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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

UT researchers push to top last year s $27M

The University of Toledo aims to nearly double the amount of external research funding it receives in the next five years.

UT researchers in all disciplines brought in more than $27 million in funding last year - a university record - but a report to the board of trustees yesterday indicates they believe they can boost that figure to more than $50 million by the 2007-2008 academic year.

“It s a stretch, but we ve been successful and I m optimistic,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice provost for research, graduate education, and economic development.

If it meets its goal, UT would join such schools as Rice University and the University of Notre Dame, which had more than $45 million in research expenditures during fiscal year 2002, according to a survey by the Association of University Technology Managers.

“We re trying to increase the stature of the university as a research university,” Dr. Calzonetti said.

The technology managers survey tracks research expenditures instead of awards, but the list can be useful in comparing research support across universities because the numbers do not tend to be far apart, he said.

The survey shows UT spent $24.8 million in fiscal year 2002. The University of Akron, Medical College of Ohio, and Kent State University all had less than $20 million each in research expenditures. Bowling Green State University spent a little more than $5 million.

The University of California system topped the list, spending more than $2.4 billion.

Dr. Calzonetti said a plan endorsed by UT s trustees to hire 150 full-time faculty members in the next 10 years, most of whom will be active in research, will help make meeting its goal possible.

One challenge will be finding space for the additional research activity. Plans are in the works to help resolve that issue.

The aggressive research goal was one of a series of “performance indicators” approved by the board of trustees during its meeting yesterday in UT s Student Union.

Other goals outlined in the report include:

w Increasing the number of classrooms with wireless Internet connectivity from less than 5 percent to 75 percent over the next five years.

w Steadily increasing retention of first-year students, eventually improving its rate from 75 percent to 85 percent over the next decade.

w Increasing last year s 65 alumni events by 85 percent over five years.

Board Chairman Joan Uhl Browne said such benchmarks needed to be set in order to keep the board focused on strategic thinking.

Robert Sheehan, senior vice provost for academic affairs, said the indicators will give the public and trustees a good means of evaluating the university. “[These] benchmark indicators that [have] been developed on your watch are things that will make us much stronger,” he said.



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