U to ask professors what they need for research

The next chapter in University research will not be written next week, but faculty and administrators will begin sketching an outline of what they want the next chapter to look like. To obtain that input, the Office of the Vice President for Research will be holding six listening sessions with faculty members between Oct. 14 and 22. The six-year plan is updated every two years to ensure that changing research needs are met and the University remains competitive, according to the Office of the Vice President for ResearchâÄôs website. The plan will help garner financial support and lay the groundwork for the inclusion of specific research needs in the UniversityâÄôs biennial budget request to the state. Peggy Sundermeyer , an executive director at the OVPR , said faculty opinion will be important in the process. âÄúFaculty drive research and we need to get their input,âÄù Sundermeyer said. âÄúFaculty should be able to see the next 10 years and be able to tell the administration what they will need to stay on the leading edge in their fields, or catch up to the leading edge.âÄù Two years ago, with a similar goal in mind, the OVPR selected faculty members for a task force charged with making research infrastructure recommendations. The core of their strategy was communication and coordination between departments to increase the scope of research and communication with administration to increase efficiency. Some of the specific problems they identified had already been recognized by the administration, such as the need for a University-wide group to assign research space s. The OVPR started work on such a group before the recommendations came in. Faculty had asked for more versatile spaces that could be used for collaboration . Sundermeyer said research space is tight, and recommendations need time to work their way into the six-year plan. Other recommendations were quick-fixes. Researchers wanted help writing grants incorporating research from different departments. Those who had successfully applied for these grants were quickly tapped to lead a seminar teaching others how to write effective inter-disciplinary grants . Christopher Cramer, associate professor of chemistry and a member of the last task force, said he is optimistic about the future because Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy is in touch with faculty and facilitates communication. âÄúThe University realizes that a top-down administration model doesnâÄôt work well for research,âÄù Cramer said. Of the upcoming listening sessions, he said, âÄúI would like to see the Super Computing Institute maintained as a high priority.âÄù