Our office sponsors several collaborative initiatives that advance the research mission and engage interdisciplinary partners from across the University and beyond.
Advancing Human Research Protections
After a rigorous review and assessment of its human research policies and practices, the University launched a major initiative to enhance its human research protection program through a set of specific program and policy reforms.
Among the changes implemented were expanded Institutional Review Board (IRB) panels to review researchers’ projects with human participants, a new electronic system to streamline and improve the process of submitting projects for IRB approval, enhanced professional training for researchers and their staff, and new tools created in consultation with health advocates to ensure that recruitment of participants, especially those with impaired ability to consent, is done with the utmost respect and protection.
We continue to work with leadership, units, and departments across the University to advance human research protections and cultivate a culture of research ethics.
The Convergence Colloquia are a series of multidisciplinary gatherings that aim to advance cutting-edge research, develop innovative solutions, and build long-term partnerships that improve our world. To date, seven colloquia have been held on the topics of: smart cities and infrastructure, aging, health equity, renewable energy, sustainable food systems, water supply, and citizen science.
Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) is a landmark partnership between the University and the state of Minnesota. By aligning areas of university strength with opportunity and need, MnDRIVE enhances the University’s ability to produce breakthrough research that addresses our state and society’s greatest challenges.
The Office of the Vice President for Research provides accountability measures for the initiative and serves as an advocate for the program at the Legislature. The vice president for research also oversees the Transdisciplinary Research Program. Each of the research areas have committees and advisory boards to oversee project implementation and outreach.
Opioid Advisory Task Force
The Opioid Advisory Task Force was created to help Minnesota communities address the opioid addiction crisis. The University has more than 100 faculty and staff working on opioid-related issues in fields from neuroscience to pain medication to addiction counseling. The taskforce, created by President Eric Kaler and assembled by Vice President for Research Allen Levine, has been asked to prepare the University’s community of scholars to respond to significant research opportunities that can help advance our knowledge of addiction and pain management; to advise on relevant training for medical and health professional students; to evaluate and organize what the University can offer to Minnesota communities as they cope with direct and indirect effects of the opioid addiction epidemic; and to engage in relevant public policy discussions in conjunction with other University officials.