The Office of Research and Engagement’s fiscal year 2014 data reveals an increasingly competitive world for federal funding. Despite this, our work with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy remains strong, and Associate Vice Chancellor Janet Nelson is leading efforts to grow our National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense portfolios. These are important efforts to expand our funding base, as many expect annual federal research and development appropriations to remain flat or even decrease over time.
While much of the data presented here is discipline based (by department, college, center, general field), the national dialogue increasingly focuses on the government-university-industry-foundation nexus and shared support in the basic and applied sciences. To address this, we recently launched an Office of Corporate and Foundation Engagement to advance external partnership efforts. We are fortunate to count Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a core partner, a critical asset in the cultivation of corporations and foundations.
Interdisciplinary discovery—discovery and innovation in the intersections between disciplines—is an increasing focus in the federal, corporate, and foundation spaces. The National Academies are advancing the notion of transdisciplinary discovery—the emergence of focused new disciplines that come from collaboration at the interfaces. We are fostering this through our Community of Scholars program and our focus on grand challenges, which are unique to UT but aligned with external opportunities. This will help advance the fertile intersection of the arts, social sciences, and STEM disciplines.
Looking ahead, we continue to contemplate strategic opportunities in our eleven areas of focus (see back cover) and to diversify our sources of funding. We look forward to the exciting research discoveries that lie ahead.
Taylor Eighmy, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement