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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Old Dominion Launches University-Wide Research Strategic Plan

A plan focused on research, scholarly, and creative expertise is the basis of a new Old Dominion University research agenda, which goes into effect this fall.

The Old Dominion Board of Visitors reviewed the Research Strategic Plan at its June meeting, allowing the Office of Research to move forward with implementing a framework enabling faculty to identify key areas of scholarship. This will help the University invest to grow activities and opportunities that further nurture ODU's mission, said Morris Foster, vice president for research.

The plan emphasizes local research opportunities with national and international interest, Foster said, which is summed up in the new research tagline "Innovate Locally/Transform Globally."

"For example, sea level rise has been a focus of University research, because it affects us locally, but what we're learning can be used around the world," he explained.

As a comprehensive research university, success will be measured in not only numbers, but in the impact of Old Dominion on the community locally, regionally and beyond.

One aspect of the plan includes the identification of opportunities in an organic, self-organized process led by faculty that assembles working groups centered on targeted, multidisciplinary areas matched with internal and external resources and partnerships.

"The new Research Strategic Plan for the University is a substantive and well-considered roadmap that will help guide researchers and administrators alike as ODU, as a multi-faceted institution, transitions to the next level of scholarship and creative activity," said Charles Sukenik, chair of the physics department and a member of the faculty steering committee that helped develop the plan.

With opportunities identified, goals include:

  • An increase of federal research expenditures, which currently stand at $40 million in annual funding;
  • Designate and develop multidisciplinary research areas to compete for National Centers of Excellence;
  • Growth of industry-sponsored research by 10 percent of overall external funding over the next five years;
  • Enhance the university's research reputation by promoting excellent work and scholarship and creative activities by focusing on prestigious awards, fellowships and promoting the quality of the work;

Growth of the university's entrepreneurial activities, including new businesses, intellectual property, partnerships and awards;

ODU will become a leader in the regional arts community; and

Dashboards to support and advocate on behalf of faculty research.

Coordination of collaboration across disciplines and academic units, and support for shared research facilities, equipment and support staff across departments, faculty and colleges are two outstanding parts of the plan, according to Stacie Raymer, professor and chair of Communication Disorders & Special Education.

"Through the Office of Research, interdisciplinary research will be facilitated through coordination and shared infrastructure which will support research efforts that might not otherwise be as successful and feasible," Raymer said.

The Office of Research convened a faculty steering committee last September to generate discussion and ideas that ultimately resulted in the draft document, created after the Old Dominion University Strategic Plan 2014-2019 mandated a plan in support of research goals. The committee was made up of 30 faculty members from across the University, and two open faculty forums were held in April for input on the plan.

Read the full Research Strategic Plan on the Office of Research Website.

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