Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

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Debut blog from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education

3.28.17 | Making Research Work | Marsha Mailick | Original Publication

It was just over 100 years ago when UW-Madison affirmed the importance of research on campus by providing, for the first time, stipulated sums for research ($10,000 in 1914-15 and $15,000 in 1915-16). Today, UW-Madison research expenditures total $1 billion, annually, and we continue to affirm our role as one of the nation’s leading public universities, committed to research and discovery, teaching and public engagement.

Nevertheless, we find ourselves in an uncertain time with an assault on research. With the March 16 release of President Trump’s budget blueprint, we find that the challenges facing our research community – and those across the country — are profound and very charged. They strike at federal funding, which is a cornerstone of research at UW-Madison, and potentially set the stage to significantly reduce our nation’s research infrastructure, put us at a competitive worldwide disadvantage, and hobble our ability to do and be the best we can.

Proposed are deep cuts and even elimination of research areas that we know are critical including lifesaving research, supporting a healthy and sustainable environment, growing our economy, and holding together the very fabric of our cultural diversity and rich history.

You can read the recent federal relations update that lays out the cuts to research in the Trump budget proposal here.

I have been privileged to engage in strong and effective collaborations on campus through my own research, education, and leadership roles. Now, more than ever, we need to do just that – collaborate. I have launched this blog to stay connected with you and to share what the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education is doing to build on our shared values, and develop a plan for sustaining research excellence at UW-Madison.

Our UW2020 program is one strategy developed to do just this. Last academic year, we funded 28 projects proposed by faculty at an average rate of $350,000 each. These awards support transformative research studies and the acquisition of cutting-edge research infrastructure for our campus. The funded projects span all disciplines. Most of these projects offer graduate students the opportunity to share in the experience of building UW-Madison’s research future. In recent weeks, we reviewed this year’s UW2020 proposals. Announcements of the selected projects will be made in the next few weeks. Thus, over two years, we expect to support about 50 research groups on campus including over 250 faculty members and their students. Thanks to WARF, we are able to offer these awards at a critical moment when the federal funding climate has tightened.

We support your research in other ways, including increasing the allocation for the Fall Competition by 22% in the last several years (FY 14 through FY 17), developing an expanded program for matching large grants, and providing subventions for scholarly research published as books or monographs. Links to the OVCRGE research funding programs and additional resources including faculty fellowships can be found on our website under the drop-down menus for “Research Funding” and “Professorships and Faculty Fellowships”.

We hope that this blog will create a conversation in our campus community. We look forward to hearing from you about your concerns and your ideas for what we can do to maintain the strong research standing that UW-Madison has long enjoyed. Please feel free to email us your ideas at [email protected].

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