The summer has come and gone, and the fall semester is underway. Like you, I used the summer to conduct research and honor other academic commitments, with a bit of vacation squeezed in between. (This summer, I chaired a subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Advising Committee that was responsible for reviewing and issuing recommendations on an exascale technology plan for the nation. If you’re interested, you can read more here). Happily, we have lots of good news to share with you to make re-entry into the academic year a bit more pleasant.

In addition to the information in this, the third, edition of our newsletter, I want to let you know that on Monday, November 2, I’ll deliver the annual State of Research Address, starting at 5:30 p.m., in the College of Public Health’s Callaghan Auditorium.

As we reported in July, combined public and private funding for research was up 2.7 percent, from $431.4 million in FY14 to $443 million in FY15. Despite the challenging funding landscape, there fresh opportunities emerging for creative, high-risk/high-reward research and scholarship, whether conducted by individuals or in collaborations across disciplines and institutions.

One way that my office plans to help connect researchers with those opportunities is through a new Research Development Office we’re opening this fall. Look for details soon, but among its services will be helping investigators write clearer, more informed, and more effective grant proposals and manuscripts for submission.

There’s also exciting news for investigators whose research has commercialization potential. Continuing to build on the economic development activities of our office, later this academic year we’re planning to launch two early-stage incubators to provide a comprehensive lab-to-market tech transfer strategy for faculty. An east-side software focused (dry-lab) incubator, called MERGE, will be located in the former Wedge Pizza restaurant on the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall. And a west-side biomedical (wet-lab) incubator will be housed in the Bowen Science Building. Both facilities will initially house six to eight startups starting in FY 2016. Stay tuned for more information soon.

We also like to incubate new ideas in our office. If you missed the kickoff lecture for our Creative Matters series Aug. 27, featuring National Endowment for the Humanities Chair William “Bro” Adams, you’ll have other opportunities to hear fascinating speakers from around the world who are challenging conventional thinking about creativity, science, and artistic expression. Read more about the series here.

Finally, after a very successful launch last year, our salon-styled Ideas & Intersections dinners returns this fall with an evening on the topic “Polls, politics, and paparazzi: Inside Iowa's caucus season” Tuesday, November 3, in the Levitt Center.