Q: I am part of a funded Triad from Round 1 or 2. Can I be part of the same Triads (same three faculty) in applying for Round 4 funding?
A: No. Although you are eligible as an individual to apply for Round 4 funding, only Triads which differ by at least one member from previously funded Triads may be eligible for funding.
Q: Will Round 4 provide graduate tuition funds?
A: No. Unfortunately, Round 4 will not be able to provide additional tuition funds. However, Triads may include tuition support for graduate students engaged in the project in their $30,000 award budget.
Q: I am part of a funded Triad in Round 3 of T3. Will I be provided a token to participate in Round 4?
A: No. Faculty who are part of funded Triads in Round 3 will not be eligible to use a token in Round 4. Note that faculty who were part of funded Triads in Round 1 and 2, WILL be eligible to use a token in Round 4.
Q: What is the responsibility of the project owner?
A: The project owner is the originator of the initial scope of a project. She/he is responsible for inviting others to join the project, submitting the required information when the Triad is formed, and once funded will have the project account under his/her department. Thereafter, all Triad members can work to fine tune the project and work as equals to accomplish its goals.
Q: What is T3?
A: T3 is a multidisciplinary seed-grant program that will provide funding (currently $30,000) to groups of three faculty members (Triads) to stimulate and support innovative research. Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University-Galveston faculty must be tenured or tenure-track and Texas A&M University-Qatar faculty must be on rolling contracts. Each faculty member is provided access to one (and only one) token which can be redeemed for $10,000 each once three faculty agree to work on a posted project. Projects must be new and must not be continuations of prior research. Created as part of the President’s Excellence Fund, T3 is administered by Texas A&M’s Division of Research (DOR).
Q: What is a Triad?
A: A Triad is a group of three faculty investigators who have committed to a project posted by one of them and satisfy three requirements: a) all three faculty members are either tenured or tenure-track (or for Texas A&M-Qatar, are on rolling contracts); b) at least two colleges are represented in the Triad. Although not a requirement, preference will be given to Triads which include at least one assistant professor. At least 50% of funded Triads will include an assistant professor. Once a triad is formed, the investigators cannot be changed and their three tokens are committed to the project.
Q: What is an eligible investigator?
A: An eligible investigator is a Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Galveston tenured or tenure-track faculty member and Texas A&M-Qatar faculty member on a rolling contract. For the purpose of forming Triads which require faculty members from at least two colleges, Texas A&M-Galveston and Texas A&M-Qatar count as separate colleges.
Q: I’ve published several papers with two other investigators. We now want to form a Triad. Will that be allowed?
A: Yes, as long as the project is new, innovative research.
Q: I have a grant with one investigator and a different grant with a second investigator. I want to form a triad with these two people on a totally new research project. Can I do that?
A: Yes. The restriction is that the three investigators cannot be working on a project together that already has external funding on the same topic.
Q: Are faculty with 100 percent administrative appointments eligible to participate?
A: Yes, all Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Galveston tenured and tenure-track faculty and Texas A&M-Qatar faculty on rolling contracts are eligible.
Q: How many tokens will I receive?
A: Each eligible investigator will receive one token and it will be associated with your primary college affiliation.
Q: Can I get additional tokens?
A: No, you can redeem only one token.
Q: I found an interesting project that I want to add my token to but I don’t have expertise in that area. Can I still join that project?
A: Yes, as long as the owner of the project invites you to join, you can join the project.
Q: Can I put my token on more than one project?
A: No, you can only place your token on one project.
Q: How many projects can I create?
A: Investigators can create as many projects as they want. However, each investigator can only participate in one Triad (only one token per investigator).
Q: Can I put my token on a project that I did not create?
A: To join a project that you did not create, you must be invited by the project creator to place your token on that project.
Q: I recently began working with two other investigators and a graduate student on a project. We have received a small amount of internal money but the project is still not sufficiently advanced to publish results or submit an external proposal. Can I form a Triad for this project?
A: Yes, as long as the work is new for the three investigators and you are not currently on an external grant together.
Forming a Triad
Q: How do I form a Triad for my project?
A: Once you have created a project description on the website and have two additional investigators that have joined your project, you are ready to form a Triad. There will be instructions on the website that will guide you through the process. Note that you can only form a Triad when the website is in the "forming a triad" phase.
Q: When I form the Triad, how much money will I receive?
A: A triad is worth $30,000.
Q: Will my project need to be scientifically reviewed before it will be funded?
A: No, this is one of the unique aspects of the program. Essentially, by the three investigators reviewing the project and agreeing to use their one token on the project, they have performed the peer review through their actions. There will be administrative checks to make sure that the requirements of the program are being met, but there will not be a scholarly review of the projects themselves prior to funding.
Q: How are Triads chosen for funding?
A: It is likely that there will be more Triads formed than funds available. A semi-random approach will be used to decide which Triads will receive funding, which will include a bias toward Triads which include assistant professors.
Q: What is a semi-random approach?
A: A semi-random approach to choosing Triads to be funded, randomly orders the list of all eligible Triads (initially only those including an assistant professor) and chooses the Triad at the top of the list for funding. The next Triad down the list is funded if the colleges represented in it do not yet have a funded Triad. The process continues down the list until 50 percent of all tokens (50 out of the hundred available) are exhausted. The process then repeats with all remaining triads included, including those which do not include an assistant professor.
Q: What is the rationale of a semi-random drawing?
A: The goal of this process is to ensure that all participating units (schools, colleges) in T3 have representation in the Triads before shifting to a completely random lottery system.
Q: Why is there no traditional peer-review of the projects?
A: Essentially, by the three investigators reviewing the project and agreeing to use their one token on the project, they have performed the peer review through their actions.
Q: Why are research titles not included?
A: Including all research titles will more than double the number of eligible researchers. This creates several practical issues, including a significantly lower probability of getting selected for funding, which will make the T3 program less attractive. The larger, X-Grants program, which makes available $7M is available to all research titles.
Q: Will someone look over these projects to prevent ‘crazy’ projects from being funded?
A: There will be administrative checks to make sure that the requirements of the program are being met, but there will not be a scholarly review of the projects themselves prior to funding.
Q: How does a faculty member receive a token in the T3 system?
A: Strictly speaking, no one receives a physical token. However, all tenured/tenure-track Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Galveston faculty members and Texas A&M-Qatar faculty members on rolling contracts will be eligible.
Q: What is a token worth?
A: Tokens are worth $10,000.
Q: Where is the Triad funding housed?
A: The faculty member who posts a project on the T3 website and invites two other collaborators to join will function as the “project owner,” and the funds will be housed in his/her home unit.
Restrictions on Spending
Q: What are the overall spending rules for Triad funding?
A: No investigator salaries are allowed. Graduate student stipend funds included in the budget must be used as such.
Q: I have an idea for an interesting project. Instead of using graduate students or postdocs, the three faculty members want to pay part of our salaries instead. Is this okay?
A: No. While it is true that some of these projects could be completed without the use of students and postdocs, this program does not support that type of arrangement. Faculty/investigator salaries of any kind are not allowable expenses.
Q: I need to buy a small piece of equipment (less than $10,000) for the project. Is that an allowable expense?
Patents and Intellectual Property
Q: Am I able to share and disclose materials, research tools, or intellectual property with others to further their research as part of a research collaboration?
A: Yes. However, it is important to document items that are to be shared with others and the conditions of use. It may be necessary to have a Confidentiality Agreement completed to protect your research results or intellectual property. In order to obtain help for a Confidentiality Agreement, if you are sharing information for (a) a sponsored project (contact Sponsored Research Services); or (b) for purposes related to tech transfer (contact the Office of Technology Translation).
Q: Am I able to publish or disclose to others outside of the University the results of my research and still protect the commercial value of my intellectual property?
A: Yes, but since patent rights are affected by these activities, it is best to submit an Invention Disclosure to Texas A&M Technology Commercialization (TTC) well before communicating or disclosing your invention to people outside the Texas A&M community. There are significant differences between the U.S. and other countries as to how early publication affects a potential patent. Once publicly disclosed (published or presented in some form), an invention may have a restricted or minimal potential for patent protection outside of the United States. Be sure to inform the licensing specialist assigned to you by TTC of any imminent or prior presentation, lecture, poster, abstract, website description, research proposal submission, dissertation/master’s thesis, publication, or other public presentation describing the invention. If you have not worked with a licensing specialist before, you can email the executive director of TTC, Mr. Brett Cornwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.