Strategic Plan Executive Summary

This document presents a plan for the growth of research at Brown that will enhance its status and visibility as a major, international research university. It details both the vision driving this transformation and implementation steps that the University must take to achieve it.

Three goals must be accomplished:

  • Promote and invest in faculty research so that it leads to significant scholarly or artistic production
  • Build and support a more integrated research infrastructure
  • Select and establish signature areas that will receive major investment in terms of research support, faculty hires, and growth of graduate programs

More specifically, Brown should aim to accomplish the following over the next 10 years:

  • Have world-renowned signature research areas throughout the University
  • Identify areas of potential growth in research activities
  • Facilitate, encourage, and recognize research, publications, public lectures, and performances to increase the visibility of our faculty’s work and research
  • Actively recognize and promote the impact of Brown research
  • Increase the numbers of collaborative proposals submitted
  • Increase the annual average sponsored funding
  • Increase the number of doctoral students to support signature areas
  • Increase the number of faculty who are in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, or the Institute of Medicine
  • Increase the number of faculty receiving national fellowships, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship and National Book Awards
  • Increase major public and/or private research grants, such as the National Children’s Study Alternative Recruitment Studies Contract, the Superfund Basic Research Program Grant, the NSF award for the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, the Keck Foundation Award for Development of the XROM Method, and NSF support for the Materials Research Science & Engineering Centers. These awards involve multiple investigators and support research by providing annual multi-million dollar funding increments. Examples of the types of awards Brown should apply for include the NSF Engineering Research Centers, the NSF Science and Technology Centers, and NIH Centers of Excellence.
  • Show significant increases in citations and publications in all fields
  • Increase additional major research partnerships, such as those we have with the hospitals, General Motors, IBM, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and Draper Laboratory Increase royalties obtained from licenses
  • Increase university-hospital research collaboration


Achievement of these ambitious goals will require the following investments and actions to be implemented. If done in a timely fashion, Brown should expect to see preliminary measures of success at the end of three years. The required implementation steps are the following:

  • Develop collaboration throughout the University to align strategies, policies, and investments to create and advance the research enterprise across Brown.
  • Invest in research infrastructure (e.g., equipment, facilities, and services) to build capacity for the research enterprise to meet Brown’s aspirations.
  • Identify signature areas for research that are collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, and make appropriate investments for them to be world renowned. Some of these already exist at Brown and they must first be fully supported and developed before new activities are started. Others will be new areas that should grow from faculty interests.
  • Invest in staff to build capacity in the Office of the Vice President for Research to aid in developing the research enterprise as described in this document and to support the research of the faculty. Initially this investment will require additional staffing to grow existing areas of research strength, to oversee the growth of new signature areas, to develop large-scale proposals, and to manage sponsored funding and compliance issues. As a result OVPR should help lead the following efforts:
    • Develop a more integrated, cross-functional research administration and compliance team to benefit the entire University so that it strengthens conditions for both individual and collaborative enterprises.
    • Host workshops, information sessions on funding, and help with grant writing.
    • Diversify funding streams and serve faculty across campus by building models that integrate new research alliances, industry collaborations, entrepreneurial activities, and business opportunities


The ability of Brown to achieve these goals, along with the more specific challenges set out below, will require that the Office of the Vice President for Research, which has led in the preparation of this document, collaborate with many different offices at the University and help the faculty in every way to get research completed. This cooperation and collaboration will be an essential element in the success of this plan.


View a pdf of the Executive Summary.

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