The Muse: Catalysts and Additives

Catalysts:

Last academic year the OVPR in partnership with the College leadership (Deans and Research Associate Deans) invested in interdisciplinary teams to pursue big bet areas of research. This new initiative currently engaged campus in an open dialogue and proposal process resulting in over 150 faculty in all 8 colleges and multiple departments pursuing thematic research interests that cover our land grant mission areas and push the envelope of team formation, execution and outputs. While the initiative is in its formative stages, the early progress is very encouraging.

The catalyst initiative is also intended to marry reforms in research administrative infrastructure that OVPR and the colleges can provide to interdisciplinary interests on campus. Our intent is to invest in this approach over a multiyear period and evaluate the outcomes against accepted metrics and impact against mission goals. These include the synchrony with scholarly and training activities especially in graduate education. The teams have also been provided seminars in communicating science, business models of operation, teaming, and project management. The rate of catalytic teaming is difficult to predict. We set the program at 2 years with the intent to nominate and select teams every two years. This would allow more time for team formation and identification of team proposals.

Additives:

The majority of our proposals are still single investigator and we will continue to support this important component of our faculty research interests. We will also incentivize those who wish to seek new partners across disciplines or departments with support. We will soon release a request for proposals that outlines this opportunity to be additive in our thinking and research practice. Special consideration will be given to graduate research in this program. This is timely given the upcoming renewal of the Program for Research and Scholarly Excellence (PRSE) this academic year. We welcome your inputs of this program as we consider reforms to optimize its impact.

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