INITIATIVES HELP UVA GROW SPONSORED RESEARCH BY 10 PERCENT THIS YEAR
As the University of Virginia strategically invests in expanding and enhancing its research enterprise, with the goal of doubling by 2022 the sponsored programs base from 2015 levels – the payoff is becoming apparent.
Sponsored research funding has increased for four consecutive years – including 10 percent during the 2016-17 fiscal year, to a total of $372.4 million. In 2015-16, sponsored funding was at $338 million – up 8 percent from the previous year.
“We’re on track to meet audacious institutional growth goals in research funding,” said Elizabeth Adams, assistant vice president for research administration in the Office of Sponsored Programs. “The University’s comprehensive strategy to increase the volume and diversity of research funding is proving sound.”
University Establishes Two New Institutes
The huge societal challenges of global infectious diseases and a rapidly changing climate are now key transdisciplinary focus areas at the University of Virginia under two newly established, pan-University institutes.
The UVA Environmental Resilience Institute and the Global Infectious Diseases Institute will each bring together top researchers from a range of disciplines at UVA to tackle some of the biggest problems facing society.
Three years ago, the University began an initiative under its strategic Cornerstone Plan to tackle major 21st-century issues by establishing up to five institutes drawing on the University’s broad and specific intellectual capital. The UVA Data Science Institute – the first, and established in 2014 – facilitates data-intensive research, analytics, management and education across the University. The UVA Brain Institute, established last year, focuses on better understanding the human body’s most complex organ.
And now, major UVA resources are being dedicated to problems involving the environment and infectious diseases, globally related issues with myriad challenges.
Alison Criss, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, will head the Global Infectious Diseases Institute.The Institute will catalyze transdisciplinary research to combat the most notorious and urgent infectious threats afflicting humankind, including epidemics like Ebola, untreatable “superbugs” and the diarrheal infections that kill hundreds of thousands of children around the world each year. This institute will solidify UVA’s global footprint through international partnerships and collaborations while seeking new funding for high-impact, transformative research. By promoting scholarly activity revolving around infectious diseases, the institute will educate and train the next generation of lab, social science and clinical researchers, engineers, educators, policymakers and entrepreneurs.
Karen McGlathery, Professor of Environmental Sciences, will lead the Environmental Resilience Institute. The Institute will seek to accelerate solutions to urgent social-ecological challenges such as coastal flooding and storm impacts in coastal regions, as well as water security. This requires collaborative research where human, natural and infrastructure systems converge and that integrates new models, sensing tools, big data, narratives, designs and behavioral research.