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Letter from the Chair

August 2015

Dear University of Missouri System Faculty,

On behalf of all of the members of the University of Missouri Research Board, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the UMRB website and to encourage you to submit proposals for UMRB funding. Open to full-time research faculty on the four campuses of the University of Missouri System, Research Board funding aims to support the highest achievement in creative, scholarly, and research projects. We are very fortunate to have a grant program that exists to support our research development, one that can help junior faculty launch their careers and one that can allow senior faculty to begin new ventures.

Since its foundation in 1992, the Research Board has awarded some $73 million to research active faculty in the UM System. Annually, over $2 million is granted to the very best research proposals submitted in two funding cycles (October and February). UMRB grants have offered opportunities for field and archival research, provided internal funding for projects that went on to receive external grant funding, enhanced research facilities, underwritten international conferences, provided release time for writing that has resulted in award-winning publications, and financed a range of creative productions and exhibitions. Data on the number of requests received and funded each year, as well as total dollars awarded is available here. We are particularly grateful to UM System President Tim Wolfe and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Research and Economic Development, Hank Foley, for their continued support of the Research Board mission.

While the Research Board considers a variety of research proposals with a range of deliverables, the Board rewards projects that promise a significant return investment. Towards that end, proposals seeking seed money to support a new venture that may lead to external funding is but one possibility. Others might include significant publications that promise to enhance the field of study. Still others might be exhibitions of creative art. In wishing to support the work of research faculty, the Board aims foremost to support proposals from junior faculty, in part because an investment in a researcher or scholar just starting out has the potential to help launch a career in which the UM System benefits through the continued productivity of a tenured professor. The Board also invites proposals from senior faculty who are developing a new area of expertise. In any case, applicants should be aware that these awards are particularly competitive: only those that are well conceived, articulated, and presented – and which review outstanding written evaluations – are awarded money.

Research Board members, representing a broad range of disciplines, are elected from the four campuses and usually serve a two-year term. Collectively, they manage the funding process, from reading the proposals to securing qualified reviewers, from evaluating the merits of individual proposals to making funding decisions. It is a heavy responsibility, one we do not take lightly. We know that this fund, which is set aside solely for research development, is unusual across the nation and that we have an obligation to make sure the dollars are well spent. Thus, we aim to be good stewards of these resources. Further, while many of the Research Board members are more than happy to provide general information about the UMRB, our conflict-of-interest policy prohibits us from consulting on specific proposals, either new or revised ones. Ashley (Wilson) Berg, Funding Programs Coordinator, is available, however, to answer questions about the proposal submission and funding processes.

We look forward to receiving your proposals: it is your research, scholarship, and creative endeavors that make the UM System a great place to work, and it is your successes that contribute directly to our reputation as a major university system. Many in the UM System, moreover, are asked to review proposals, and to all of you we send our hearty thanks. It is because we provide this service to the profession that this award process works. Your support means that we can continue to underwrite significant creative and scholarly projects that will benefit us all.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Virginia Blanton

  • Professor of English, UMKC

Chair, University of Missouri Research Board

Reviewed October 01, 2015.