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July 25, 2013

News Briefs

New Online System Created for Research Conflict of Interest Disclosures

A new online system, SPARCS COI, became available to CMU researchers on July 15.  A team involving many campus affiliates created this secure system to comply with Conflict of Interest regulatory requirements and meet the needs of CMU’s research community. 

During the rollout of SPARCS COI, anyone who has Public Health Service (PHS) funding or expects to seek such funding in the next year is asked to complete an Annual Disclosure in SPARCS. This initial disclosure of significant financial interests must be completed between July 15 and Aug. 23.    

Researchers that have already submitted an annual disclosure using a paper form, will still need to create a new online disclosure during this six-week window. Paper forms are being phased out over time. 

The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) is holding a series of workshops to provide assistance with SPARCS COI.  Registration for training ( is not required but is preferred. Researchers can complete their annual disclosures during a training session.  Please bring the financial information necessary to do this.

All training sessions will be held in Cyert Hall’s first-floor cluster in room 100-D. Dates and times are as follows:

  • Monday, July 29: 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 1: 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 8: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – Noon, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 19: 11 a.m. – Noon, 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20: 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 22: 10 – 11 a.m., 3 – 4 p.m.

For more information as well as guidance, please visit:

Abandoned Bicycles To Be Removed Today

University Police and Housing Facilities Management Services will be removing abandoned bicycles from the bicycle racks at all academic and administration buildings on the Pittsburgh campus today (Thursday, July 25). University Police have identified and tagged the abandoned bikes to be removed.
Abandoned bikes are those that are in poor condition from not being used. Bikes in poor condition are identified by features that include two flat tires, missing major parts, frozen brakes and rusted chains that make the bike unusable.
Tagged bikes, bike parts and locks will be removed. Those that are deemed to be operational will be stored on campus for six months. Owners seeking to claim their bikes should contact University Police at 412-268-2323. Non-operational bikes and bike parts will be donated to Free Ride,

Hamburg Hall Parking Lot To Close Aug. 3-4

The parking lot behind Hamburg Hall will be closed Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3-4. Hamburg project contractors are doing the final phase of demolition and need to use the lot for multiple dumpsters. If you have any questions please contact Jan Held at 412-268-1838 or

CFA South Entrance Being Restored

Masonry restoration at the College of Fine Arts South Entrance nearest the Peace Garden is scheduled to continue through Aug. 14. Work includes replacing the sandstone pavers at each landing, resetting the granite stairs, minor brick pointing and resealing all joints. The entrance will be closed at certain stages of construction for the paver replacement but will remain open for emergency access if needed. If you have any questions please contact Kyle Tomer at 412-268-6332 or

Old Faculty Course Evaluation Website To Be Retired

Effective July 31, Computing Services will be retiring a Faculty Course Evaluation (FCE) website ( containing electronic results from fall 2004 through summer 2007 due to the decreasing viability of its hardware platform.

Data from fall 2004 through summer 2007 is being migrated into the registrar’s current FCE application, however, the migrated FCE data will not have the rich, detailed results and will not have the multi-functionality like the retiring website. The converted data will only include mean scores and comments excluding percentages or demographic data.

Before the July 31 deadline, the registrar’s office suggests accessing the retiring FCE website to retrieve results for your files, if you do not already have a set. Results can be exported rather easily in Excel format. 

FCE data from Fall 2007 to the present will remain unaffected at

Silicon Valley Campus Startup Raises $2.4M in Seed Funding

Apportable, one of several startup companies that began at Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley campus, is making headlines with its latest projects and future plans. Specializing in translating mobile apps written for Apple's iOS platform to the Android platform, Apportable, founded by Assistant Research Professor Collin Jackson, recently announced it had raised $2.4 million in seed funding to boost products and services.

Funding was led by Google Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of Google Inc, which develops Android. News of the investment — and a high profile app launch for music icon Björk — earned Apportable a writeup in the Wall Street Journal on July 17. Read more about Apportable.

Hunt Institute Exhibit To Feature 41 International Artists

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation will present its "14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration" Sept. 27 – Dec. 19. The exhibition will include 41 artworks by 41 artists from 10 countries. The institute established the international series in 1964 with the hope of supporting and encouraging contemporary botanical artists. Every three years, the international series features the works of talented botanical artists from around the world. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday; and 1 – 4 p.m., Sunday (except Nov. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 1). The exhibit also will open on Saturday, Sept. 28 during Cèilidh Weekend. Read more.

CTTEC To Provide Seminars on Implications of America Invents Act

The America Invents Act (AIA) was passed and signed into law in September 2011, and the central provisions went into effect on March 16, 2013, creating the largest patent reform in United States history.  One notable change in the U.S. is the switch from a first-to-invent (FTI) system, in which rights to a patent are granted to the inventor able to prove that he or she is the first inventor, to a first-inventor-to-file (FITF) system in which patent rights are granted to the first inventor to file.  Although this change will synchronize the United States patent system with the rest of the world, it, and others introduced in the AIA, will have implications for disclosure and patent strategy going forward.

CMU’s Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) and the expert attorneys it works with will host interactive seminars and information sessions on this topic. Come learn what the AIA means for you and your research.

Information sessions will be held:

  • July 25, 1 p.m. with Chip Dougherty and John Thomas from Beck & Thomas, P.C in Gates Hillman 6115;
  • July 26, 10 a.m. with Dave Oberdick from Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP in Newell Simon Hall 1507; and
  • July 30, 2 p.m. with Ray Miller from Pepper Hamilton LLP in Hamburg Hall 1002. 

Questions should be directed to the CTTEC at 412-268-7393.

Alumni Award Nominations Open

The Alumni Association is accepting nominations in the Achievement and Service categories through Sunday, Sept. 1 for the 2014 Alumni Awards. Each year, the Alumni Association honors alumni, students and faculty who have given outstanding service to the university, and alumni who have achieved exceptional success in their chosen professions. 
A nomination form, list of previous award recipients and descriptions of the award categories can be found at All nomination forms should be submitted with the nominee's resume/vitae and at least two letters of support. For more information, contact Yulia Zhukoff at 412-268-7048 or