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A Strategic Plan for Research, Creative and Scholarly Activity

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“A university should wish to feed the mental leaders of the next generation. For this nothing can take the place of contact with the living spirit of research, original work, creative authorship.” — GB Halsted, “Original Research and Creative Authorship the Essence of University Teaching,” Science, 1:203-207, 1895

A spirit of collaboration is key to the success of UND’s newly unveiled Strategic Plan for Research, Creative and Scholarly Activity. Over the next four pages, that plan is laid out, detailing the framework by which the University’s research enterprise is moving forward.

FIVE MAJOR STRATEGIC GOALS

I. Continue to build on areas of existing strengths in research, scholarly work, and creative activity.

A. Environment, natural resources, and energy

1. Continue to expand research on both energy and the environment and build on the natural opportunities that exist for related scholarly work in areas such as law, public policy, and rural sociology.
2. Continue to leverage resources to conduct leading edge research in such areas as biofuels, chemical feedstocks and materials, clean coal, and wind power.
3. Investigate the impact of climate change on people and life on the Northern Plains.
4. Further our understanding of factors affecting water quality and quantity and how to manage them.

B. Life Sciences

1. Build on existing excellence in delivering physical and mental health care to rural communities. Create a better understanding of behavioral factors that affect health and create new systems for delivery of

remote care.
2. Build on an established reputation in research on neurodegenerative diseases that afflict the elderly, a large demographic in North Dakota.
3. Build on an emerging strength in investigating how humans, plants and animals adapt to a changing environment.

C. Aerospace-related research

1. Be a national leader in work on Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which are a new frontier in aviation, building this area on the foundation of UND’s expertise in conventional aviation.
2. Develop innovative applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.
3. Develop novel remote sensing payloads and applications for RPAs.
4. Continue to expand understanding of human behavior and physiological factors that affect pilot success in both piloted and remotely piloted aviation systems.

D. Arts and Humanities

1. Utilize UND’s geographic location in the Northern Great Plains as a focus for the study of community, resources, culture, history, demography and economy by building upon our strengths in American Indian studies, distance-learning initiatives, linguistics and sociology of rural life.
2. Maximize opportunities that exist for research with North Dakota’s indigenous languages, arts, cultures and histories.
3. Take advantage of the opportunities for scholarly work that arise from such outstanding programs as the Writers Conference, the Institute for Philosophy and Public Life, and the Archaeology Field School.
4. Enrich quality of life through performing arts and exhibitions, including such creative activities as theatrical productions, music performances, and gallery showings.

E. Behavioral and Social Science

1. Build on strengths in understanding, assessing and treating addictive behaviors.
2. Further develop established strengths in research and evaluation of teaching and learning.
3. Expand upon our expertise in criminal justice related to American Indian and rural populations
4. Enhance strategies to address unique problems affecting rural and vulnerable populations.

II. Identify new areas of opportunity and leverage the ways in which UND is unique.

A. Take advantage of UND’s uniqueness in having a law school, a medical school, and an aerospace program all in one place.
B. Recognize the integral role of graduate students in the research enterprise and continue to strengthen UND’s already excellent graduate programs.
C. Leverage the nearby presence of a federal laboratory — the USDA Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center — and its mission to focus on obesity research.
D. Build on the region’s growing capacity in immunology and infectious disease.
E. Enhance scholarly work that recognizes North Dakota’s significant American Indian population and the University’s exemplary programs to support American Indian student success.
F. Capitalize on UND’s strong Liberal Arts tradition to foster integrated study across disciplines to examine research and policy questions related to all aspects of human life.
G. Recognize that UND’s location in a state of low population density makes it a natural site for scholarship related to remote delivery of programs and services.
H. Support the development of an incubator for the arts at UND.

III. Increase Institutional Support for Research Infrastructure.

A. Maximize recovery of indirect costs.
B. Upgrade and maintain core equipment together with sufficient support staff to keep pace with growth of research.
C. Add administrative support commensurate with growth of the research endeavor.
D. Develop a 10-year plan for upgrade of existing and construction of new buildings that meets current and future needs with the following points in mind:

1. Identify areas where research growth is constrained by building capacity.
2. Create a physical structure (or utilize an extant one) to place individuals in creative connection to each other, not only to foster communication, but additionally to encourage collaborative research.

E. Identify ways to improve start-up packages for faculty.
F. Fund libraries to meet diverse research needs.
G. Provide access to adequate statistical software for diverse research needs and provide professional statisticians for consultation and research support.
H. Increase computational and network resources.
I. Increase support for Graduate Research Assistantship positions.

IV. Improve the campus climate for research and scholarly activity and build a culture of excellence at all levels of the research endeavor.

A. Recognize both individual and collaborative work.
B. Remove barriers and clarify policies and procedures to enhance collaboration across departments and colleges.
C. Maintain and build upon UND’s strong record of undergraduate participation in research and scholarly work.
D. Streamline and clarify processes for review and approval of grants through the Grants & Contracts office.
E. Enhance effectiveness and funding support for the Seed Grant Program.
F. Increase opportunities for faculty presentation and discussion of scholarly and creative activity on campus to enhance awareness of each other’s work.
G. Provide more training and assistance on grant writing.
H. Increase gender and ethnic diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) faculty.
I. Create policies and procedures for supporting spousal/partner employment.
J. Identify strategies to improve retention and continued development of outstanding mid-career faculty.

V. Improve communication with the state and region about what we do and why it matters.

A. Gather information about what is needed from stakeholders and constituencies.
B. Enhance understanding of the value to the State of North Dakota of research, scholarship, and creative activity.
C. Engage partners in collaborative endeavors.
D. Improve technology transfer to promote commercialization and economic development.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Economic development is one of many significant outcomes of research and scholarly activity at a university, though certainly not the only one. Universities have economic impact on their communities, states, and regions in a number of ways:

  • Putting their research power to work by developing new ideas that will strengthen the country’s competitive edge in the new economy—and then by helping to deploy those innovations into commercial use.
  • Providing a wide range of knowledge-focused services to businesses and other employers, including customized job-training programs, hands-on counseling, technical help, and management assistance.
  • Embracing a role in the cultural, social, and educational revitalization of their home communities.
  • And, most fundamentally, educating people to succeed in the innovation age.

The University has acknowledged the importance of economic development as an outcome of research by adding this term to the name of the Research Division. This plan is focused on other goals and issues related to the broad research and scholarly enterprise of the University. Michael F. Moore joined UND as the new Associate Vice President for Intellectual Property Commercialization and Economic Development on October 4, 2010. With his participation, it is our intent to prepare a separate plan for University involvement and approaches to economic development that will complement this plan for research and scholarly activity per se.

Thank you for reading this summary. To see the complete text of the Strategic Plan, please go to our Web site: www.und.edu/dept/research

Research Photos

Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Twamley Hall, Room 103
264 Centennial Drive Stop 8367
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8367

Phone: 701-777-6736
Fax: 701-777-2193
E-mail: vpr@research.und.edu