Striving to grow, enrich KU research

From: Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
Sent: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, 9:16 a.m.
To: KU Lawrence faculty and staff

new story series launched by the Office of Research communications team asks KU scholars to distill in just a few words the most essential aim of their life’s work — the goal that makes worthwhile all of the invigorating, frustrating aspects of their research, scholarship and creative activity. Their responses are inspiring: 

  • “I am striving to make science exciting, accessible and inclusive for all.”
  • “I am striving to breathe dynamic life into stories of the Black Midwest.”
  • “I am striving to inspire the next generation of women to uncover the mysteries of the universe.”
  • “I am striving to develop more environmentally friendly refrigerants for a sustainable future.”

As we begin a new academic year, I invite you to take a moment to think about what lights your fire and drives you through the highs and lows of your day-to-day work at the University of Kansas. Whatever role you play on the faculty or staff, you help make possible the research and teaching, discovery and learning, creation and innovation that occur each day on our campuses.
At KU, we are striving to grow research while making it more accessible, inclusive and impactful for KU scholars and the many communities we serve. These goals are central to the research and discovery components of the Jayhawks Rising strategic plan.
In support of those ambitions, we announced in late June the university’s historic investment in four major, interdisciplinary research initiatives selected to receive funding through Research Rising. These projects align with one or more of KU’s five strategic research themes and will create more secure and resilient communities, harness the power of big data to discover disease-fighting drugs, unlock the secrets of genomes for the benefit of life on our planet, and transform support for intellectual and developmental disabilities. They also will bring 14 new faculty members to KU in a range of disciplines — building lively intellectual communities that are attractive to top researchers and scholars and poised to address critical challenges facing humanity. I am excited to see where these projects lead and how people in Kansas and beyond will benefit from the ideas and solutions they generate.
As you set research intentions for the coming year, please keep in mind that the Office of Research will soon invite proposals for the next round of KU Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Awards, the KU Research GO Awards and the New Faculty Research Development Awards. These internal funding competitions support KU scholars as they address profound and persistent challenges related to attaining the goal of racial equity, prepare competitive proposals for external funding opportunities, and build their research programs as new faculty members.
We’ll also ask for your help recognizing research excellence among your KU colleagues via nominations for the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the Steven F. Warren Research Achievement Award, and the KU Research Staff & Postdoctoral Achievement Awards.
Thank you for all the ways you strive to support and enhance KU’s research enterprise.

Simon Atkinson
Vice Chancellor for Research