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Pillar 5

Pillar 5: Enrich and Positively Impact Oklahoma, the Nation, and the World through Research and Creative Activity

Strategy 1:
Achieve research and creative activity outcomes at public Association of American Universities-quality benchmarks.


Tactic 1: Grow annual extramural research revenue from the federal government, the private sector and philanthropies, and the state of Oklahoma by 4 % to 7% per year for seven years, relative to FY19.

Tactic 2: Commit OU-Norman to a growth plan that leads to 7% to 10% annual growth in research expenditures over seven years, relative to FY19.

Tactic 3: Establish a clear and effective federal lobbying strategy for research.

Tactic 4: Create and staff an internal proposal development team at the Center for Faculty Excellence dedicated to assist faculty in pursuing large, national scale research centers and initiatives from the federal government and philanthropies.

Tactic 5: Work with the Center for Faculty excellence to create a program to drive faculty nominations for major awards based on research and creative activity, and grow the number of national academies members, Guggenheim fellows, MacArthur award winners, and others to Association of American Universities levels.

Tactic 6: Create a new Office of Corporate Partnerships to lead the effort to grow strategic research partnerships with the private sector and philanthropies.

Tactic 7: Transform the Norman Research Campus into a Discovery and Innovation District that ties together OU research and corporate partnerships in a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Tactic 8: Create economic development in the Norman and Oklahoma City communities by growing the number of OU technology-based start-up companies. Attract angel investors and venture capital to the region to incubate and accelerate these start-ups in the Discovery and Innovation District.

Tactic 9: Create the position of Associate Dean for Research and/or Creative Expression at every college and align college efforts with the institutional research strategy.



Strategy 2:
Create multidisciplinary Research Centers of Excellence focused on significant and real-world challenges that provide opportunities for different areas of expertise across all three campuses.


Tactic 1: Work with faculty to define a research and creative activity strategic plan, emphasizing key areas of focus, for example:

  • aerospace and defense;
  • energy and environmental sustainability;
  • life sciences and the future of healthcare; and
  • flourishing societies.

Tactic 2: Align internal investment with research strategic plan and launch up to five new multi-college, multi-campus Research Centers of Excellence.

Tactic 3: Align Centers of Excellence with federal, state, tribal, and private sector opportunities for growth in research scale, scope, and impact.

Tactic 4: Create a fundraising strategy to endow the Centers of Excellence with significant resources.

Tactic 5: Create a program of seed funding support for high-risk, high-payoff ideas from multidisciplinary teams of faculty and staff aimed at growing extramural research funding in new areas.

Tactic 6: Seek and leverage synergies between the Norman, HSC, and Tulsa campuses in strategic areas.



Strategy 3:
Cultivate community-engaged research collaborations to solve critical challenges facing the state of Oklahoma, tribal nations, the United States, and the world.


Tactic 1: Strengthen collaborations with external partners.

Tactic 2: Provide faculty and staff development to increase capacity for designing community engagement throughout Oklahoma and broader impact plans.

Tactic 3: Develop policies, awards, and recognitions for impactful community-engaged scholarship.



Strategy 4:
Develop a transparent culture of performance and accountability in all areas of research administration.


Tactic 1: Establish open, transparent, and peer-reviewed decision-making processes for the vast majority of funding and faculty and staff support decisions made in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships.

Tactic 2: Establish academic impact metrics—and, as appropriate, milestones and return on investment targets—for all internally supported research efforts. Evaluate all internally funded faculty, staff, and student research support programs annually.

Tactic 3: Establish an Office of Research Ethics and Integrity that will help and train faculty, staff, and administrators in issues and liabilities related to the responsible conduct of research and disclosure and reporting requirements.



Strategy 5:
Foster an environment for achieving articulated goals.


Tactic 1: Align our strategies for supporting research and creative activity with our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to ensure that all faculty, staff, and students have opportunities to engage in high-quality research and creative excellence.

Tactic 2: Instill a culture of service in all research support functions at the University and measure faculty and staff sentiment on a regular basis.

Tactic 3: Grow the Office of Research Services and other support functions commensurate with growth in sponsored research.

Tactic 4: Working with the Center for Faculty Excellence and leading consultants, create a series of workshops aimed at developing the skills necessary to succeed in obtaining federal and other research funding, and to enhance success in publishing books and academic manuscripts in leading journals.

Tactic 5: Ensure that OU has flexible and efficient intellectual property policies and processes that make the faculty and staff competitive when seeking the support of the private sector, or when seeking to patent and license inventions.

Tactic 6: Ensure that OU has flexible and simplified export control and security policies that enable faculty, staff, and students to successfully carry out sensitive research.

Tactic 7: Develop a variety of ways to celebrate research success, including news highlights, social media campaigns, recognition programs for particular research achievements, etc.

Tactic 8: Incentivize collaboration, teamwork and mutual support to enhance faculty, student and research success.



Strategy 6:
Build, enhance, and support campus infrastructures necessary to compete at the level of top public universities.


Tactic 1: Fund and establish state-of-the-art research facilities in critical areas where OU is lacking.

Tactic 2: Ensure funding to maintain sufficient levels of both support staff and shared research facilities, and update equipment as needed.

Tactic 3: Fund and establish expanded research facilities in areas of OU strength where growth depends on new infrastructure, such as atmospheric sciences, weather, and radar.

Tactic 4: Value and support creative activity and infrastructure for the arts and humanities.

Tactic 5: Create a program of support for faculty capital equipment needs to be able to remain competitive in rapidly advancing fields.

Tactic 6: Increase the performance of OU’s research computing capabilities. Explore cloud-based services for data science and other computing needs.

Tactic 7: Ensure IT systems and policies support Strategic Plan objectives and remain current.

Tactic 8: Establish laboratory incubator space to accelerate startup creation in strategic areas.