1995-1996 indexDistributed March 21, 1996
Richard B. Salomon Research Awards
Brown University creates a $1-million fund to aid faculty research
In the wake of declining federal dollars earmarked for research, Brown University has established the Richard B. Salomon Research Awards. The $1-million fund, established through the bequest of the University's former chancellor, the late Richard B. Salomon, allows senior and junior faculty members with proven track records in one area of research to expand their inquiries into new and bold areas.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- With Congress cutting back on funds earmarked for research at the university level, competition for shrinking federal dollars has placed many faculty, particularly junior members, in a precarious position. They need funds to do research, but to attract research dollars, they need a body of proven research.
"Most grant applications nowadays require preliminary results, which means that one is in a Catch-22 situation where significant progress must be shown for the grant to be successful," said John Marshall, assistant professor of pharmacology and biotechnology. "This makes it difficult for new investigators, such as myself, to get started."
To help faculty members establish a body of research that will help attract outside funding, Brown University has established the Richard B. Salomon Research Awards. The $1-million fund supports excellence in scholarly work by providing funds for faculty research projects deemed of exceptional merit. "This could not have come at a better time, with the reduction in government funding for research," said Kathryn Spoehr, dean of the Graduate School and Research. "This is not only an investment in our faculty, it is an investment in the health of the entire University."
As part of the program, awards will be made annually to faculty members by the University Research Council on the basis of their research proposals. This year the Council awarded close to $250,000 to 19 Brown faculty members. Awards totaling $250,000 will also be made in each of the next three academic years.
"With the government cutting back, this kind of thing needs to happen," said recipient Dian Kriz, assistant professor of the history of art and architecture. "I am pleased that Brown was able to step into the breach."
Faculty will use the awards to pay for travel, computers and software, laboratory research and fieldwork. "As a junior faculty member, it is important to travel and spread the word of your research," said recipient Bent Sorensen, assistant professor of economics.
The program also allows senior and junior faculty members with proven track records in one area of research to expand their inquiries into new and bold areas. For example, Michael Tarr, assistant professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences, is expanding his research in visual object recognition into an area more akin to neuroscience. The expansion has presented problems for Tarr, though. His recent grant application to the National Science Foundation, although enthusiastically received, was rejected because peer reviewers had reservations about his ability to complete his stated objectives. "The Salomon Award will help us show them that we can do the work," Tarr said.
The late Richard B. Salomon was an internationally known businessman, philanthropist and humanitarian who served as chancellor of Brown University from 1979-88. He was a four-term member of the Brown Corporation. Mr. Salomon majored in French and received his Brown degree in 1932. At the age of 24, Mr. Salomon was named president of Charles of the Ritz, Inc., a cosmetics and perfume firm. Twenty years later, he was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, by then a $60- million firm. When he retired in 1972, the company which was acquired by Squibb, had a market value of $100 million.######