Research Investment Council

The Research Investment Council (RIC) advises the provost and executive vice chancellor on investments to support the four strategic initiative themes. The investments are solicited through a two-level competitive grant program described below. The RIC meets a minimum of three times a year, with additional meetings as needed at the request of the provost.

Overarching Principles to Guide Investments

  1. Prioritize central investments based upon a multidisciplinary focus directly tied to a strategic initiative theme, current faculty and research staff strength, university faculty hiring goals, likelihood of sustained success, and cost-sharing by the requesting units.
  2. Capitalize on existing centers and funding mechanisms to avoid duplication and complexity.
  3. Utilize periodic review of existing centers in order to identify opportunities for greater efficiency and increased synergy for multidisciplinary collaborations.
  4. Add new structures such as research centers to facilitate the university’s competitive position in areas with long-term growth and funding potential.
  5. Establish clear milestones for funded projects.

RIC Membership

The RIC is chaired by the vice chancellor for research, with the provost and the vice provosts for faculty development and administration and finance serving as ex officio members. Eight committee members are appointed by the provost to serve staggered, three-year terms. Members include deans, center directors, and faculty researchers.

Research Investment Council Members

Jim Tracy, Vice Chancellor for Research

Don Steeples, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (2012–2015)
Ken Audus, Dean of the School of Pharmacy (2013–2016)
Ann Brill, Dean of the School of Journalism (2014–2017)

Center Directors:
Perry Alexander, Director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (2014-2017)
Victor Bailey, Director of the Hall Center for the Humanities (2012–2015)

Faculty Researchers:
Neal Kingston, Professor, Psychology and Research in Education (2012–2015)
Mabel Rice, Fred and Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies, Speech-Language-Hearing (2014-2017)

University of Kansas Medical Center Representative:
Dianne Durham, Professor, Otolaryngology, Director, Division of Research (2013–2016)

Ex Officio:
Jeffrey S. Vitter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Diane Goddard, Vice Provost for Administration and Finance
Mary Lee Hummert, Vice Provost for Faculty Development

RIC members are charged with representing the best interests of the university, not their home units, in evaluating investment proposals. The council seeks advice of external subject-matter experts as needed. The vice chancellor for research chairs the council meetings but does not vote on proposals.

Two-Level Strategic Initiative Grant Program

Level I:
Large grant requests of over $50,000 (typically $100,000 to $300,000 in total over the grant period, with higher amounts possible with exceptional justification) may be submitted to the RIC to support large, multidisciplinary proposals related to a strategic initiative theme.

Funds provided through this program are available to support such activities as course releases, equipment purchase, postdoctoral researchers, external consultants, service lab fees, infrastructure, conferences, speaker series, etc., as appropriate to prepare for or enable major sustained funding of the research program. Funding may be requested for one year or longer (up to three years maximum) depending upon the time frame for the opportunity and the current strengths and weaknesses of KU.

Evaluation criteria include:

  1. The proposal’s potential to raise KU’s stature in a strategic initiative theme that will have prolonged positive impact;
  2. Demonstrated collaboration of multiple departments or schools, either current or activated through the proposal.
  3. Evidence of the proposal’s potential for success, documented in a plan that includes specific benchmarks and milestones for the duration of the funding period and beyond.
  4. Evidence of a range of specific opportunities and diverse funding sources that will sustain the project beyond the funding period.
  5. Evidence that the proposal addresses a critical research need that could not be met through existing internal funding mechanisms or research units.

In addition, applicants’ involvement in one or more ongoing Level I awards will be taken into consideration by the RIC.

Applicants will receive a review summary from the RIC including scores per criterion. Proposals that do not receive funding on the initial submission may be revised and resubmitted one additional time in a subsequent round of Level I submissions.

Level II:
Small grant requests of $5,000 to $50,000 may be submitted to support preparation of proposals with application deadlines in the near future (i.e., three months to one year).

Funds provided through this program are available to support such activities as course releases, equipment purchase, external consultants, etc., as appropriate to facilitate preparation of the proposal. Funds may not be used for pilot studies. These investments will require an expedited review process to capitalize on the immediate opportunity for proposal submissions. The RIC delegates responsibility for reviewing these requests to the Office of Research for the sake of efficiency and rapid turnaround. KU Research submits an annual Level II investment report to the RIC.

Evaluation criteria include:

  1. Evidence that the proposal
    1. Builds upon and enhances existing research success/productivity or fundamental curricular programs of high quality (e.g., a Title VI proposal);
    2. Or alternatively develops research network capacity to respond to a new or emerging research area, perhaps preparatory to a Level I proposal.
  2. Demonstrated collaboration of multiple departments/schools related to strategic initiative themes either current or activated through the proposal.
  3. Clarity of the proposal goal and specification of how the funding will achieve that goal.
  4. Feasibility of a successful submission for funding within the time frame of the proposal.
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