The Office of Research and Innovation continues to reorganize, realign and build capacity to help faculty obtain more competitive and larger research grants to improve the impact of scholars’ portfolios, in addition to advance the culture, ecosystem and growth of research and innovation.
In 2021, Virginia Tech faculty demonstrated its research ambitions by submitting a record number of proposals, with the total value of research proposals increasing 38% over 2020. These efforts are paying off in 2022; research spending is trending up with a 12% increase for the first three quarters compared to the same period in 2021.
Virginia Tech was ranked 251-300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, which judges research excellence globally. Among public research-intensive universities, the university is currently ranked No. 16 with the goal of becoming No. 13 by 2024.
“Virginia Tech has a tremendous base for growth based on existing capacity and resources, world-class facilities and highly regarded faculty,” said Dan Sui, senior vice president for research and innovation. “With major initiatives such as Research Frontiers intended to bring together diverse expertise to focus on areas that address the emerging challenges facing humanity, we must mobilize all resources to support professors leading cutting-edge research efforts that will have an impact on our community, near and far. .”
To enhance faculty support, Sui leads the new Research Development Strategy Team which will establish and deploy an intentional action plan to take an early perspective on research development.
Sui said the team’s goal is “to help teachers prepare for opportunities before they are announced. Ideally, we will help shape opportunities while they are still being discussed by positioning our faculty as expert resources for sponsors.
Part of the Virginia Tech team is based in the greater Washington, D.C. area near federal agencies, including Steve McKnight, vice president of strategic research alliances, and Jon Porter associate vice president of research alliances strategic. Randy Heflin, senior associate vice president for research and innovation; Brandy Salmon, associate vice president for partnerships and innovation; Laurel Miner, assistant vice president and chief of staff; and Vince Baranauskas, Senior Research Development Coordinator, are all based at the Blacksburg campus.
Since January 1, team members have helped faculty submit more than $500 million in proposals and letters of intent. By providing support for proposal cost sharing, red team review, concept development, landscape analysis and sponsor and competitor intelligence, the team aims to make the proposals of the more competitive researchers. Collectively, the McKnight and Salmon teams work directly with federal agencies, foundations and corporate groups, academic institutions, and industry partners to further strengthen existing partnerships and forge new strategic consortia with collaborators. external.
Baranauskas, who was hired in late 2021, focuses on faculty engagement and support for all proposals, including direct outreach to sponsors. In her role, Baranauskas co-manages the process of shortlisting limited bid proposals; coordinates and assists in the selection of red team members, reviews and submission of proposals with the Office of Sponsored Programs; selects topics and invites speakers for the Research Development Series seminars; assisting with Institute proposal development and faculty mentoring; and acts as liaison for Associate Deans for Research and Institute Directors regarding emerging funding opportunities.
In addition to Baranauskas’ role, several organizational changes at the university are intended to further accelerate progress towards the university’s goal of being recognized as one of the world’s top 100 research universities, including moving the Office of strategic research alliances towards research and innovation. McKnight and Porter engage with faculty and staff across all Virginia Tech campuses to advance opportunities for collaboration and forge strategic partnerships with federal agencies, foundations and corporate groups, as well as academic institutions to increase the impact of Virginia Tech’s research and innovation.
As part of the evolving research development program, Heflin was named senior associate vice president for research and innovation in January. He is responsible for improving the university’s research development program and research infrastructure and leads efforts to help faculty coordinate institutional cost sharing for major proposals, alleviating a major pain point. for faculty.
Research and Innovation has launched numerous efforts to support faculty research development efforts, including a research development microsite within research.vt.edu to provide research faculty with direct access to resources, training, funding opportunities, partners, events and programs as well as a Development Support Series research site to help professors in their efforts to increase the reach and impact of their research portfolios , creativity and innovation.