We are committed to an ongoing effort aimed at improving research and compliance at Howard while setting an agenda for cutting-edge research that is both national and international in scope.
To achieve these goals, the shared components of research administration support the development of a coordinated planning strategy that involves all levels of the University and that addresses the major research needs of the University, its faculty, and students. Its purposeful approach can be summarized by the following continuum: Target, Seed, Develop, and Leverage (TSDL).
The major focus of the reinvigorated RAS is to transform the research environment at Howard by building the University’s research capacity, energizing the existing research community on campus, and finding the appropriate “fit” for faculty who are not currently engaged in research. These tasks demand a multi-pronged and multi-staged approach. Accomplishing them will require proactive, efficient, and cost-effective policies and programs. Thus, Research Administrative Services constantly strives to target new research partnerships and initiatives – and enhance existing ones – that ally Howard University researchers with industry, other institutions of higher education, foundations, and national and international partners in government and other sectors. These efforts serve to optimize the impact of research at The Capstone.
The next step in redirecting the university’s research effort is to seed faculty research and “grow” the infrastructure that supports the Howard research enterprise. In this effort, RAS personnel take a proactive approach, first by evaluating the most critical needs of those University faculty who are already engaged in research and then by identifying and providing the funding support they need (e.g., for space, equipment, resources, etc.) to sustain and enhance ongoing projects and attract new partners from the research community.
To date, Research Administrative Services has invested almost $2 million to seed the Howard University research portfolio. It has provided another $1.6 million in support to enhance the School of Engineering’s nanotechnology research capacity, funding laboratory renovations, postdoctoral research grants, and graduate student research stipends and remission of tuition to bolster this program. Another seeding activity (with input from faculty and assistance from the University’s architects) is the transformation of the 110- acre Howard University Beltsville, Maryland Campus into the proposed Howard University Research Park. Research Administrative Services presently is seeking external funding to develop the Beltsville research park. It has already invested substantial funds to upgrade the current structure on the site, which currently houses NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) sponsored research, and to update the existing labs and equipment.
Additional seed funding has supported pilot projects with the goal of developing ideas into full-blown proposals for submission to external agencies for funding. Matching funds currently support ongoing research (more funding will be provided in the coming fiscal year to match new research dollars). Research Administrative Services also provides funding support to assist Howard junior faculty with proposal development, and it created two entities to help gather input and guide research-seeding efforts at the university: the Faculty Research Advisory Committee (FRAC) and the Student Advisory Group (SAG).
Research Administrative Servicescoordinated the submission of research proposals totaling $270 million in external funding during FY 2009. Several of these proposals were for monies to support the construction of a Computational Science Engineering Research Center (CSERC) on Howard’s main campus, the first phase of the planned Translational Research Center.
The resources needed to seed targeted research initiatives at Howard University, like the productivity already demonstrated by these research efforts and their potential impact, are substantial. Thus, the focus of RAS over the 2009 Fiscal Year shifted toward a new direction, that of developing emerging and innovative areas of relevant Transforming Research RAS Annual Report FY 09 5 research activity. This thrust encourages and supports research faculty in conducting research across multiple disciplines and units and engaging in multifaceted research activities.
The developmental approach of Research Administrative Services has resulted in the submission of several large-scale grant proposals in the areas described above and other emerging areas. It also has resulted in proposal success: the University’s goal of achieving a $100-million in the research portfolio by the end of FY 2009 has been met and exceeded. Moreover, significant partnerships have been forged through Howard’s successful collaboration with large federal agencies such as NASA and NOAA, industry leaders like the Harris Company and NGEN, and private-sector organizations like the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
We strive to leverage the targeting, seeding, and developmental approaches and activities described above to the greatest extent possible. For example, it provided $100,000 in matching funds to better leverage the University’s research partnership with NASA, which awarded Howard $380,000 to upgrade electrical equipment on the Beltsville campus. The support provided to faculty led to the more that $68 million in proposal submissions to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Awards have been received totaling $4.8 million and should increase significantly by the end of 2009.
The seeding of faculty development led to proposal submissions totaling $270 million in external funding. Several of the proposals submitted are to fund the construct of the Computational Science Engineering Research Center, which is the first phase of the “Translational Research Center” planed for the main campus of Howard, described in our mission statement.