Shelton reports that Espy brought in a 13% increase in UO research grants

9/21/2014 update: That may even have been more than the latest increase in the athletics budget. The report from UO’s astonishingly well paid new VP for research Brad Shelton is here. Oregon State has a real-time dashboard showing their data, here. If anyone knows where the full UO report is please put the link in the comments, thanks.

5/20/2013 updated Updated: Beavers crush Ducks in Civil War for research money, with athletic spending number chart, and at the bottom, some salary and consulting payment info from Espy’s office.

Diane Dietz has the story and data on UO here. I got the OSU data from their very complete Research Office data page, here. Both are “Federal Flow Through” totals, which are the easiest to find directly comparable data. They include spending on outreach and instruction, but it’s mostly research money and the trends look similar no matter how you cut it. That’s the table on the left. The table on the right shows athletic department spending, from USAToday. (Official UO and OSU numbers for 2012.)


The five years since Interim Provost Jim Bean took over have been a self-inflicted disaster for UO research. First there was Bean’s silly “five big ideas” effort. No disrespect to those who participated – but look at the funding sources data – that’s not where the money that might have kept UO in the AAU was to be found.

Then there was the large and continued diversion of funds from UO’s core academic mission to things like UO-Portland. Sure we need a presence there, but have you seen how expensive, and empty, the White Stag building is? Remember the Old Town sign? Like Bend, this all probably started before Bean – but why didn’t he have the guts, or the brains, to reign in Frohnmayer and Moseley?

Then there’s the millions UO has taken from the academic side to spend on sports. $1.83 million a year for athlete-only tutoring – straight out of the Provost’s budget. $467,000 a year to the athletic department for Mac Court – for the next 30 years. Millions of subverted overhead funds. Why didn’t you just say no, Jim?

On top of this all is the developing disaster that is Bean’s hire as VP for Research, Kimberly Espy.  He got her straight from Nebraska – just after they got kicked out of the AAU. WTF? People ask me to try and keep track of how many PI’s Espy has chased off campus so far, and how many searches she’s blown. Sorry, I don’t have the time, gotta write a grant proposal. But the comments are open. 12/29/2012.

Update – partial salary list from Espy’s office:

Kimberly Espy gets $295K. For comparison, we paid Rich Linton $185K.
Patrick Phillips gets $168K at 0.5 FTE

Patrick Jones gets $165K
Chuck Williams gets $160K

Sandra Morgen gets $150K

Beth Stormshak gets $140K at 0.5 FTE plus $15K
Moira Kiltie gets $93K
Matt Hutter gets $95K
Analinda Camacho gets $95K

The 0.5 FTE are typically also 0.5FTE as faculty, that part at lower pay. Full staff list here. Top this off with continuing contracts with Huron and who knows who else. From an earlier post:

And a commenter points us to this RFP that UO put out in December, ago, for a consulting firm to do what Espy and her new hires are supposed to do. In FY 2011 the VPR’s Office Admin budget had $437,430 for admin salaries. For FY 2013, Espy’s got $1,111,007 to spend. Full report here. The consultants are on top of that. As a commenter notes:

Look at Acct code 20000 – Service and Supplies. That’s Espy’s black hole of consulting:
2011 $2,164,191
2012 $4,546,478
2013 $5,154,632

I’m guessing Oregon State pays Rick Spinrad $220K or so to manage a considerably larger and more complicated research portfolio: (E.g. Small boat and diving safety officer!) I’m also guessing it doesn’t take more than two months to get a simple IRB renewal at Oregon State.

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8 Responses to Shelton reports that Espy brought in a 13% increase in UO research grants

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Espy brought in more? That doesn’t sound quite right. Isn’t it faculty who bring in the research dough?

  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    But really — if you compare the beginning and end periods, 2008 – 2012, UO research funding is almost flat — a slight decrease — a decrease of about 10% if you factor in inflation — not good, not good.

    Whilst our “rival” OSU has had a significant jump — though it must be said, a significant dip since its peak.

    Not good for the “flagship”!

  3. Anonymous says:

    NPR recently put up an excellent web tool showing inflation-adjusted NIH funding by institution since 2000. Our 2014 numbers aren’t posted, but it shows that 2013 was just slightly down from a generally flat long-run trend (excepting the stimulus bump). OSU seems to have been decreasing in recent years.

  4. anon says:

    The VPRI has “discounted” the indirects return to Institutes and departments by ~5% because of decreasing research monies (indirects are based on the prior year, and if research activity is decreasing then the indirect return should be reduced to fund the following year at the appropriate level, according to them). So, will the discount go away, or will the VPRI now throw in a little extra since research activities are higher than the return from the previous year?

  5. Team player says:

    The exec leadership drew straws and it’s Brad’s turn to cash in.

  6. anon says:

    It is interesting that the 2014 annual report references Suprasensor as a new start-up company. Suprasensor was highlighted in the 2013 annual report as well ( Have there been no new companies? Looks like royalties have dropped from $7M to $6M as well.

  7. Less naive says:

    Folks, everybody who understands research knows that it takes time to see the full extent of the damage caused by disastrous administrators like Kimberly Espy. The drop in faculty quality because of failed retentions and recruitments and the drop in productivity of the excellent people still here will all take their toll over the course of several years. The Prevention of Science Insitutue will continue to reap rewards like all admin pet projects, despite the director who should never have been appointed and despite the entirely mediocre research record of its leaders, but overall scientific impact will continue to decline.

    Let’s revisit this issue when UO get kicked out of the AAU.

    In the meantime, roosters should stop congratulating themselves about the sun.