Research facilities are a cornerstone of any thriving research enterprise. They support, catalyze, and enhance faculty, student and staff research. They elevate our education and training missions. They provide venues for connection, collaboration and impact with the academic, government and private sector research communities. A primary goal of my office is to provide access to, and support, world-class research facilities at the UO.
In 2014 many of the existing shared research facilities on campus were organized within the OVPRI as Research Core Facilities (RCFs). New mechanisms for management, oversight and financial support were introduced at that time, but have not since been formally evaluated. Further, faculty and staff have raised concerns that some of these mechanisms might limit the RCFs’ ability to promote research excellence. Thus, in the fall of 2017, my office launched a strategic planning process. As a first step, I asked all RCFs to develop their own strategic plans with their Faculty Advisory Committees (FACs). Those documents were fed into a larger planning process. In early 2018, I charged a taskforce of faculty and RCF Directors to examine these plans and develop recommendations to enhance research excellence and productivity through these facilities. The charge to the taskforce is included as Appendix A of the attached report.
The taskforce conducted a thorough analysis of the ways in which facilities are managed and supported, and offered insightful recommendations on ways to enhance and sustain the RCFs. The recommendations of the taskforce are provided in the attached document. The comprehensive set of recommendations addresses all aspects of facilities management and support, including mechanisms of institutional support, defining tiers of facilities, best practices for setting rates and cores management.
As we embark on the implementation of these recommendations, I want the research community to rest assured that stakeholders, including, but not limited to, faculty, staff, the Research Advisory Board and Knight Campus leadership, will be consulted throughout the implementation process. It is our intention to implement those changes that have the greatest potential to further enhance the research enterprise at the UO.
Over the summer, we will meet with RCF leaders to develop an implementation plan based on the recommendations of the taskforce and continue discussions with the Knight Campus leadership on how best to coordinate facilities operations to best meet the needs of the UO research community. We will also meet with RCF leaders to review their strategic plans to determine how this office can help implement them. I look forward to working with our faculty and staff as we continue to elevate and enhance the UO’s excellent research facilities.
David O. Conover, PhD
Vice President for Research and Innovation
Professor of Biology
University of Oregon