Reflecting on a year of KU research rising

From: Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2022, 9:34 a.m.
To: KU Lawrence faculty and staff

Dear faculty and staff,
Research Rising is not just the name of one of KU’s most significant investments in its research enterprise in university history. It’s also an apt description of the trajectory and momentum of research, scholarship and creative activity across our campuses.
Thanks to your dedication and energy, KU has had five consecutive years of growth in research expenditures — a key metric valued by the Association of American Universities. That growth precipitated a rankings jump from 49 to 44 among public universities in the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education & Research Development Survey. The university also claimed the third overall spot in federally financed research and development expenditures in non-science and engineering fields for the second year in a row.
The Kansas economy continues to benefit from that growth. Sponsored research at KU supported the salaries of nearly 4,000 people in 2021 and accounted for $50.7 million in spending with Kansas companies on research-related goods and services.
While increased external funding is critical to the health and sustainability of our research community, it is by no means the only measure of KU’s flourishing ecosystem of inquiry, creation and innovation. Across disciplines, KU faculty, staff and students are carrying out research that is wide-ranging in its questions, methodologies, and societal impacts. We value and celebrate the diverse contributions of all Jayhawk scholars.
Evidence of that diversity can be seen in the work of University Research Awards recipients and in projects supported through internal funding programs such as the KU Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Awards and KU Research GO. Be on the lookout this fall for announcements about the next call for proposals for these competitions and the New Faculty Research Development Awards
We’ll announce the winners of the Research Rising competition in June. In the meantime, the 10 finalist teams recorded TED-style talks to share their grand visions for high-profile, interdisciplinary projects aligned with one or more of KU’s strategic research themes and poised to attract major federal funding. Watch the videos to learn more about how their projects would transform the future of sustainable housing, unlock the secrets held in genomes, accelerate drug discovery for disease treatment, create more secure and resilient communities, and more.
At the end of an exhausting semester, it can be tempting to check out as soon as possible for a much-needed vacation, to head to the field, or to hole up and work on a neglected project. Before you retreat or throw yourself into work, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the fruit that your efforts yielded this year in the research realm. Then enjoy whatever your summer holds and come back ready to continue supporting KU’s research mission in the new academic year.
Thank you for all you do for KU.
Simon Atkinson
Vice Chancellor for Research