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Research Leaders Program seeks applications

Research and Economic Development

Monica Norby, April 22, 2020

Research Leaders Program seeks applications

Aimed at developing the next generation of research leaders at Nebraska, the new Research Leaders Program will be among the first of its kind in the nation. The Office of Research and Economic Development is now taking nominations and applications for the program’s first cohort. 

“From its earliest days, UNL has produced many notable giants in research, scholarship and creative activity,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “With the Research Leaders Program, ORED is doubling down on the university’s future by identifying and developing the next generation of faculty research leaders. This is essential to help us meet our N150 goal of research expenditures approaching $450 million by 2025.”

UNL hit record-breaking research funding levels in fiscal year 2019, reaching $317 million in research expenditures, an increase of 26% in the last decade. This impressive growth has been driven in large part by faculty leaders with big ideas, track records of securing external funding and the drive to compete for large-scale, collaborative grants.

“We must be continually innovating and finding new ways to support the faculty who will lead these efforts,” Green said. “This is one of the few university-based programs we know of aimed at leadership development for research.”

University administrators are urged to nominate colleagues for the 2020-2021 program by 5 p.m. May 8. Eligible faculty also may apply directly. Nomination is not a prerequisite for submitting an application. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 18, and selections will be announced mid-June. Full details are available on the program website.

Sponsored by ORED and delivered in partnership with the Center for Professional and Executive Development in the College of Business, the primary objective of the Research Leaders Program is to propel emerging leaders to take their research programs to a higher and more collaborative level.

“The plan for the Research Leaders Program was already forming when I arrived at UNL,” said Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development. This is the right time to make it happen, he said, as it addresses a key aim of the N2025 strategic plan: to create a culture on campus that is committed to increasing the impact of research and creative activity. 

“This program will help increase our research expenditures, and it also will enable faculty participants to personally grow to a new level,” Wilhelm said. “ORED is a committed partner in the faculty’s journey toward scholarly success and impact.”

Participating faculty will have an opportunity to make a greater contribution in their individual areas of expertise and at the university. They also will reflect on their professional motivations and leadership potential, develop a better understanding of how to work with and trust others who play a role in the academic research ecosystem and network with new colleagues, Wilhelm said. 

The Research Leaders Program will provide selected faculty with the information, skills and connections they need to assemble and lead large collaborative teams and pursue major extramural funding. Each year, up to 15 faculty will be selected to participate in the program through a campus-wide nomination and application process. Applicants must be tenure-track or research associate professors in or beyond their second year at the associate level or tenure-track or research full professors.

“Our research at IANR makes up nearly half of UNL’s research expenditures extending across many disciplines, Nebraska and the world,” said Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and University of Nebraska vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “This program will provide an opportunity for our most productive and amazing faculty scholars to hone their leadership skills to more effectively nurture the success of others and maximize UNL’s impact on our growing world.”

Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Spiller said the Research Leaders Program is an ideal complement to the programs focused on academic leadership and executive training offered through the EVC office.

“It is essential that our faculty have opportunities to realize their professional aspirations across all our mission areas. The Research Leaders Program, which will complement UNL’s existing professional development initiatives, will help faculty members both expand their individual research opportunities and also advance their development as national and global leaders within their fields,” Spiller said. “With this program UNL pioneers leadership training that supports the core commitments of our land grant heritage.”

For more information, visit the website or contact Nathan Meier, assistant vice chancellor for research.


Research and Economic Development