Mission & Goals

Mission and Goals

I. Preamble

The conduct of research, scholarship, and creative activities is at the core of The University of Iowa's multiple missions of education, research, service, and outreach to the state, region, nation, and beyond. Emphasis on discovery and dissemination of new knowledge and creation of new artistic works energizes the intellectual life of the campus, places a unique imprint on the education offered, and permits important contributions to fields as diverse as health care, the sciences, humanities, and the arts. The University has long been recognized as a leader in these fields, in interdisciplinary studies, and in the recognition of creative activities in awarding advanced degrees. The University of Iowa depends on a robust and creative enterprise, an essential mechanism of reaching its aspiration to be recognized among the ten most distinguished public research universities in the United States.

The Office of the Vice President for Research has as its goal the support and advancement of research, scholarship, and creative activity on our campus. Through a broad variety of activities and services, the Office of the Vice President for Research seeks to play an important role in the underpinning of these creative activities in the public and private sectors in our region.

II. Aspiration

The Office of the Vice President for Research shares and supports the University’s aspiration to attract the most talented faculty, staff and students; to provide an environment where they can discover and fulfill their potential; and thereby to realize its promise to become one of the ten most distinguished public research universities in the nation.

III. Core Values

The overall administrative philosophy and specific procedures of the office are consonant with The University of Iowa core values: excellence, learning, community, diversity, integrity, respect and responsibility.

IV. Mission Statement

The mission of the Office of the Vice President for Research is to provide academic and administrative leadership to the conduct of research, scholarship, creative and entrepreneurial activity at The University of Iowa by fostering, supporting, and inspiring such activity, by overseeing its ethical and regulatory compliance, and by insuring its dissemination and application in the public and private sectors.

V. Vision

The Office of the Vice President for Research seeks to create and maintain a culturally diverse, academically rich, ethically driven academic environment that will promote excellence in research, scholarship, creative endeavors and optimize technology transfer opportunities. Such an environment:  

Acknowledges and celebrates innovation in research and artistic endeavors.

Nurtures individuals as well as the development of hypotheses.

Is grounded in the core principles of the institution.

Accommodates and helps advance the work of individual scholars, researchers and artists as well as the collaborative work of such individuals.

Promotes the dissemination and application of research results to the commercial marketplace for the public benefit.

Strives to promote shared governance among administration, faculty, staff, and students through such venues as the University Research Council and local peer review of its internal funding programs.

Strives to promote interdisciplinary research partnerships and collaborations.

VI. Environmenta​l Assessment

The most important environmental factors influencing the University's research enterprise are the opportunities for external funding in the government and private sectors, the amount and quality of research space, the size and quality of the research staff, the capacity for the University to provide administrative support at various levels, internal research support, and institutional attitude toward research at all levels. The outlook in most of these areas is favorable for the years 2000-2005.

In addition to these primary environmental factors, other trends may also influence the way the University conducts its research. The first of these is the administrative burden placed on research universities by the federal government. A second is the evolution of the long-standing relationship among universities, government, and industry.

External Funding The University's federally sponsored research funding correlates with the federal research and development budget, especially with the budget of the National Institutes of Health. Historically, the budget of the National Institutes of Health has grown at levels greater than the rate of inflation, and this trend should continue for the next five years. In addition to growth in federal funding, research funding from the private sector and private foundations has grown markedly over the past five years and is expected to continue to be robust.

Research Space Major new construction and facilities modernization in research-intensive departments are currently underway. This additional and improved space will aid in the recruitment of new faculty of a high quality and make the University more competitive for external funding. Current capital projects will mainly benefit endeavors in the biosciences, engineering, and selected physical and social science areas. Other disciplines on campus will continue to be challenged by space constraints, as will some of the areas currently enjoying capital improvements.

Research Staff Increasing faculty turnover due to retirements and outside offers will lead to more new faculty hires at the junior levels. This will have mixed effects. Some new and junior faculty can generate greater investigative activity, are in need of more services, and have a positive influence on external funding. On the other hand, the loss of senior faculty can be problematic with regard to leadership and mentorship.

Administrative Support Many departments and organized research units lack optimal administrative support to develop applications for external funding and to manage sponsored research. This problem has increased with recent changes in government regulations for charging these costs.

Internal Research Support With the support of the University administration and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the University has attracted major state funds for the Biosciences Initiative and the Arts and Humanities Initiative. The office also has reallocated internal resources to support pilot research, bridging, and grant matching. These new and reallocated funds have increased researchers’ capabilities to initiate, expand, and complete important projects and have positioned them to more effectively compete for external funds.

Institutional Attitude The central place of research in the University’s mission statement, along with increases in both external and internal sources of funding, will continue to help focus attention on creative endeavors and provide positive incentives for research activity.

Other Factors Currently, there is a huge administrative burden placed on universities by the federal government which incurs substantial time, effort and financial costs to the University. While there has been discussion at national levels to try to alleviate some of this burden, it is anticipated that this will continue and perhaps even increase over the next five years.

During the past decade, there has been a national discourse on the relationship of the research conducted cooperatively through the university-government-industry sectors of society. Over the next five years, the relationship of these three sectors will continue to evolve. This will have a great impact on the way universities attract, conduct and disseminate their research.

VII. Fundamenta​l Principles

The Office of the Vice President for Research is committed to the following principles:

Promote the conduct, dissemination, and application of responsible, significant research and creative scholarship, including interdisciplinary work.

Provide timely, effective, and responsive research support services to faculty, staff, and students.

Assure the ethical conduct of research.

Create and implement best safety practices for both those engaged in research and those who serve as human subjects for research activities.

Create and maintain a representative, culturally diverse, and humane university community.

Build and strengthen ties between the University and its external constituencies.

Promote cooperative and productive relationships with other units and constituencies on campus.

VIII. Goals and Strategies

UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION - To create a University experience that enriches the lives of undergraduates and helps them to become well-informed individuals, lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and productive employees and employers.

Champion and highlight the role of research in undergraduate education and recruitment.

Facilitate faculty, graduate student and undergraduate student recruitment by the strategic employment of research support assets, including the development and support of central research support facilities, and the deployment of internal grants.

Increase the opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in faculty-led research through work with the Office of the Provost and the Universitys Honors Program.

Reward and recognize accomplishments for students who participate in undergraduate research projects.

Work with the Office of the Provost to enhance the capacity of the University Libraries to support undergraduate research and to improve access to University Libraries holdings.

Work to increase the unique opportunities for undergraduate studies especially summer sessions (e.g. JPL summer school, etc).

Include information highlighting undergraduate research and scholarly activity in OVPR publications.

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH - To cultivate excellent graduate and professional programs, and to advance the research and scholarly enterprise.

Provide efficient administration of research-related assets in order to contribute to faculty productivity and retention.

Increase the recognition of the contribution to research of graduate students and postdoctoral trainees.

Foster the identification and management of internal grant programs aimed specifically at the

support of graduate students and postdoctoral trainee research projects.

Facilitate the development of new programs that foster research, scholarship, and creative activity in a broad variety of disciplines, particularly for career faculty and research staff. Manage and monitor the effectiveness of these programs.

Assist faculty, staff, and students in obtaining external financial support for their research, training and public service activities.

Identify the need for central research support facilities; develop or foster the development of such facilities and manage them to optimize their utility, accessibility, and responsiveness to the campus research community.

Provide a leadership or coordinating role for institutional interdisciplinary and collaborative projects.

Make available resources to assist interdisciplinary teams to prepare competitive proposals for external research funding.

Foster interdisciplinary and collaborative projects that could have significant bearing on institutional objectives or that go beyond established departmental or collegiate relationships.

Remove the barriers to providing appropriate fiscal and professional recognition when faculty and staff from several units collaborate in attracting external funding.

Increase internal funds available for the establishment of collaborative efforts; set aside a portion of internal grant funds for interdisciplinary projects. Develop a comprehensive listing of special collections of research relevance.

Routinely meet with researchers who represent various disciplines to understand their needs and aspirations.

Encourage the wider use by faculty and staff of listings to improve awareness of the interests and abilities of potential collaborators.

support for periodic research symposia on interdisciplinary topics that are focused but also likely to be of interest to a broad range of faculty, students, and staff.

Provide adequate regulatory staff and resources to support the research mission of the University.

Provide research support facilities and services to ensure that research activities meet professional and regulatory standards.

DIVERSITY - To promote excellence in education by increasing the diversity of the faculty, staff and students.

Ensure diversity in all advisory committees within OVPR organization.

Facilitate the recruitment of a diverse faculty through startup assistance.

Facilitate workshops regarding best practices for recruiting and retaining underrepresented staff.

Encourage a diverse applicant pool for all job openings within the OVPR organization.

Assist faculty in developing grant applications targeted at building and retaining a diverse community.

Encourage staff within OVPR to participate in campus offerings and workshops aimed at understanding and promoting a diverse community.

Maintain and expand staff diversity in all positions through a continued respectful and inclusive workplace environment.

Ensure the integration of diversity performance measures into all evaluations and performance reviews.

VITALITY - To strengthen the Universitys intellectual and community vitality.

Work with the Office of the Provost to encourage secondary appointments involving faculty who wish to engage in research with members of another department or center.

Monitor and influence state and federal legislation and regulations to enhance the Universitys position as a major education and research institution.

Enhance professional development by providing resources and services needed for research, scholarship, and creative endeavors.

Develop a comprehensive program for multiyear research-related capital planning to provide for infrastructure maintenance and enhancements.

Initiate a campus-wide program to develop guidelines for special collection identification, insurance, space assignment, accessibility, maintenance, and periodic review.

Provide leadership to develop and maintain the Universitys administrative, physical, and communications infrastructure to assure continued growth in the proper conduct of research, including (but not limited to) laboratories, studios, other creative venues, libraries, special collections, and cyberinfrastructure.

Work with the campus IT community to address research data management needs.

Improve the interaction among internal and external constituencies by assuring adequate staffing levels, by reducing unnecessary redundancies, by implementing administrative process improvements, and by improving responsiveness.

Develop traditional and technology-based training programs to assure campus-wide knowledge of relevant regulations.

Monitor the funding opportunities and emerging research needs of federal and state governmental agencies.

Work with the University Research Council and various other advisory bodies to identify actions that can enhance the University's capacity to support research and other creative endeavors.

Facilitate relevant communications regarding research trends, policies, etc. to the campus community.

ENGAGEMENT - To broaden the Universitys service mission to include stronger partnerships with public constituencies.

Maximize productivity by exploiting advanced technological applications.

Optimize the flow of intellectual property into opportunities for licensing, commercialization and business development.

Provide local and national leadership to maintain and extend the cost-effective distribution of high-quality scholarly and creative works.

Facilitate and support appropriate research interactions with industry.

Stimulate and manage the transfer of University of Iowa intellectual property to the private sector.

Develop the Oakdale Campus (including the Oakdale Research Park and University Hygienic Lab) as a dynamic resource to support the Universitys research and service mission.

Stimulate and facilitate the use of University research, expertise, and facilities for the benefit of local, regional, state, and national economies.

Work with private businesses to identify research opportunities, convey information regarding the University's capabilities, and create collaborative arrangements.

Broker working relationships among various constituents involved in the research mission of the University, including individual researchers, investigative groups, and both public and private research sponsors.

Assist researchers in making effective arguments to agencies, foundations, businesses, and other organizations that are potential sources of external funding.

Contribute to the development of a creative, entrepreneurial workforce.

Help facilitate cooperative internships to enable more undergraduate students to work with businesses and gain practical experience.

Work with the Office of the Provost to increase access by undergraduate students to research technology, thereby increasing their research experience and enabling them to learn job-related skills employing higher technology.

Work with distance learning programs to include a research component in selected courses offered to undergraduate students at remote locations.

Provide local and national leadership to maintain and extend the cost-effective distribution of high-quality scholarly and creative works.

Provide leadership for participation in the developing national and state cyberinfrastructures.