MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced a plan Tuesday to double MU’s funding for research and expand research and creative activities that affect the state and beyond.
In front of about 100 students, faculty and staff, including University of Missouri System President Mun Choi, Cartwright’s speech at the Bond Life Sciences Center focused on creating initiatives meant to improve MU’s global reach.
“One of the things we want to do is have people understand we are very serious about becoming a premier Midwestern university,” Cartwright said at a news conference after the speech. “We are a university who wants people to be looking at us and going, ‘Oh, they’re innovative, they’re the university that we want to work with, they’re the university that gets that we can have people connected across all the disciplines and tackling really complex problems.’ And that’s what we want to be known as.”
The plan to double research funding — from $200 million to $400 million in annual expenditures — would work to decrease the funding gaps between MU and other public schools in the Association of American Universities. Cartwright’s plan includes attracting three to five national research centers over five years.
“We want to double the money we’re getting from federal, from private industry and also from philanthropy,” he said during the news conference. “So, it’s a concerted effort on making sure we’re competitive for the largest grants available. The reason I mentioned going after three to five national research centers is that typically those centers position you to be more competitive for research grants.”
Cartwright emphasized the impact these grants would have on the state economy. He said he predicts each national research center would provide about $20 million to $25 million in funding over four to five years. More researchers would translate into more inventions and technologies that will affect companies and increase jobs.
To help receive these grants and improve MU’s research, creative activities and economic development, Cartwright also announced several new initiatives:
- a collection of the highest-ranking academic professors awarded by the UM System Board of Curators, will serve as a resource for MU and provide guidance to students and faculty.
- will engage students and staff in identifying and solving state and world problems.
- will invite professionals, such as artists and musicians to MU. The plan would improve the arts and humanities programs at MU and help drive the economy because “the more vibrant our arts, the more people would want to come to this region,” he said.
- will help identify possible grant opportunities for MU.
Cartwright also said MU’s use of the shared facilities and partnerships among different organizations provided by the planned Translational Precision Medicine Complex, or TPMC, will help MU obtain outside grant funding.
Translational medicine is the combination of research and application: inventing new ways to treat and diagnose illnesses and then using them to help actual patients. Precision medicine is the practice of tailoring medical treatment to the molecule-by-molecule make-up of the patient. At a curators’ meeting last November, creation of the $200 million complex was deemed a top priority.
“Through the TPMC, the university will be able to pursue a collaborative approach to disease treatment and prevention that accounts for individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright said MU is also committed to doubling funding for clinical medical trials to provide Missourians with access to new technologies and treatments.