Dear colleagues,

This summer has been packed with activity in the OVPRI, especially with the launch of the One VCU Strategic Research Priorities Plan (SRPP). Inspired by your work and the public impact of VCU’s research, scholarship and creative practice, the VCU Board of Visitors and President Michael Rao provided unequivocal support, officially launching the SRPP on July 1.

This plan, developed over the past two years with faculty leading the design, reflects the research strengths of our faculty, staff, trainees and students and serves as the roadmap for collaborating to address society’s grand challenges to ultimately shape a better future. Now is the time for VCU to demonstrate our collective strength, challenge assumptions and lead in establishing meaningful, inclusive and sustainable solutions to improve the human condition.

Where we are: We have established an advisory council to guide our investment strategies, methods of evaluation, and progress reporting. As co-chairs of the council, Michael Donnenberg, M.D., and Kathy Rudasill, Ph.D., will ensure continuity as we move beyond design, into the implementation of the SRPP. Lisa Ballance has been appointed to oversee the implementation in her role as my senior advisor. Advisory council members have been appointed representing each college, school, and major center/institute. This high level of engagement will ensure that our approach remains solidly in alignment with the goals and objectives of the plan’s design.

Next steps: We are preparing for growth. The OVPRI, in addition to facilitating all external submissions and internal/external compliance requirements, will lead opportunities to develop research administration teams across the enterprise. You will soon hear more about the importance of recognizing research and development in all disciplines, including those where research, scholarship, and creative practice influences change outside the traditional walls of a research setting. Finally, we are preparing for an early October event for which we will share details on next month so you will be able to reserve the date to participate in person or via live-stream.

In the meantime, please accept my gratitude for the many ways in which you inspire innovation across the research enterprise and beyond.


P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Innovation