Since becoming the University of Iowa’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development three years ago, Dan Reed has encouraged faculty to pursue more high-risk, high-reward research and scholarship proposals, both individually and in collaborative groups

Reed says the intense competition for research funding and declining proposal success rates for conventional proposals means the time has come to think bigger and in new ways, both pragmatically and intellectually.

To garner more funding and fuel breakthrough advances in research, he said, faculty must be even more audacious, and willing to reach across disciplines and even institutions, building teams and alliances.

To cultivate large-scale, interdisciplinary research proposals, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED) has launched a new Strategic Research Leadership Program.  

“As a university, we’ve demonstrated our nimbleness, resilience and creativity by battling floods, a recession, and uncertainty,” Reed said. “Now it’s time for us to bring that same flexibility to our approaches to research and scholarship, to excel and differentiate ourselves.”

The Strategic Research Leadership Program will provide proposal development through directed faculty services. These include mentoring, assistance with ideation and formation of collaborative teams, intensive engagement with funding agencies, development of research center strategies, construction of draft proposals, internal/external proposal review and assessment, budget development, and commitment of significant institutional resources.

“Imagine what we can do as a university united in purpose, rallied to a shared cause,” Reed said. “I believe the role of a great public research university in the 21st century is clear and compelling. We create new knowledge and creative works; we translate and share those ideas with new generations; and we engage society with the fruits of our creativity.”

Faculty and senior research staff who have a vision for pursuing major external funding are invited to participate in the program. Competitive projects will be multidisciplinary, multi-collegiate, innovative, and highly collaborative. They must also articulate a clear objective and pathway to compete effectively for specific, high-end external grant support.  

Those seeking to participate in the Strategic Research Leadership Program should submit a one-page, single-spaced proposal to OVPR&ED by April 30, 2016. Selected participants are eligible for up to $40,000 in Phase II and up to $80,000 in Phase III. Details about the application process and the three phases of the program are available at

For more information, contact Richard Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research, at, or Reed at  

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.