The Office of the Vice President for Research has embarked on a strategic planning process that will drive increased focus, alignment and excellence for the University of Minnesota’s research mission over the next five years and beyond.
This will be a highly collaborative process that will engage a broad community of our internal and external stakeholders to gain important insights into administrative and academic programs involved with research. Over the next few months, university faculty, staff and students will be asked to participate through a range of surveys, focus groups and interviews. Input from the university community will play a critical role in helping us to develop and lead a transformative research agenda.
OVPR’s strategic plan will be aligned with and support the university’s key initiatives and will be done in close cooperation with the President’s office and its strategic planning process, which will get underway this fall.
As we undertake this process, we are aware of the challenges we face. Federal R&D funding is set to stagnate in the next decade and steep declines in support for research programs are projected due to sequestration. And while the U has undertaken several promising initiatives, our decentralized systems can hinder our ability to work effectively together toward meaningful change. We recognize that our funding and organizational challenges must be addressed as part of our plan.
And yet, over the next five years, we also see tremendous potential to refine and transform our research enterprise in a way that will create opportunities for faculty, staff, students and external partners to come together to address the most crucial issues that can have a profound impact on society. To that end, we have identified four emerging strategic priorities to chart our course going forward:
Enhance research excellence by investing in research infrastructure and faculty and educating our students for the industries of tomorrow.
Accelerate the transfer of knowledge by creating opportunities for public/private partnerships that move information out of the ivory tower and into our communities where it can do the most good.
Advance transdisciplinary partnerships by encouraging collaboration between researchers and among disciplines to derive new concepts and approaches and enable new ways of understanding.
Promote a culture of serendipity where researchers can come together across departments, colleges and disciplines—and with colleagues and communities outside the university—to think creatively and cultivate new ideas.
Vice President for Research Brian Herman will be speaking at a Campus Conversations event, where he will provide faculty, students and staff with an overview of the strategic planning process and emerging strategic priorities and invite participants to share ideas about how we can work together to advance the U of M’s research goals.
Portions of this post are excerpted from the Strategic Prologue, a document developed by OVPR staff that provides an overview of the strategic planning process.