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

Mary Lee Hummert, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research

Danny Anderson, 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
Marta Caminero-Santangelo, Acting 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.
Bold Aspirations

Bold Aspirations is the strategic plan for KU, comprising individual plans for the following:

Policy Library Search

Visit the Policy Office for more information.

Happy Kansas Day, Kansans! We caught sunflowers standing tall at the Grinter Family Farms just outside Lawrence last fall. You may wonder how the sunflower came to be the State flower in 1903 and we found an excerpt from Kansas legislation: Whereas, Kansas has a native wild flower common throughout her borders, hardy and conspicuous, of definite, unvarying and striking shape, easily sketched, moulded, and carved, having armorial capacities, ideally adapted for artistic reproduction, with its strong, distinct disk and its golden circle of clear glowing rays -- a flower that a child can draw on a slate, a woman can work in silk, or a man can carve on stone or fashion in clay; and Whereas, This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, "the sunflower state"... Be it enacted ... that the helianthus or wild native sunflower is ... designated ... the state flower and floral emblem of the state of Kansas.

Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (, associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.

Green Office

Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • 26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times