September 7, 2007

Basic science input sought for research enterprise plan

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Basic science input sought for research enterprise plan

Faculty members engaged in basic research are invited to explore ways to enhance Vanderbilt's research environment, improve communication and help make its research enterprise even more competitive.

The initiative will add a basic research perspective to Vanderbilt University Medical Center's research enterprise strategic plan, which was updated last year and which focused on clinical and translational science.

Launched by Jeffrey Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research, the effort is being organized by Andrea Baruchin, Ph.D., chief of staff in the Office of Research, and Michael Waterman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry.

The initiative will be led by the faculty — specifically by six faculty committees. Over the course of the current academic year, the committees will explore ways to:

• Improve two-way communication between the Medical Center administration and faculty;

• Encourage collaboration among Vanderbilt researchers, for example, by sharing information and resources;

• Measure the success of the research enterprise, including departments and centers;

• Enrich the research environment, for example, by acquiring resources, recruiting faculty, reorganizing programs or even creating new departments;

• Enhance graduate and post-graduate education; and

• Bolster Vanderbilt's reputation for research excellence, and increase the visibility of Vanderbilt scientists, both at the national and international levels.

These descriptions are “purposely terse because we don't want to be saying what should happen,” Baruchin said. “We want the faculty to tell us what should happen.”

“The whole goal is to make what's already a very good environment for research even better,” added Waterman.

Faculty members from across the Vanderbilt campus who have submitted NIH or NSF grants within the last five years or who currently have such grants, as well as those on the tenure track, are being invited to participate in the committee work.

Those who have not yet been invited and who would like to participate can contact Baruchin at 343-0729 or

To view the strategic plan, go to the Office of Research Web site at Click on “About VUMC Research” on the left-hand menu, then “Strategic Plan.”