Coping with bleak budgets view from a vice president for research
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Coping with Bleak Budgets: View From a Vice President for Research. Kelvin K. Droegemeier Vice President for Research University of Oklahoma AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy April 26-27, 2012. My Role as VP for Research.

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Coping with Bleak Budgets: View From a Vice President for Research

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Coping with bleak budgets view from a vice president for research

Coping with Bleak Budgets: View From a Vice President for Research

Kelvin K. Droegemeier

Vice President for Research

University of Oklahoma

AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy

April 26-27, 2012


My role as vp for research

My Role as VP for Research

  • Assist faculty across all disciplines within a comprehensive research university in achieving their scholarly goals and dreams

    • Help locate and create opportunity

    • Help build collaborations internally and externally

    • Help define research program trajectories and prepare competitive proposals

    • Provide financial and other resources

    • Create incentives and rewards

    • Promulgate useful policies and reduce administrative burden

    • Ensure tight integration of instruction and research

    • Shine a bright light on achievement

    • Recruit and retain the best faculty and students – to continue the cycle


Define bleak

Define Bleak…


How to cope

How to Cope?

  • Although no silver bullets exist and the overall R&D pie is fixed in size, several important principles can be helpful to individual institutions in coping with budget realities

  • Some investment at all levels


How to cope1

How to Cope?

  • Focused strategic investment in areas of greatest strength


How to cope2

How to Cope?


How to cope3

How to Cope?

  • Fostering collaboration and leveraging(key is environment/culture)

    • NSF is a wonderful example (e.g., I-CORPS, OneNSF, INSPIRE, CREATIV)

    • Regional initiatives, university consortia (e.g., ORAU, SURA)

    • Intra-state collaboration (OneOklahoma)

    • Big projects (e.g., OSTP Grand Challenges) and centers

    • Engagement of the social/behavioral/economic sciences

  • Helping faculty see themselves as more than individual entrepreneurs – connected to a broader vision and multi-disciplinary campus enterprise


How to cope4

How to Cope?

  • Providing resources to help faculty develop their research programs and competitive grant proposals

    • Faculty do not automatically know how to do this!!

    • Universities have lots of resources for students – need to not forget faculty!

    • Alignments with national initiatives and priorities

  • Expanding R&D opportunity space; at OU, into…

    • Defense/security/intelligence (DSI)

    • Applied work via Center for Applied R&D (CARD)

  • Becoming involved in fixing key national policies (e.g., F&A recovery, cost sharing)


How to cope5

How to Cope?

  • Research in the classroom: Undergraduate Research and modern STEM pedagogy (engaged learning)

  • Incentives for achievement

    • Salary bonuses for awards/honors, large grants, prizes, performances, exhibits

    • Removal of constraints on internal seed funding

    • Larger pots of one-time internal seed funding (a little can go a long way)

  • De-investing in or shutting down facilities (seriously?)


How to cope6

How to Cope?

  • Building more (and more effective) linkages with industry

    • Key to innovation and wealth creation

    • Key to economic diversification in states

    • Important for workforce development

    • Universities weren’t structured to do this (philosophically or administratively) but are improving!

  • Challenge: Portraying/marketing institutional capabilities


Where do we go from here

Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Political support for research is VERY strong…

  • …but we have a serious budget crisis in this country

  • …and a serious challenge regarding the value proposition of higher education

  • We need to portray the real costs and real value of research and education

  • We can’t eat our seed corn: we must be more effectiveasan enterprise at telling our story but also realistic in our expectations

  • Research and innovation need to be an authentic partnership among academia, the Federal government and private industry

  • Earmarks likely to return but don’t count on them!

  • We can achieve more with less by working together


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