Ensuring Financial Strength and Sustainability - June 2021
Sustainability and competitive advantage depend upon maximizing the funds available for research, both externally through grants, philanthropy, state, VA, etc., and internally through maintenance of financial models that support investments in research and promote research excellence. As discussed more fully in the report on national distinction, retaining high-performing faculty and sustaining the rate of faculty recruitment of recent years will be necessary to reach our potential for driving impactful scientific advances and external funding.
Additional faculty recruitment is also needed to realize our potential for collaborative research by building synergy with existing strengths, such as through institutional initiatives. Sustainability will also require strong partnership with the hospitals, including appropriate funds flow and recognition that research distinction enhances clinical competitive advantage; issues that are discussed in the report on multidisciplinary research and partnership.
Some most important objectives identified in this section relate to faculty, department, and initiative support and expectations—which have been merged with related objectives from other sections and presented as a consolidated section.
Prioritized goals for ensuring financial strength and sustainability include:
- Optimize support for departments, programs, and initiatives.
- Understand funding success trends and maximize submission of competitive external grant proposals.
- Maximize research support from philanthropy and the state (and federal) government.
- Optimize the size and impact of research investment.
Public Outreach and Communication - June 2021
Robust research communication provides an opportunity to create common understanding of current research, its relevance within the university, to Utah and its strong biomedical and technology sectors, and society in general. Research communication in combination with education and clinical service missions support the university overall and its unique position in Utah and the Mountain West.
Expanded efforts must be made toward pockets of excellence (e.g., the Genetic Science Learning Center), base research communications, and leveraging the success of public health outreach (e.g., the Wellness Bus) to raise awareness for allied research efforts.
Prioritized goals for public outreach and communication include:
- Develop existing communication platforms and mediums for areas of opportunity and establish new platforms as appropriate.
- Build connectivity to our primary audiences.
- Develop impactful content that can be presented on various platforms and shared with our various networks/audiences.
Innovation and Commercialization - June 2021
IP generation and technology commercialization are important innovation milestones, embody impactful translational research, and lead to the production of new therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and software that improves human health and spurs economic growth in Utah. It is therefore critical that we continue to support strong research discovery, IP protection, licensing, entrepreneurship, and commercialization efforts so academic discoveries are brought to market, startup companies create new jobs and economic growth for the state and nation, and Utah is established as a leader in life sciences.
Prioritized goals for innovation and commercialization include:
- Enhance our culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, and the policies that guide these activities.
- Continue our strong efforts for commercialization.
- Promote programs that train future entrepreneurs.
- Engage and partner with stakeholders including campus groups, PIVOT, policy makers, industry leaders, and donors to elevate the value of HS innovations and discoveries.
Partnerships and Multi-Disciplinary Research - June 2021
We are fortunate that our U of U Health Sciences Center has the affiliated University of Utah Hospital, and is embedded within a major public research university that includes an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As research becomes ever more interdisciplinary, we must continue to create strong partnerships across our different university programs, departments and colleges, and with other local and national health systems.
Such partnerships create unique opportunities for individual investigators to have maximum impact, and also increase our ability to compete for major program-level grants that can support transformative research on major challenges that face our world. These are goals of the “One U” initiative, and we embrace them.
Prioritized goals for partnerships and multi-disciplinary research include:
- Integrate research with U of U Health clinical practice by expanding intra-campus partnerships and collaborations.
- Work with other health systems locally and nationally to identify the best possible research collaboration opportunities and proceed where mutual agreement can be reached.
- Strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and collaborators to optimize the conduct and impact of late translational research.
National Distinction June 2021
National distinction of University of Utah Health’s research enterprise is critically important for faculty and trainee recruitment and engagement, competitiveness for federal and foundation funding, and philanthropic fundraising. As a leading academic medical center, we have the opportunity and obligation to produce transformative advances that change the way medicine is practiced. These impactful innovations occur in a range of different areas, from fundamental discoveries to translational advances to public health improvements.
University of Utah Health Sciences has a rich recent history of making such advances, including in gene discovery, genetic engineering, diagnostics and testing, and infectious disease. These advances bring national recognition to individual investigators, departments, and the institution. University of Utah Health and its Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Colleges of Pharmacy, Health, and Nursing have a strong national presence, and we aim to continue this strong upward trajectory.
Prioritized goals for national distinction include:
- Optimize faculty recruitment.
- Optimize faculty mentoring.
- Increase individual faculty national recognition and celebrate scientific achievements.
Research Across the Translational Spectrum - May 2021
Our robust research enterprise portfolio requires monitoring, balancing, and strategic planning to ensure that we are pursuing the optimal range of activities. It is therefore critical that we continually evaluate and, as appropriate, rebalance our research efforts to optimize the ratios of early/mid/senior investigators, wet/dry research, basic/clinical, T0-T5, federal/other funding, career/independent/programmatic funding, etc.
Effective retention, recruitment, and succession strategies are also crucial components of this effort because people are our greatest asset.
Prioritized goals for research across the translational spectrum include:
- Proactively retain highly successful research faculty.
- Ensure succession planning for research programs, centers of excellence, training grant directors, and research leadership positions.
- Promote scientific excellence and innovation as core values.
- Create an integrated infrastructure for translational/clinical research.
Research Space and Infrastructure - January 2021
High quality space increases research output by providing necessary capacity, fostering creativity, and promoting interactions between researchers with complementary expertise. At present, space limitations represent the single greatest impediment for increasing research productivity at U of U Health.
Challenges include a simple lack of available research space, proper programmatic co-localization, and balancing the distribution of on and off campus research sites. Simply put, we have an urgent need for at least one new research building if we are to meet our goals for HSC extramural growth.
Prioritized goals for research space include:
- Build a major new wet-lab research building.
- Revision of wet-lab metrics and establishment and implementation of dry-lab metrics.
- Establish a research space gap plan for the critical period between when health sciences research space is exhausted to when a new research building opens.
- Establish a health sciences vivaria master plan, and a plan for an eventual CMC replacement.
Prioritized goals for research infrastructure include:
- Create and implement strategies for maintaining cutting-edge instrumentation and services for each of the existing core facilities. Create new cores as technological advances and faculty needs dictate.
- Improve infrastructure critical to the performance of safe, capable, and efficient conduct of human subject research spanning the translational spectrum from disease natural history to late Phase clinical trials.