Over the past six months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you and learning more about the good work you are doing on behalf of students and Nebraskans. I’ve visited your classrooms and laboratories, toured research and extension facilities, and talked with you about your goals and ideas for the university’s future.
The time I’ve spent on the campuses and engaging with talented colleagues has further convinced me that the University of Nebraska has the potential to change the world. We have the expertise to own the conversation about feeding a global population that is expected to grow to 9.6 billion people by 2050. We can lead the way in ensuring that every child, regardless of background, has the opportunity to be successful. We are positioned to improve the care and quality of life of the many Nebraskans who will face a battle with cancer. We have ambitious plans in place to meet the engineering and information technology needs of the future in our state and beyond. And those are just a few examples. With the right focus and investments, we can become a true giant in higher education.
We have work ahead. While we are not short on energy or expertise, I envision a much larger, more collaborative University of Nebraska research enterprise in the future, one that is doing even more to grow the economy and serve people in Nebraska and around the world. By taking some strategic steps, we can build our research capacity in order to enhance our reputation in key areas, attract additional talent, and become more competitive for coveted federal dollars. One way to do this is by more fully leveraging the intellectual capacity that exists across our campuses. There are a number of examples of University of Nebraska research projects that cross campus borders – but I believe we have opportunities to do much more by putting our collective strengths to work to address challenges facing our state and the world. These challenges are too significant for any one campus or institution to solve alone. But together, we can make a real difference.
“I envision a much larger, more collaborative University of Nebraska research enterprise in the future, one that is doing even more to grow the economy and serve people in Nebraska and around the world.”
To that end, I have launched a new university-wide research collaboration initiative that will make grant funding available to multi-campus research teams as well as teams involving multiple Nebraska higher education institutions. The first round of grants will be given to teams pursuing projects that address societal and human health issues related to food. “Food for health” is already an area in which we have built significant national and international expertise. The Food for Health Collaboration Initiative will position us to build on our success, growing our capacity and competitiveness while fostering new connections among faculty from across disciplines and campuses.
Detailed information on the collaboration initiative has been sent to faculty by the Office of the Provost. I encourage interested faculty to attend a retreat on Nov. 13 at Nebraska Innovation Campus to learn more. Later rounds of grant funding through the collaboration initiative will be focused on other areas where additional investments and focus will position us for global leadership. My hope is that this initiative advances a culture of collaboration and partnership across the University of Nebraska, one in which our faculty are continually looking for new ways to work together to find solutions for the major challenges of the day. To me, that’s one of the great strengths of an institution like the University of Nebraska: four campuses, each with unique strengths, but with opportunities to leverage our collective talents and resources to serve as a catalyst for change in Nebraska and beyond.
Those opportunities exist because of your good work. Thank you for all you do for the University of Nebraska.
President, University of Nebraska