Research Leaders Program

Developing Nebraska’s Next Generation of Research Leaders

The Research Leaders Program is a new initiative to identify and develop the next generation of research leaders among the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It is sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development and delivered in partnership with the Center for Professional and Executive Development in the College of Business. Up to 15 faculty will be selected to participate in the program annually through a campus-wide nomination and application process.

The Research Leaders Program encouraged me to take a birds-eye view of my career, my goals and my research. … I was able to engage with my peers … and they helped me to focus in on identifying my priorities.

Maital Neta, Psychology, CAS

The RLP provided resources, a cohort of like-minded faculty, and a space to develop a vision for my research that connects short terms deliverables to medium-term objectives to long-term aspirations.

Adam Houston, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, CAS

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the Research Leaders Program is to propel emerging research leaders – those individuals with the interest, vision and motivation – to take their research programs to a higher and more collaborative level. The program will provide research-active faculty with the information, skills and connections they need to assemble and lead large-scale teams in the pursuit of major extramural funding.

The objectives of the Research Leaders Program are for participants to:


Research Leaders Program content will focus on the fundamentals of management and cutting-edge topics that high-impact research leaders need to know, including: strategic leadership, goal setting, team science, diversity and inclusion and design thinking. Sessions will rely heavily on experiential learning and participant engagement.

The development of a personal research growth plan is a key element of the program. Participants will be coached on a one-on-one basis to develop an execution plan aimed at strengthening and elevating their research activities.

A major benefit of the Research Leaders Program, in addition to learning new skills, is the networking that will be available to participants. These interactions may yield new opportunities and collaborative connections.

The RLP put me in the same room with a group of prominent researchers from other disciplines. It is eye-opening to listen to the stories about their research programs, their successes and challenges they have faced. The program taught us several very practical tools so we could assess and better understand our own strengths in personality, leadership, and management.

Yufeng Ge, Biological Systems Engineering, IANR

This program helped me to develop a long-term vision for my research, consistent with UNL’s Grand Challenges, that will help propel my program of research to a new level that I am hopeful will lead to far-reaching global impact.

Katie Edwards, Educational Psychology, CEHS


Participants must commit one day per month to the Research Leaders Program, which will run from September through February. They also must set aside one half day in March and another in April to finalize and present their research growth plans to their colleagues and UNL’s senior leaders.



Faculty eligible to apply for the Research Leaders Program include:


UNL faculty and administrators are invited to nominate eligible faculty for the Research Leaders Program. Nominators must submit the faculty member’s name, title and a brief description (150-word maximum) of why the nominee is positioned to emerge as a UNL research leader.

Nominations for the 2024-2025 Research Leaders Program are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Once a nomination for an eligible faculty member is received, they will be contacted by the Office of Research and Economic Development and encouraged to submit a brief application.

See more details or submit a Research Leaders Program nomination.


Faculty are invited to apply for the Research Leaders Program, and they may do so directly. Nomination is not a prerequisite for submitting an application.

Applications for the 2024-25 Research Leaders Program are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2024. Applicants must submit their contact information; a short statement of interest, vision and readiness; and a copy of their full curriculum vitae or resume (including complete publication and external funding records).

See more details or submit a Research Leaders Program application.

Review Criteria and Selection Process

Applications will be co-reviewed by senior leaders from the Office of Research and Economic Development and the applicants’ academic units. The Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development will make the final selection in July. Application review criteria include:

Prior Participants

Faculty who participated in prior cohorts of the Research Leaders Program are listed in the directory.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the Research Leaders Program, contact Heather Borck, research development program coordinator.