On the Way to Becoming Internationally Known for Research

March 14, 2023

During CU Denver’s first State of Research presentation earlier this month, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research Phillip De Leon shared that the numbers in 2023 are looking good, so far, and that CU Denver’s research enterprise is showing signs of early momentum in pursuit of Goal 3 of the 2030 Strategic Plan

Sponsored research awards generated by CU Denver faculty are up 62% ($17.9 million) this year compared to the same time last year, he shared.  

Numbers are just part of the picture. De Leon said he is cautiously optimistic about the rest of the year in part because of the faculty and staff he’s met since arriving on campus in August 2022. Faculty, staff, and students here are passionate about research that makes an impact. 

Becoming internationally known for our research and creative work is Goal 3 of CU Denver’s strategic plan, and De Leon and his team are working to help support faculty and their teams to reach that goal. The State of Research presentation on March 9 was his first opportunity to give the community an update on progress being made toward Goal 3. The presentation will occur each year moving forward, De Leon said. One of the primary messages he’s heard during meetings with faculty, deans, and others during his first few months is the need to communicate more often. 

The 30-minute presentation covered a range of topics including: 

  • Updates on Research Grand Challenges Round 1 and 2 
  • The revamped SEED funding program, designed to provide support for faculty proposal development efforts that seek external funding in the arts and humanities 
  • The offerings and services of the Office of Research Services (ORS) examples of student research and why that matters 
  • Efforts to increase promotion of research news 
  • The current state of research at CU Denver 

Grand Challenges 

In line with Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan, ORS has been charged with growing a contemporary interdisciplinary research and creative works enterprise that focuses and amplifies CU Denver’s impact. The Grand Challenges is one of the initiatives to help CU Denver get there. In 2022, several teams of faculty competed for funding and seven teams were selected. They are working on projects that will tackle problems facing our society and elevate CU Denver’s reputation. 

Round 2 of the Grand Challenges kicked off in early 2023. Deadline for submissions is March 17. Up to six teams are expected to be selected for funding.

SEED Funding 

The SEED Funding program in ORS was revamped late last year to better support faculty as they seek external funding. The categories currently open are: 

  • Arts and Humanities: 10 to 20 awards per year, up to $10,000 
  • Open/All Disciplines: 15 to 25 awards per year, up to $10,000 

Starting in 2024, faculty will also have the ability to apply for Convergence Research SEED funding, which offers one award of up to $100,000. De Leon also spoke about the opportunities research provides our students.  

“Research jobs and fellowships are essential to connecting students to mentored learning experiences,” said De Leon. ORS continues to prioritize student engagement by elevating and incentivizing research and creating conditions for all CU Denver scholars to do their best work and reach their full potential. 

De Leon invited the community to attend the Research and Creative Activities Symposium on April 28. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities organizes the event each year, which attracts some 200 students who showcase their work.  

Much work lies ahead, but by working together, Goal 3 will be achieved, De Leon said.  

For more information about research at CU Denver, visit the ORS website.