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Strategic and Transformative Investments in Research (STIR) FY15 Funding Summary

The Office of Research and Engagement began providing Organized Research Unit (ORU) funding in FY2009 and it has been one critical investment component for the research enterprise at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We are expanding the use of our funds to be inclusive of other strategic research opportunities and are emphasizing the intended transformative nature of the investment. The fund will now be referred to as the Strategic and Transformative Investments in Research (STIR) fund. It has been, and will continue to be a finite investment strategy for research growth opportunities.

Beginning this year, the annual review and allocation of funds for Joint Institutes has been conducted in a separate process involving the UT System, ORNL and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement so as to better reflect the dual reporting function of these institutes to UT and ORNL. Funding for the Joint Institutes is provided from the UT-Battelle LLC management fee and does not involve STIR resources.

The reviewers for this year’s ORU proposals were drawn from the Research Council, other members of the Faculty Senate, faculty members at large, and the Office of Research and Engagement. The review criteria were:

  • Are the stated purpose and goals clear and specific enough to be measurable? Is there a clear big idea?
  • What is the level of external funding progress and impact the ORU has made (or promises to for a new request)? What is the most important advancement?
  • What is the most significant lost opportunity for this ORU this year?
  • Are the activities clearly outlined and do these provide priorities with a clear strategy to become self-sustaining?
  • Is the budget clear with other funding sources contributing and is the amount requested justified?
  • Over all confidence that the ORU is making significant progress and is a good investment and will provide value in advancing the level of research funding and scholarship of UTK faculty and students.

Eleven previously funded ORUs and eight previously unfunded ORUs submitted and presented their proposals in a public forum on March 24th, 25th, 27th, and 28th, 2014. There were many worthy proposals. Most budget requests contained categories not supported by STIR funds so actual allocations were less than requested amounts. Based on the evaluation of the proposals, presentations, past performance, future potential, and other sources of support, ten previously funded ORUs and seven ORUs receiving funding for the first time will receive funding in FY15. The balance of unused funds is being held for new STIR initiatives in FY15. More information will be provided about these new funding opportunities.

All funding provided is considered “one-time one-year” funding for the sole purpose of fostering the mission and objectives of the ORU as defined in the proposal. Allocations are to fund the production and growth of high quality and meaningful collaborative research in each area, including a significant net growth in external funding rather than replacement funding for the faculty involved. These funds are not intended for base funding of center operations. For details of FY15 allocations, please download the ORU FY15 Funding Summary (PDF).

FY15 Proposals and Funding Information

The following ORUs submitted funding proposals for FY15. The proposals submitted may be viewed by clicking on the ORU name and are accessible only by UT Knoxville faculty and staff.

New FY15 ORU Proposals Submitted

Institute for Sustainable Mobility

NnBar Experiment at ESS

Accelerator Driven Systems

Light Electric Vehicle Research Group

Center for Sport, Peace, & Society

STEAM Enrichment: After School and Beyond

Green Economy Initiative

SMART Center

Currently Funded ORU Proposals Submitted Seeking FY15 Funding

Center for Wildlife Health

Center for Information Technology Research

UT Institute for Nuclear Security

Sustainable Energy Education & Research Center

Plant Research Center

Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics & Sciences

Health Information Technology & Simulation Laboratory

Center on Deafness

Center for Information & Communication Studies

NeuroNET: Neuroscience Network of East Tennessee

Center for Environmental Biotechnology