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A connection between three professors has launched more than five years of multidisciplinary projects funded by the nation’s top research agencies. Jon Hathaway (left), Lisa Reyes Mason (middle), and Kelsey Ellis (right) discuss climate research.

UT Research Office Unveils New Vision, Structure, Name

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, announced the launch of its new Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED) effective July 1, 2021. Expanding the mission of the former Office of Research and Engagement, ORIED is designed to provide faculty based in Knoxville, Nashville, and Tullahoma with the support necessary to conduct world-class research, scholarship, and creative work and to enhance the impact of this work in Tennessee and around the world.

UT has a long history of research excellence, achieving R1 (very high research activity) status from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 1973 and the Carnegie Community Engagement designation in 2015 for collaborating with community partners to address society’s most pressing needs. The university community includes seven members of the National Academies, 84 AAAS fellows, 33 NEH fellows, 77 NSF CAREER awardees, 13 Governor’s Chairs, and recipients of many more prestigious awards and accolades.

UT’s future as a world-renowned research university is defined by its diverse, creative, and productive faculty and its staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students. ORIED staff provide comprehensive services for faculty-led sponsored projects. Staff design capacity-building initiatives that create multidisciplinary opportunities and strengths, nurture a strong culture of research integrity, and establish trusted relationships with corporate, venture, community, non-profit, and government partners who help extend the impact of the community’s work across the state and around the world.

Led by Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford, ORIED will serve researchers and scholars from UT’s eleven colleges, the Institute of Agriculture, and the Space Institute as they seek to realize their scholarly ambitions. The new office includes the following four divisions:

Division of Research & Innovation Initiatives

The Division of Research and Innovation Initiatives provides faculty with the services and tools they need to realize their research, scholarship, and creative work ambitions, offering capacity-building and proposal development services that position faculty for success. Research development, the core facilities program, and several university-level institutes, including the UT Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, and the National Institute for STEM Evaluation and Research are housed in the division.

ORIED is currently searching for its new associate vice chancellor for research and innovation initiatives.

Division of Research Administration

The Division of Research Administration includes staff from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA). The SPA team was formerly housed in the Division of Finance and Administration. Division staff work closely with faculty on the administrative details of proposals, contracts, and subcontracts, and provide critical post-award support, ensuring administrative and financial compliance with university and sponsor requirements and regulations.

Jean Mercer serves as the associate vice chancellor for research administration.

Division of Research Integrity & Assurance

The Division of Research Integrity and Assurance promotes a university culture that values the responsible conduct of research. This division provides the university community with access to training and other resources to protect human subjects in research, ensure the welfare of animals in research, secure our research enterprise, and manage conflicts of interests in research. Staff also oversee the research enterprise to ensure that all UT research is compliant with relevant federal, state, and university requirements

Sarah Pruett serves as the assistant vice chancellor of research integrity and assurance, and the institutional research integrity officer.

Division of Partnerships & Economic Development

The Division of Partnerships and Economic Development connects faculty, staff, and students with organizations and individuals seeking access to UT’s faculty research expertise, student talent, and state-of-the-art research facilities. The division supports programs that add value to Tennessee’s knowledge economy, encouraging the protection of the university’s intellectual property and providing wrap-around services for new ventures developed around university know-how and capabilities.

Marc Gibson serves as the associate vice chancellor for partnerships and economic development.

“With our partners, UT is establishing Tennessee as a go-to destination for cutting-edge research, innovation, and a skilled workforce,” said Crawford. “Together, we are committed to advancing our understanding of the world around us and developing solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.”