Task Force Rationale:

One of the three goals in Prosperity Widely Shared, our new strategic plan, is to position OSU as a research university that is especially distinctive for its contributions to big discoveries that drive big solutions to the world’s most vexing challenges, even as we continue conducting groundbreaking foundational research, scholarship, and creative activities. Under that goal, a key action over the 2024 to 2030 period is to build distinction in four focus areas where we believe we can establish lasting global competitive advantage: climate science and related solutions; clean energy and related solutions; robotics; and integrated health and biotechnology. These four areas are interconnected and will be supported by new foundational strengths build across the university in artificial intelligence, data science and research computing, and the integration with creative work and research in the arts and humanities, and also are featured in the plans for the Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex.

Task Force Leadership:

To advance this work, Provost Ed Feser has assembled four faculty-led task forces to seek broad input from a wide range of our faculty to help guide strategic investment through 2030 in those four priority areas. Alix Gitelman, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Irem Tumer, Vice President for Research and Innovation will work together to oversee the work of the task forces. They’ll take the lead in receiving, evaluating, and sharing task force recommendations that will inform the larger university community about necessary tangible actions across the institution.

Task Force Approach:

To build international competitive advantage in each of the four focus areas will require a well-aligned mix of integrated actions across the collective university enterprise and its mission elements of research, teaching, and public engagement. In that light, the four task forces will consider — in each of their respective focus areas — existing strengths and gaps in: our faculty  expertise; our departments and schools as homes for those faculty; related high quality undergraduate and graduate degree offerings; programs and resources that facilitate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and teaching; and our research and innovation and computing infrastructure.

As we seek to recruit and support faculty and invest in other support for these four focus areas, this comprehensive approach is essential to achieving true and lasting advantage relative to OSU’s competing peer institutions.

As part of their charge, each of the task forces will (or has already) directly interview(ed) between 35-50 faculty to seek detailed input on the four focus areas. The combined task forces therefore will have collected information and opinions from more than 200 faculty. These interviews will be thoroughly reviewed and form the basis of their reports, allowing them to find themes with distinct opportunity areas for potential future investment in support of Prosperity Widely Shared.

The work of the four task forces will focus on answering the following questions:

  • How can OSU leverage its world-class faculty and research facilities, including the supercomputer in the Jen-Hsun and Lori Mills Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex, to make the next generation of discoveries in these four focus areas?
  • How can OSU leverage its stellar record of community-engaged transdisciplinary scholarship to develop solutions in these four focus areas?
  • What is the current faculty talent level and unique capabilities at OSU, and how can each contribute to accelerate breakthroughs and impact? Where do we have gaps in the faculty expertise needed to achieve our goals?
  • What is the status of graduate and undergraduate degree programs related to these focus areas and where are there opportunities to build additional strength?
  • What can be learned from the work on research exemplars undertaken by the Office of Research Advancement and associate deans for research, particularly with respect to existing or potential intersection between the four focus areas?
  • What are key research and innovation themes within the four focus areas?