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College of Business Funded Research
The U.S. has many of the top research universities in the world but many factors threaten its domination.  National and state budget cuts, global competition and changing demographics of the student population are a few.  The U.S. must invest in education and innovative techniques, as it has done in the past, to remain competitive. 
Research is at the heart of innovation, and universities play the critical role in providing new techniques, methodologies and products.  Historically, American innovation has been the driving force for its economic prosperity.  The need for that innovation has not diminished.  When research is at its best the economy will generate venture-capital funding, new start-ups and new jobs.  A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “every dollar of U.S. public funding for medical research increases U.S. private investment by 32 cents.”  (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009).  This is an example of how university-based research creates a wealth of knowledge that is then used by the private sector.  Many American technological innovations started in research universities.

UTSA is striving to become a Tier One institution and is seeking to attract top-tier faculty and students.  It is a fact that communities with outstanding universities take great pride in that reputation and have a deeper and more committed interest in “their” university.  Community-based businesses are more likely to utilize the university and to help fund its efforts.  Tier One universities serve to attract both new companies to the local area and more students wanting a prestigious degree from a strong academic institution.  It is a virtuous circle that is positive for all parties.
Below is an excerpt from UTSA 2016 – A Shared Vision, Implementation Plan 2008 – 2016. It outlines the strategy and tactics developed by UTSA which relate to research and scholarly activities.  As President Romo has stated, it is a marathon and not a sprint.  These activities take place, over time, to achieve Tier One status.  Elements of the implementation plan for expanded research and innovations include the following.

  • Provide incentives and support for interdisciplinary/collaborative research.
  • Develop faculty workload guidelines that promote scholarly activity while fulfilling UTSA’s educational mission.
  • Provide education and training of administration, faculty and staff in research issues.
  • Increase support for faculty and students to participate in  professional activities that contribute to UTSA’s mission.
  • Provide adequate IT support for research computing, networking, visualization and communication.

Innovation needs to be part of the culture at UTSA and embedded in all research planning, processes and infrastructure.  UTSA is putting in place training for faculty, establishing research service centers to support faculty research and creating incentives to encourage faculty to conduct both funded and non-funded research.
As part of the strategy discussed above, the College of Business has established an incentive program for grant writing to assist faculty members in their pursuit of external grant funding.  The following incentives are available to faculty members who write grant proposals which exceed $100,000.

  • The writing of grants will be taken into consideration during a faculty member’s annual evaluation.
  • Seed money is available to assist faculty where needed in the process of delivering funded research.
  • Successful procurement of grants will be viewed favorably for faculty entering the tenure and promotion process. 
  • There is the potential for course load reduction for faculty.

As it relates to research, this is a time for change at UTSA and the College of Business.  Funded research is not inherently more difficult than producing a publication or non-funded research.  However, it requires learning a new skill and creating relationships.  Grants are not always given to top universities, but rather to those which have exhibited the ability to manage the grants successfully. 
There is a UTSA service center that is dedicated to assisting all faculty in the College of Business identify new grant opportunities, format the application and manage the process to completion.
Faculty who bring in research grants also contribute to their departments by providing funds which offset the general cost of maintaining the campus and its academic environment.  This benefits all faculty members. 

Those faculty members interested in pursuing grants can contact members of the service center established to assist the College of Business.  There is also information available within this research website to assist faculty.  For more information, contact Hamid Beladi, associate dean of research in the College of Business at hamid.beladi@utsa.edu or by calling (210) 458-7038.

 

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