Remaining inspired despite challenges

Tanju Karanfil
Tanju Karanfil

Seeing so many colleagues and the students back on campus has really been inspiring. Though I must say, all of you involved in research at Clemson have remained inspired throughout one of the most challenging years I can remember.

Consider the momentum we have maintained in fiscal year 2021:

  • Competitive research expenditures increased 9 percent to $114 million, surpassing the ClemsonForward goal for the third consecutive year.
  • Competitive research awards were up 37 percent from the prior year at $162 million, the highest amount for decades. Incredible. Research awards are a testament to the quality of our research ideas and our proposals. We are competing with the best research institutions around the country to earn these grant awards, and Clemson faculty continue to succeed.
  • Even as you have taken on more projects, you have remained committed, submitting $762 million in proposals, an increase of 4 percent from FY2020, which also was a banner year.

I am proud of your high-quality work and commitment to the pursuit of scholarship and discovery. Let’s keep the momentum going.

This image is a promotion for a series of workshops called the Successful Grant Seeking series. The image is a blue background with the words Fund Your Research written at the top in orange. The next line reads Successful Grant Seeking workshops. the next line reads 4 workshops, online and in-person, fall 2021. The next line has a Clemson Tiger paw logo next to the words Division of Research, Research Development. The image includes a QR code and link to bit.ly/SuccessfulGrant Seeking. Click the image to navigate to the webpage. To help, our Office of Research Development has launched the Successful Grant Seeking series of professional development workshops. These events – led by experienced faculty – will provide insights on working with funding agencies, writing project overviews, forming successful research teams and communicating with reviewers. The workshops will be held in-person and online via Zoom. I encourage you to take advantage.

Additionally, the Office of Research Development will be offering its Clemson CAREER Academy to help junior faculty compete mainly for NSF CAREER Awards. These are the most prestigious awards junior faculty can receive. They are highly competitive and serve as a catalyst for your research program. Only the highest quality proposals are funded. The Academy has been successfully helping faculty craft competitive CAREER proposals. Junior faculty earned 10 early-career awards two years in a row in FY2020 and FY2021. Clemson has now more CAREER award winners per tenured/tenure-track faculty than many institutions around the country. I highly encourage all eligible junior faculty to take advantage of this very successful CAREER Academy and to pursue CAREER award competitions of various funding agencies. If interested, you can learn more about our CAREER Academy during a workshop on Oct. 18 that will be held at Watt Center as well as on Zoom.

Also, we are finalizing plans for our R-Initiative funding programs. Through these programs, we have invested $6 million over the past four years in projects involving more than 400 faculty members. Faculty members from every college have received funding, and I truly believe R-Initiatives provide value for everyone. Since we launched R-Initiatives in 2017, funding has helped faculty author 10 books and 66 journal articles; hold 10 art exhibitions; acquire 20 new pieces of equipment; hire 23 postdocs and research associates; and secure $14 million in additional external funding. Additionally, R-Initiatives have supported 117 students working to complete their PhDs. You can visit our R-Initiatives webpage to view opportunities. We will update the site and notify you when Requests for Proposal are available.

This is a portrait of Rhonda Shaner Ryals
Rhonda Shaner Ryals

Lastly, I want to introduce Rhonda Shaner Ryals. Rhonda joined the Division of Research this summer to lead the Office of Export Compliance and Research Security. Research has no boundary, and international collaboration is important to scholarship and discovery that is relevant and impactful. Rhonda will work to support successful international research collaboration while protecting the intellectual capital of university research. For the past decade, She has worked with the Office of Research Integrity Assurance at the Georgia Institute of Technology, most recently as associate director. In this role, she has completed export reviews for internationally sponsored research, evaluated research agreement terms, drafted plans to safeguard export-controlled technology, evaluated risk and identified improvements to process and policy, among other responsibilities. She has also developed and delivered training to Georgia Tech faculty and staff involved in research with export-controlled materials. Clemson will benefit from Rhonda’s experience and I hope you take time to meet her, if you have not already.

I wish you all the best this academic year and beyond. The Division of Research is here to help.

-Tanju