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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

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
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 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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