By Dr. Chris Keane, Vice President for Research 

Greetings! It’s an honor to launch a blog dedicated to communicating the excitement and opportunities associated with research, scholarship and creativity at Washington State University. Just the other day, my young daughter provided a great perspective on my role in supporting the university.

She asked, “Dad- does the Vice President for Research do all the research at WSU?”

“No,” I responded, “Our outstanding faculty, staff and students do. A more accurate title for me would be ‘Vice President for Helping Others do Research.’”

Supporting our faculty, staff and students in taking WSU research to the next level is the primary goal of the Office of Research (OR). This blog is the first in a series of posts aimed at describing the Office of Research goals, capabilities, and future plans as we pursue President Kirk Schulz’s exciting vision of making WSU a top 25 public research university by 2030. We will also share the accomplishments of WSU researchers in the areas of life, physical, and social sciences. We will highlight and celebrate the amazing innovations, discoveries and partnerships we create through research and scholarship. And, we will showcase the research and creative impacts of our WSU students – the next generation of scientists and innovators.

Importantly, we will also solicit your input on how our office can better support the WSU research community and achieve the research-related Drive to 25 goals.

The WSU Research Enterprise

The WSU research enterprise is large and complex. WSU is a Tier 1 research university, with approximately $330M in annual research expenditures. Every year, over 2,000 WSU faculty (that includes all ranks) from our campuses submit approximately 3,000 proposals for sponsored research to federal agencies and other sponsors. Research, scholarly, and creative activities are conducted throughout our multiple campus system and involve more than 1,200 laboratories and 16,000 animals. The University is also home to a diverse set of specialized, leading-edge research facilities and equipment including a nuclear research reactor, biochemical laboratories, high-speed computing, and other capabilities that help WSU researchers and colleagues advance discovery.

WSU’s faculty continues to be recognized for notable achievements. This includes the recent elections of Professor M. Kariuki Njenga to the National Academy of Medicine, Professor Susmita Bose to the National Academy of Inventors, and the nomination of Professor Greg Yasinitsky for a Pulitzer Prize.  Our faculty have also received numerous awards and recognition from professional societies and other organizations associated with the specific disciplines.

WSU Mission, the Drive to 25, and the Office of Research

WSU is Washington State’s land-grant research university, with the mission of advancing, extending, and applying knowledge to help improve quality of life and enhance the economy of the state, nation, and world. The Office of Research supports many of you individually and the University as a whole in achieving this mission by ensuring safe and secure execution of research related activities, developing a multidisciplinary research agenda (the “Grand Challenges”), maintaining and improving our research infrastructure, transferring research and innovation to the marketplace, and enhancing the visibility of WSU research. Our office also works closely with the senior administrative and academic leadership team, faculty, staff, students, external partners, and key stakeholders to execute these activities and support the University’s mission and achievement of the Drive to 25 goals.

Moving Forward

In subsequent posts, our office and partners throughout the University will dive deeper into WSU research in celebrating accomplishments, sharing insights, discussing plans, and extending opportunities provided by our office. It is a very exciting time for research at WSU – and we in OR look forward to sharing research initiatives, our services and the impact of your research, scholarship and creative activities at WSU. Thank you for being able to work alongside with you. Together, along with our valued external partners, we will advance the WSU research enterprise!


Research Highlights

WSU article on negative mass in top articles of 2017

A team of physicists at WSU, led by Professor Peter Engels, announced that they had created “negative mass,” which behaved in surprising ways, such as accelerating backwards when pushed from a forward direction. This article was named one of the top articles of 2017 on Phys.org.

WSU faculty member named Fellow of Agricultural & Applied Economics Association

Singled out for her research, teaching, service and leadership, Dr. Jill McCluskey, Distinguished Professor of Sustainability at WSU’s School of Economic Sciences, was named a Fellow of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) on Jan. 4.

Registration open for science communications conference

Registration is now open for Science Talk, a science communications conference with a focus on increasing science’s impact in society through better communication. The conference will be Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.

Susmita Bose named to National Academy of Inventors

Susmita Bose, the Herman and Brita Lindholm Endowed Chair and Professor in Washington State University’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. National Academy of Inventors (NAI) fellows are academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Digital archiving project receives prestigious Mellon grant

WSU researchers have received a $555,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support development and evaluation of a unique online platform for gathering, curating and sharing Native American library and archive collections nationwide.