.

Not only is this the first step in granting access to the evaluation of your invention but you will also have access to subsequent patent protection and prosecution proceedings. If you have any questions or need additional information please email Kimberly Jones- Ross, Director of Contracts and Technology Management at

COVID-19 Innovations?

Do you have an invention that will help fight this pandemic?

During these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a surge of new era urgent innovations created throughout world. COVID-19 has been a devastating impact on our industries, personal and social lives, but it has also incited an expression of creativity and innovation in other areas.

So if you have an innovation that will help with this COVID-19 pandemic, our office is here to assist you and getting your invention to the public for the greater need. Please email us at with your inventions or any questions that you may have, and we will help you to help those who need your help during these times.

If you are looking for funding to help fund your invention please see the link below for funding opportunities: