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Research Strategy: National Distinction


This is the fourth in a series of blogs about the Research Strategy, intended to communicate major priorities and goals. To learn more about the Research Strategy or to review the 2021 Action Plan, visit this website. Or click here to view our first, second and third posts. 

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. U of U 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.

Through the research strategy, we aim to increase national recognition across institutional, departmental, program, individual faculty, and trainee domains. Multiple sections within the strategy help to create impact and communicate our strengths and accomplishments on the national stage. Those sections include: Partnerships and Multi-disciplinary Research, Innovation and Commercialization, and Public Outreach and Communication.

Prioritized goals for National Distinction broadly, include:

  1. Optimize faculty recruitment
  2. Optimize faculty mentoring
  3. Increase individual faculty national recognition and celebrate scientific achievements

We are fortunate that our U of U Health Sciences Center is embedded within a major public research university that includes an affiliated University Hospital and 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 increase our ability to compete for major program-level grants that can support transformative research on major challenges that face our world.

Prioritized goals for Partnerships and Multidisciplinary Research include:

  1. Integrate research with U of U Health clinical practice by expanding intra-campus partnerships and collaborations.
  2. Work with other health systems locally and nationally to identify the best possible research collaboration opportunities and proceed when mutual agreement can be reached.
  3. Strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and collaborators to optimize the conduct and impact of late translational research.

Robust research communication provides an opportunity to create a common understanding of current research, its relevance to the University, to Utah and its strong biomedical and technology sectors, and society in general. Expanded efforts must be made toward communicating and leveraging our unique pockets of excellence and our history of successful discovery.

Prioritized goals for Public Outreach and Communication include:

  1. Develop existing communication platforms and mediums to capitalize on areas of opportunity and establish new platforms as appropriate.
  2. Build connectivity to our primary audiences.
  3. Develop impactful content that can be presented on various platforms and shared with our various stakeholders/audiences.

Intellectual property (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, spurs economic growth in Utah, and increases the national distinction of the research enterprise. 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:

  1. Enhance our culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization, and the policies that guide these activities.
  2. Continue our strong efforts in commercialization.
  3. Promote programs that train future entrepreneurs.
  4. Engage and partner with stakeholders including campus groups, PIVOT, policymakers, industry leaders, and donors to elevate the value of health sciences innovations and discoveries.

For more information regarding specific tactics and activities, we invite you to review our 2021 Action Plans on our strategy website:

As with all research, we view this plan as living and iterative. We strive to set a strong and steady course for the research mission, while remaining dynamic enough to continually evaluate and, as appropriate, rebalance our research efforts to optimize institutional growth and leverage emerging areas of importance. We welcome faculty and staff feedback to this strategic proposal.