Research News
Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | Jan. 2012


We need faculty feedback on growth initiative

We need faculty feedback on growth initiative
Prem S. Paul

UNL is embarking on an ambitious growth initiative that will literally shape our university's future.

Our overall goal remains the same – the strong commitment to excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity envisioned in the report of the Future Nebraska Task Force, "A 2020 Vision: The Future of Research and Graduate Education at UNL."

In his 2011 State of the University Address, Chancellor Harvey Perlman challenged us with these goals:

  • to enhance the quality of research and increase total research expenditures to $300 million;
  • to increase the academic stature and double the number of faculty receiving prestigious national awards; and
  • to increase the number of faculty working with the private sector translating research into innovations and job creation.

We also are committed to the research growth metrics set by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, which call for UNL to increase research awards from federal agencies at a rate 20 percent higher per year than the national average, on a three-year rolling average.

While these goals may sound daunting, I am confident that – with our faculty’s vision and hard work and a campuswide commitment to working together – we can achieve them to change the face of research in Nebraska.

What we need now are your ideas about how to accomplish this.

We are developing the Research and Economic Development Growth Initiative, a five-year research plan that will guide our efforts.

We have a draft plan but it definitely is a work in progress. We need your feedback. We are hosting two open faculty forums: Feb. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Nebraska East Union Cottonwood Room and Feb. 9 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. The Nebraska Union forum will be webcast.

At these forums, we will share information about our research and economic development goals and seek your input on strategies, approaches and barriers to achieving our goals. We also want to hear your thoughts on how we can improve this initiative to strengthen faculty research success.

We are listening. We need your advice and want you engaged in envisioning how best to meet our goals. This is an important step in laying the foundation for a strong future.

I urge all our faculty to participate in this important discussion.

Two other quick notes:

  • We are launching a new internal funding competition to enhance the competitiveness of interdisciplinary research teams at UNL. You can read more about the Pathways to Interdisciplinary Research Centers Collaborative Grant Program elsewhere in this newsletter. This is part of our commitment to encouraging and supporting large collaborative research projects at UNL.
  • I want to congratulate our faculty on a recent big win: a $25 million grant, our largest ever from USDA. UNL will lead researchers from 11 institutions in collaborative research to reduce the risk of E. coli in the beef production chain. My thanks to all the UNL faculty who are working on this project. Special thanks to our project leaders from UNL: veterinary scientists Jim Keen and Rod Moxley, and food scientist Harshavardhan "Reddi" Thippareddi. Bravo! 

    This is precisely the sort of large, interdisciplinary research project that enables us to expand our research to meet our goals and, most importantly, to better serve our state and nation.

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