Hilton UF Conference Center | May 2, 2018 | Gainesville, FL

View photos of the event here.

NOTE: Presentation slides will be linked to session titles below as they are submitted by moderators.


8:00 - 8:30 a.m. | Registration

8:30 - 8:40 a.m. | Welcome

8:40 - 9:30 a.m. | Concurrent Session 1

9:40 - 10:30 a.m. | Concurrent Session 2

10:30 - 11:00 a.m. | Break

11:00 - 11:50 a.m. | Concurrent Session 3

12:00 - 1:30 p.m. | Luncheon and Keynote

1:40 - 2:30 p.m. | Plenary Session: Federal Funding

2:40 - 3:30 p.m. | Concurrent Session 4



Welcome to the inaugural UF/IFAS Research Forum hosted by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. We are pleased that you are joining us for a day of sessions that address topics relevant to research faculty of all stages. We hope that you learn something new that will help strengthen your programs and contribute to discussions by sharing your own experiences. We can learn much from each other, and this day is designed to help you make new connections within UF/IFAS.

We will begin the program by hearing from our Senior Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Jack Payne. As UF aspires to rise in the national rankings, research discoveries will fuel the climb to the top and strengthen our associated teaching and extension programs that contribute to UF’s land-grant mission. We welcome Dr. Norton as our keynote speaker to share his vision of UF’s research preeminence and the role of UF/IFAS faculty in that journey.

Finally, thanks to all who participated in the development of this program. We truly hope this is a valuable faculty-driven experience. After the forum, please take the time to provide feedback and ideas for future programs through the online evaluation that will be delivered via email.

– Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS Dean for Research, @JackieBurnsIFAS


SESSION 1 (8:40 - 9:30 a.m.)

International Programs

Learn about the best (and coolest) international projects in UF/IFAS. These case-studies will provide a good overview of what a successful and strong international program looks like. Also learn about support for UF/IFAS faculty engaging in research programs with international activities.

Moderator: Wagner Vendrame

  • Karen Garrett, CGIAR RTB Project (CGIAR – Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research; RTB – Root, Tubers and Banana)
  • Rose Koenig, AREA-USAID Haiti Project and International programs in general
  • Bob McCleery, South Africa and Swaziland; how to develop strong global programs

REEport Projects

The what, why, and how of land-grant university funding: Hatch, Hatch Multi-state, McIntire-Stennis, Animal Health and associated REEport Projects. Hear from the finance and business experts in the UF/IFAS Office of Research.

Moderator: Nancy Wilkinson

  • Presenter: Dana Holt
  • Discussant: Kat Carter-Finn

The Mechanics of Funding

Learn about types of agreements, the process (including deadlines), how to ensure compliance, best practices, and what projects are suitable for crowd-sourced funding.

Moderator: Benita Bannis

  • Sponsored research processes: Hear from Virni Mattson, Grant Specialist and 2017 Research Service Award recipient from the Dean for Research Office, and Ryan Chance, Grant Specialist, Shared Service Center
  • Crowd-sourced funding: Hear from Caylin Hilton, UF/IFAS Advancement, on how to establish accounts and Emilio Bruna, on support of student research

Applying for and Managing Large Multidisciplinary Grants

The session will discuss major points from “Leading Large Transdisciplinary Projects Addressing Social-Ecological Systems”, a book co-authored by directors of large integrated Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP) funded by USDA-NIFA that highlight the characteristics of successful projects. The presentation, by PINEMAP team leader Tim Martin, will be augmented with input from UF CAP team member Wendy-Lin Bartels. Sobha Jaishankar will have information on UF support for faculty submitting proposals for complex projects.

Moderator: John Davis


SESSION 2 (9:40 - 10:30 a.m.)

Successful Student Field Experiences: Courses and Research

A participatory panel discussion on enhancing student field experiences … without losing your cool.

Moderator: Shirley Baker

  • Erin Alvarez, Farm to table; Encouraging students to get their hands dirty
  • Rae Crandall, Removing the fear from field research
  • Joel McQuagge, Making the most of student travel experiences
  • Will Patterson, Practical considerations for student involvement in field-based marine research
  • Christina Romagosa, The importance of field-based learning experiences

Integration of Research and Teaching Program

Five faculty will describe how they integrate teaching and research, providing information on resources to support integration (most notably federal grant programs) and tips for successful projects.

Moderator: Kelly Grogan

  • Gilles Basset, NSF CAREER Awards
  • Adam Dale, Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE)
  • Lisa House, USDA education grants (i.e., HEC, MSP, NNF)
  • David Julian, X-Lab format for lab courses
  • Anne Mathews, USDA-NIFA ‘Get Fruved’ project

Engaging Clientele

This session will address questions on how to better engage with clientele and gain their valuable support. Three faculty members will share personal experiences as formal presentations followed by a panel discussion.

Moderator: Mathews Paret

  • David Wright, Engaging row-crop clientele through sod-based rotation program and Brassica carinata project: Success and key pointers for young faculty
  • Gary Vallad, Engaging stakeholders on tomato and other vegetable disease projects: Lessons learned and opportunities in building your research and extension program
  • Michael Dukes, Integration of research and extension in diverse clientele engagement

Developing and Maintaining a Research Lab

Hear tips and strategies from experienced faculty with successful forestry, agronomy and entomology labs. Q&A and a presentation from Environmental Health and Safety follow.

Moderators: Fredy Altpeter and Matt DiMaggio

  • Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski, Getting started: How to spend start-up funds wisely, key points to get your first grant, how to recruit the best students and post docs, how to stretch your money to avoid funding gaps
  • Valerie de Crecy-Lagard, Getting organized: Good record keeping (e.g., lab notebooks, best solutions to organize chemical inventory and strains), and how to handle large data sets
  • Gary Peter, Being creative and productive: How to approach MTA’s and IP development while maximizing publications
  • Karen Gillis, Staying in compliance: Overview of regulatory challenges (lab safety, bio safety, pesticide safety) and best ways to quickly absorb necessary information, and potential pitfalls


SESSION 3 (11:00 - 11:50 a.m.)

Recruiting/Hiring Research Staff

Having the right research staff is essential to the smooth functioning and productivity of an academic research lab, but knowing how to effectively search and hire great staff and moving through the hiring process can present unexpected difficulties. The goal of this session is to generate useful discussion with faculty and staff with significant experience recruiting and hiring research staff, including postdoctoral associates.

Moderator: Damian Adams

  • Jo Ann Davis, Nothing surprises me, I work in HR
  • Jiri Hulcr, Assembling a killer research team
  • Fredy Altpeter, Digging for diamonds


What are ways to bring my research to audiences? How can I better communicate my results? From blogs, to Twitter, to podcasts. Experiences of two UF/IFAS faculty and key insights from a faculty outside UF/IFAS will be shared as formal presentations followed by a panel discussion.

Moderator: Mathews Paret

  • Rob Gilbert, Effective approaches in communicating research through perspectives from interactions with the Florida and U.S. sugarcane industry and internationally
  • Jennifer Gillet-Kaufman, Promoting integrated pest management through social media platforms: Do’s and don’ts using Twitter, Facebook and others
  • Andy Selepak, MAMC Social Media, Social media and getting your research and discoveries noticed by the public

Coaching/Mentoring Students and Professionals

Faculty play a critical role in developing graduate students and post-doctoral scientists through quality mentorship. Learn about best practices for mentoring and resources available to help develop your trainees.

Moderator: Heather McAuslane

  • Heather McAuslane, Overview of mentoring, graduate student professional development and available resources
  • Dan Hahn, Mentoring post-doctoral scientists

Integration of Research and Extension in Federal Grants

How to remove the burden of justification and accountability through formal incorporation of project evaluation that also enhances the visibility of programs and supports the scholarship of Extension.

Moderator: Sherry Larkin

  • Keith Schneider, USDA grant case study: The tifaceted benefits of farming out evaluations
  • Amy Harder, Collecting and using evaluation analytics for impact statements and scholarly publications


Lunch (Noon - 1:30 p.m.)

Keynote Address


Plenary Session (1:40 - 2:30 p.m.)

Federal Funding

What makes a “winning proposal”? Panelists will comment on how to effectively structure proposals to “most effectively get the message across” to reviewers in key federal agencies followed by a Q&A session.

Moderator: Jackie Burns

Facilitators: John Davis and Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski

  • Robert Nowierski, USDA-NIFA, Florida’s Liaison
  • Gary Peter, Department of Energy grants
  • Wendy Graham, National Science Foundation grants
  • Jeff Bloomquist, National Institutes of Health grants


SESSION 4 (2:40 - 3:30 p.m.)

Enhancing Research through Engagement

The scholarship of engagement with students and the public that foster integration and cohesiveness of teaching, research and extension programs, and use of formal assessments to improve communication and documentation of effectiveness.

Moderator: Andrea Lucky

  • Lisa Taylor, How artists-in-residence in a science lab can enhance productivity, creativity, and broader impacts
  • Brantlee Richter, Building research into coursework to engage students, improve job skills, and prime the research pipeline
  • Andrea Lucky, Using Citizen science to address big (and small) questions

T&P Packet Development

Achieving tenure and promotion is a central concern for faculty, who are uncertain about the process. This panel session aims to generate an enlightened discussion with four faculty representing various career stages and levels of experience with the tenure and promotion process, including members of the UF/IFAS Committee and UF’s Academic Personnel Board.

Moderator: Damian Adams

  • PK Nair (Past APB member and Distinguished Professor)
  • Norm Leppla (Past APB member)
  • Charlie Staples (Past chair of the UF/IFAS T&P Committee)
  • Luke Flory (recently promoted faculty member)


How do I make the most of a sabbatical? What funding is available? What if I can’t leave Gainesville? How have sabbaticals helped faculty programs? Panel discussion with UF admin and faculty with diverse experiences.

Moderator: Lisa House

  • Angel Kwolek-Folland, Regulation that guides sabbaticals, and how to use an FEO
  • Karen Kainer, Impacts of our year in Mexico
  • Lisa House, Benefits of short vs. long, family vs. solo
  • Emilio Bruna, Simple rules for a successful stay-batical

Purchasing and Asset Management

Hear from the Chief Financial Officers’ office about the procurement process for all kinds of purchases including assets, and the restrictions or flexibility based on funding (state, federal, residuals etc.). Learn about getting and retiring property (assets).

Moderator: Sherry Larkin

  • Lisa Deal, Purchasing 101: Introduction to purchasing policy
  • Sherry Adams and Ryan Parris, How and why UF manages property

Thank You

Thank you for participating in the inaugural UF/IFAS Research Forum. We hope you found value in the sessions, and that you use the information provided to help advance your research programs, and in turn, the UF/IFAS mission. Please take the time to complete the follow-up survey that will be sent to your email within the next few days.

Invited Special Participants:

Robert Nowierski, National Program Leader, Division of Plant Systems-Protection, USDA-NIFA

Sobha Jaishankar, Assistant Vice President, Division of Research Program Development, UF Office of Research

Karen Gillis, Associate Director of Research Services, UF Environmental Health and Safety

Angel Kwolek-Folland, Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs, UF Office of the Provost

Ryan Parris, CPA, CGMA, Assistant Controller, UF Finance and Accounting

Sherry Adams, Accountant III, UF Finance and Accounting

Lisa Deal, Assistant Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, UF Procurement Services

Andrew Selepak, Director, M.A. in Mass Communication, UF College of Journalism and Communications

David Julian, Associate Professor, UF Department of Biology

Christine Overdevest, Associate Professor, UF Department of Sociology, Criminology & Law