120-day study examines WSU research enterprise

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

Bernardo,-left,-and-KeanePULLMAN, Wash. – Christopher Keane, vice president for research, has launched a 120-day study aimed at strengthening Washington State University’s research, scholarship and creativity. Four subcommittees will present preliminary results in early October.

The university community’s input is welcome via the Office of Research website at http://officeofresearch.wsu.edu/120Day/.

The effort grows out of the new strategic plan’s call for Keane’s office to “identify areas of research excellence and emerging areas requiring additional investment to achieve national and international prominence.”

Measuring progress, guiding the future

The study clock started running Sept. 16 with a CUB kickoff attended by nearly 100 WSU faculty, administrators and staff.

Kickoff at the CUB.

The effort will “be a critical next step to advancing WSU’s research enterprise and doctoral training enterprise,” said Dan Bernardo, provost and executive vice president, who co-chairs the study with Keane. Bernardo conveyed President Elson Floyd’s support for the study and his request that it provide “specific recommendations for strengthening research dollars and creative activity, metrics for monitoring progress and identification of priorities to guide future investments.”

“This is an exciting time for research, scholarship and creativity at WSU,” said Keane. “Working together, we can define and realize research opportunities that will strengthen WSU, the state of Washington and our nation.”

He emphasized the need to identify “grand challenges” that are well matched to the university’s current and emerging strengths.

Draft report due in January

The four subcommittees of faculty and staff, and their co-chairs, are:
 Research infrastructure: Sue Clark, chemistry, and Steve Simasko, integrative physiology and neuroscience
 Research themes: Don Bender, composite materials and engineering, and Tom Spencer, animal sciences
 Faculty/student engagement and productivity: Rebecca Craft, psychology, and Jonathan Jones, molecular biosciences
 Outreach, engagement and economic development: Sita Pappu, Office of Commercialization, and Juming Tang, biological systems engineering

A group of senior faculty and administrators are providing comments along the way.

A draft report is due Jan. 15. Subcommittees have started fine-tuning their areas of focus and will be seeking data and other input from colleges and departments.