The Chemistry Department maintains core research strengths in organic, natural products chemistry, environmental, bioanalytical chemistry, and materials chemistry. Our PhD program has the third highest enrollment of students at this level on campus, and our MS program is expanding. We’ve helped to establish and sustain several nationally-competitive, shared instrumentation facilities in nuclear magnetic resonance, electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, and materials processing. We act entrepreneurially by translating our basic-science findings into commercial activities through startups, licensing, and unique university-industry partnerships. Our faculty publication rates, and the number of postdoctoral associates and graduate students per faculty member, are all at Tier I university levels. Additionally, we are above the Tier II average for grant funding per faculty member.
The Department has an outstanding record of research transfer as demonstrated by the many start-up companies founded by OSU Chemistry faculty and students. Our patented discoveries have led to development of improved die materials, new designs in mass spectrometry and clinical drug candidates. As noted above, we provide a unique training environment for students to hone their entrepreneurial expertise. Faculty and students are actively engaged with OSU Advantage, Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing Institute (ATAMI), Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) and Oregon BEST. OSU’s Strategic Plan 4.0 targets a significant increase in our research and innovation enterprise; we have the entrepreneurial culture and faculty excellence to be major contributors to this effort.
Target significant annual support for research equipment purchases or matching costs, and for upgrading research labs. This support should be allocated towards both graduate research and upper-division laboratories. The Department should establish a transparent process to prioritize needs and distribute funds.
We will target, within two years, $50K annual support for equipment and $135K annual support for facilities. Within 5 years of these investments, we expect 80% of our tenure-track faculty to be funded at a median annual research expenditure of $135K, constituting a 35% increase in our median research expenditures.
Plan for tenure-track hiring into OSU areas of distinction
and with a focus on innovation to grow opportunities for enhanced institutional support and collaborations across campus. OSU and the Department have a long history of supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. In order to maintain and augment this leadership role, new faculty hires should be committed to supporting the innovation ecosystem through their research, teaching and/or service. We should seek a named professorship or endowed chair to facilitate hiring an established faculty member in Chemistry with a commitment to innovation. Senior-level appointments add expertise, broaden perspectives, and expedite progress towards our research targets.
Addition of an average of 1 tenure-track faculty for the next 4 years in these signature areas. In the first year, we will begin to include innovation as a preferred criterion for tenure-track faculty hiring. By the third year, we will hire an established faculty member with a demonstrated commitment to innovation.
Encourage faculty collaborations within and outside Chemistry towards establishing or participating in a Center
Either in OSU Chemistry or led by other units or institutions. We should develop a coordinated department symposium series to bring in other leaders in chemistry. Training, position duties and descriptions, and collective action can promote engagements in (a) our Research Office and College funding opportunities, such as SciRIS awards and the Betty Wang Fund, (b) OSU Foundation services to identify and target under-subscribed funding streams, (c) industrial partnerships via graduate student internships and sponsored research, and (d) OSU Advantage and College programs to advance innovation.
Support and augment faculty engagement in innovation
Additional investment for faculty engagement in innovation would expand funding opportunities and increase the scientific impact of our faculty.
In the first year, two faculty members will participate in innovation training within or outside of OSU. By the third year, we will increase in external funding through SBIR/STTR programs by 20%.