The Research Infrastructure Investment Initiative
Dear faculty, staff, and students,
As I outlined in my most recent budget update, we balanced the budget again this year primarily through targeted, differential cuts and selected, strategic investments, including essential capital projects such as the Biomedical Discovery District, as well as strong financial support for students, especially those from low- and middle-income Minnesota families. It is important to recognize that we aren't simply cutting the University to the bone and trying to survive the economic downturn. In fact, we are doing everything we can with very limited resources to strengthen the University for the long term.
At the July 2010 Board of Regents meeting this week, I had the pleasure of announcing a critical new effort to support our research mission: the Research Infrastructure Investment Initiative, or I3. This initiative was developed by Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy to meet the University of Minnesota's most pressing research infrastructure needs. It will provide $15 million derived from commercialization of University technology, which, when combined with $5 million of matching funds from academic reallocations, will provide $20 million to support major equipment purchases and support for highly trained technical personnel needed to support major research equipment or provide critical expertise to support complex research areas.
Funding for the I3 initiative derives from the University's share of royalties that have accrued over the past five years from commercialization of University-based technologies, in keeping with Board of Regents policy. This one-time funding will be awarded through a competitive, peer-reviewed process and will be available to support selected proposals for up to five years from the time of award.
Goals of the initiative include enhancing research competitiveness, providing incentives for faculty to act together to improve core facilities, and providing much-needed capital in lean times. I3
will address critical infrastructure needs across the broad spectrum of the University's academic disciplines, including the arts, humanities, and social sciences, as well as the natural sciences. More specific information can be found on the Infrastructure Investment Initiative
Even in challenging economic times--some might say especially in lean times--these types of investments are critically important. I want to thank Vice President Mulcahy and other leaders for developing this creative initiative to provide essential support for our research mission. I have said many times that we cannot cut our way the future--that we must continue to invest in academic quality and mission-critical infrastructure. I will continue to provide periodic updates on important initiatives like I3 in order to showcase the many creative ways we continue to move the University forward.
Robert H. Bruininks