Office of the President

Office of the President

Research Implementation

The Research Implementation Team spent the 2014-15 academic year outlining a solid — and achievable — path to greater national prominence as a public research university. With the ultimate goal to emerge as a Tier One research university, UNT is actively working to strengthen its research and economic development activity and funding, develop key research strengths, and establish more public and private partnerships.

Led by Tom McCoy, vice president for research and economic development, this team is focused on creating a strong research master plan that clearly identifies the resources and infrastructure UNT needs to attain its goals. To build a stronger research and economic development enterprise at UNT, the team identified key strategies to create a more research-active culture, increase research funding, increase technology transfer and economic development, and build more industry collaborations. 

The Path to Prominence  

Achieving national prominence and Tier One status as a research institution are two separate, but related goals, and they are long-term goals that center on building UNT’s research enterprise and productivity.

As one of Texas’ emerging research universities, UNT already has a strong foundation with a broad base of research and scholarship across many disciplines from the arts to social science to science and engineering. And it is fast becoming a research hub for plant sciences, renewable energy technologies, bioproducts, computational research, materials science and engineering, and logistics.

But to advance, UNT must change its culture to be more research-active and focused on collaboration and commercialization.  

To more strategically move the university forward in research productivity, albeit in incremental steps, the team is overseeing several projects that ultimately will lead to more national prominence for UNT. Those projects fall under the following umbrella strategies:

  • Outlining a clear Path to RU/VH (research university with very high research activity). RU/VH is an important metric of achieving Tier One status, as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education™, a framework for measuring institutional characteristics. UNT is currently classified as a research university with high research activity, or RU/H, which is one level away from RU/VH.
  • Improving Grants and Contracts service
  • Expanding Research Space and Shared Facilities
  • Establishing RU/VH Caliber Technology Transfer
  • Energizing UNT’s Economic Development

One key goal is to hit $45 million in annual restricted research expenditures — a metric established by the state of Texas through a fund to support emerging research universities like UNT — in the next 10 years. UNT must make substantial increases along the way to more than double its research enterprise.

Leveraging UNT’s success to date is the best move forward. For example, capitalizing on the faculty cluster hires in plant science and materials science is enabling UNT to launch three Research Institutes of Excellence in areas that UNT already has a critical mass of knowledge and faculty collaborating on research. The institutes — the BioDiscovery Institute and the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute, along with the Logistics Systems Institute — are expected to launch in fall 2015.

Areas for Improvement

This past year, the team’s priorities were to:

  • Streamline the university’s research processes to become more efficient and helpful to faculty and university partners
  • Outline accountable steps to increase national research prominence
  • Provide better outreach and service to key university communities, as well as business and industry
  • Pave the way for greater research impacts and more funding

The Research Implementation Team also identified key areas for immediate improvement that would help the university create a more research-active faculty who are better able to drive stronger programs in technology transfer and commercialization in research. The team focused on ways to improve internal processes, service and support — from providing graduate student tuition support to overhauling the grants and contracts office —  to grow a more research productive faculty body.

Research Implementation Team Projects by Theme

The projects appear in no particular order.

 

Research

Research Infrastructure

Faculty

Research Collaborations

Economic Development

Graduate Student Recruitment/Enrollment/Support

RESEARCH

Project

Research Active Faculty

Summary

The goal of the project is to increase the number or research active/grant active STEM faculty. 

Status

15 percent and ongoing
This project is a partnership between the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research and Economic Development.

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Academic Affairs

Finley Graves
Deans

 

Project

Launch the Institutes of Research Excellence – Advanced Materials in Manufacturing Processes (AMMPI), BioDiscovery Institute (BDI), Logistics Systems Institute (LSI).  Also includes the existing Institute of Applied Science (IAS).

Summary

The goal of the project is to support the Institutes of Research Excellence by building on the faculty hired as part of the research clusters program along with existing highly productive faculty, initially in three areas:  bio-discovery, logistics, materials science. 

Status

50 percent and ongoing
The plan for the institutes has been fully developed and membership in the institutes has been established. The institutes are expected to launch in Fall 2015 and an announcement about their existences is slated for October.

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Academic Affairs

Rajiv Mishra
Rick Dixon
Terry Pohlen
Sam Atkinson
Institutes members 

 

Project

Research Productivity

Summary

The goal of the project is to optimize faculty composition to increase research productivity. 

Status

25 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Academic Affairs

Finley Graves
Deans
Chairs

 

Project

Interdisciplinary Research

Summary

The goal of the project is to increase interdisciplinary success campus-wide. 

Status

20 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

Finley Graves
Deans
Chairs

RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE

Project

Research Infrastructure Investments 

Summary

The goal of the project is to continually optimize investments in campus facilities and infrastructure to increase research productivity.

Status

15 percent and ongoing  

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

President's Office

President Neal Smatresk
Cabinet members

 

Project

Research Space  

Summary

The goal of the project is to increase research space across campus and establish and create Shared Instrumentation Research facilities. 

Status

25 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

David Schultz

Academic Affairs

Members of the Advisory Committee for each facility

 

Project

Office of Grants and Contracts Administration

Summary

The goal of the project is to continually improve the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration (OGCA).

Status

30 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Academic Affairs

Members of the Advisory Committee for each facility

FACULTY

Project

Promotion and Tenure Standards

Summary

The goal of the project is to align UNT promotion and tenure standards with those of RU/VH (research university with very high research activity) institutions, according to Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Status

50 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Finley Graves, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Members (by division, group)

 

Academic Affairs

Deans
Chairs
Faculty members

RESEARCH COLLABORATIONS

Project

SBIR and STTR federal proposals

Summary

The goal of the project is to assist faculty with SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) proposals to federal agencies by facilitating company collaborations.

Status

20 percent and ongoing
The groundwork has been set in place to begin this project in the fall/2015-16 academic year.

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

Associate VPs

 

Project

Research-Industry Collaborations

Summary

The goal of the project is to identify problems where UNT may be able to provide solutions by visiting R&D (research and development) operations of companies in the DFW metroplex and aligning company scientists and engineers with faculty expertise at UNT. 

Status

20 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

Associate VPs

 

Project

Shared Instrumentation Facilities

Summary

The goal of the project is to market UNT's Shared Instrumentation Facilities to the private sector and facilitate the gaining of access to these facilities.

Status

25 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

David Schultz

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Project

Technology Transfer 

Summary

The goal of the project is to create a successful Technology Transfer Office and Commercialization Process at UNT. 

Status

25 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

New Associate VP for Economic Development

 

Project

Office of Economic Development

Summary

The goal of the project is to create an Office of Economic Development in the Office of Research and Economic Development.

Status

50 percent and ongoing
Search is underway for new Associate Vice President for Economic Development and two directors.

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

 

Search Committee members

 

Project

Discovery Park Plan

Summary

The goal of the project is to develop a vision for Discovery Park and its potential contributions to economic development, and to the growth of the College of Engineering and the College of Information.

Status

20 percent and ongoing
The groundwork has been set in place to begin this project in the 2015-16 academic year.

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

President's Office

President Neal Smatresk

Academic Affairs

Finley Graves

Finance and Administration

Bob Brown

Advancement

David Wolf

 

Project

Economic Development Collaborations

Summary

The goal of the project is to collaborate with economic development offices in the DFW metroplex and become an economic development partner for cities, communities and industry. 

Status

40 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

New Associate Vice President for Economic Development

 

Project

Alliance Airport Collaborations

Summary

The goal of the project is to build a strong collaboration with Alliance Airport including establishing a Logistics Lab at Alliance similar to the one in the BLB. 

Status

25 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

New Associate VP for Economic Development

Academic Affairs

Terry Pohlen, LSI director
members of the Logistics Systems Institutes

GRADUATE STUDENT RECRUITMENT/ENROLLMENT/SUPPORT

Project

Graduate Student Tuition  

Summary

The goal of the project is to provide tuition for all funded 0.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) graduate TAs (teaching assistants) and RAs (research assistants).

Status

100 percent complete

Team Lead

Finley Graves, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Members (by division, group)

 

Research and Economic
Development

Tom McCoy

Finance and Administration

Bob Brown

Toulouse Graduate School

Costas Tsatsoulis

 

Project

Graduate Student Recruitment  

Summary

The goal of the project is to re-invest revenues from the tuition assistance program to enhance the quality and the quantity of graduate students.

Status

20 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Finley Graves, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Costas Tsatsoulis, Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School

Members (by division, group)

Tom McCoy

 

Project

Research Funding for Graduate Students

Summary

The goal of the project is to increase funding for research support for graduate students in all disciplines. 

Status

10 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Members (by division, group)

Costas Tsatsoulis

 

Project

Graduate Student Mentoring

Summary

The goal of the project is to improve mentoring and support of graduate students. 

Status

25 percent and ongoing

Team Lead

Finley Graves, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Deans and chairs

Members (by division, group)

Tom McCoy