Texas Tech is in a period of rapid growth in its research enterprise. The Office of the Vice President for Research has been charged with leading the university’s efforts to increase and improve upon the already excellent research, scholarship and creative activity at the university. Strategic Priority 3 of the 2011 Report: Making it possible… 2010-2020 Strategic Plan 2012 Update directly relates to the function of the OVPR.
It is wise for new faculty at Texas Tech to spend some time talking with colleagues and your department chair to better understand research expectations in your department. It also is helpful to participate in the Faculty Proposal Development Program, a nine-month program geared toward junior faculty, but open to all. While the program is designed to help faculty members write successful proposals, it also is an opportunity to meet and network with other faculty to explore transdisciplinary opportunities.
There are several areas in the OVPR that directly help researchers in obtaining and managing external funding.
- The Office of Research Services (ORS) is responsible for: proposal submission; proposal budgeting; award set-up; sub-contracting; contract negotiation; re-budgeting and extensions; reporting; faculty training; research expenditures; and post award processes, in coordination with the Office of Sponsored Programs Accounting and Reporting (SPAR).
- The Faculty Development Division is responsible for: the Transdisciplinary Research Academy; transdisciplinary scholarship initiatives; faculty professional development; internal and external faculty excellence awards; individual proposal development; the Research Development Team activity and limited submissions administration.
- The Research Integrity Division supports Texas Tech’s research compliance program in all research and teaching laboratories and studios as well as responsible conduct of research and research ethics. There are six faculty-led responsible research committees and other areas: Animal Care Services and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC); the Human Research Protection Program and the Institutional Review Board (IRB); the Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee (ILSC); Radiation/Laser Safety Committee (RLSC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC); and the Investigator Financial Disclosure Committee (IFDC). The Department of Environmental Health and Safety also reports to this division.
- The Research Development Team helps faculty members develop large research grants. The Research Development Team (RDT) works primarily with multi-disciplinary or multi-institutional teams applying for large awards.
- Finance and Administration is responsible for: institutional start-up processes; facility and administrative cost return disbursement; line items; and other institutionally funded research initiatives.
Strategic Research Themes
To help focus resources, eight strategic research themes guide future programmatic development and resource investment strategies. The themes were developed and then evaluated by the college deans with respect to increasing support to the institution, advancing knowledge, improving quality of life and enhancing global and economic competitiveness. The strategic research themes will be evaluated periodically as the university’s strategic plan is reviewed.
To further refine the university’s research initiatives, 13 research focus areas have been developed:
- Renewable energy
- Neuroimaging and neuroscience
- Bioinformatics and metabolomics
- Food safety and security
- Materials science
- Cancer detection, treatment and prevention
- Nutrition, obesity and diabetes
- Climate, water and sustainable agriculture
- Integration of biological and physical systems
- Addiction and recovery
- National security
- STEM education and assessment
The investment areas are meant to be strategic in nature and typically include: senior hires, significant start-up packages, new or refurbished space, graduate student support, strategic partnerships and pursuit of large competitive funding opportunities from federal agencies. These include: the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Commerce, National Institutes of Health, Department of Interior, and U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as select corporations and foundations.