The most visible source of research support may be federal grants and contracts, and investigators at the University of Kentucky continue to successfully compete for those awards. However, we recognize that there are many scholarly pursuits and creative activities that generally do not have access to external support.
The Office of the Vice President for Research supports these important creative efforts through a number of different programs, including programs that automatically enable leaders within certain disciplines to decide internally who is worthy of support. Additional support is provided through competitive mechanisms.
This year, we initiated a new program to implement Strategic Initiative 1, Action Step 3 of the UK Strategic Plan, namely to provide recurring funds to support research, scholarship and creative works in areas of excellence that are not traditionally amenable to external funding. This program provides, on an annual basis, formulaically-derived funds to eligible units for 1) support of summer salary for research by eligible faculty and 2) support for a broad range of research/creative activities. This new program shifts the responsibility for award decisions from central administration to eligible units. Thus far, these funds have been used to support students, domestic and international travel to present at conferences, field work, for support of study participants and publication fees, and to purchase equipment. This program has allocated a total of $200,000 to the colleges of Arts & Sciences, Gatton College of Business & Economics, Communication & Information, Design, Education, Fine Arts, Law and Social Work.
Our office also supports the University Research Professorship Program. Again, to be consistent with the Strategic Plan, we revised this program to recognize excellence across the full spectrum of research, scholarship and creative endeavors within each of our colleges. Each college selects the recipients. We did this because we recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and thus talent is best identified and recognized by those closest to the area of scholarly pursuit. This program, which has been an incredible testimony to the diversity of talent across the institution, provides $10,000 to support the recipient’s research, scholarship and creative endeavors.
Other programs offered by the Office of Research include Research Activity Awards to stimulate new and bolster existing research, support for national/international conferences that are led by UK faculty, support of postdoctoral fellowships for under-represented groups, support for purchase of equipment and our annual Research Support Grant mechanism. This year our office provided $19,400 in conference support, $50,000 in support for postdocs and $91,472 in equipment support for our talented faculty in units where funding is not typically available.
We are committed to pursuit of creative and scholarly activity, and to put our money where our mouth is, this year the programs described above collectively provided $548,072 to talent across the institution. By partnering with our colleges, and specifically with each Associate Dean for Research, our office is proud to strategically invest in the people and programs that are transforming tomorrow through innovative research, scholarship and creative activity.