The University of Iowa's next vice president for research will have a tough task: Keep research money coming in as stimulus money dries up and federal policymakers target research funding in their budget-trimming pushes.
University leaders announced this week the dates the three candidates for the school's vice president for research position will visit. The candidates -- whose identities are being kept private until they visit -- will give a public presentation about challenges facing the UI research community.
Last year the UI brought in more than $450 million in grants and contracts. That's a slight decline from a record-high research haul in fiscal 2010, but considering dips in available research funding, UI leaders say they're happy with the school's grant-earning ability.
In the last two years, the UI brought in more than $70 million in outside funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- better known as the stimulus law. But that money's gone now. And while federal research funding is still growing, moves from budget hawks could change that.
Despite hurdles, though, UI officials say they're committed to sustaining strong research.
"Research funding has always been an important part of the compact the UI has had with the citizens of Iowa. It is through this research that the jobs, medical breakthroughs and entrepreneurship needed for our future is developed right here at home," UI Spokesman Tom Moore said.
And that impact stretches beyond Iowa City, university leaders say. For example, Exemplar Genetics in Sioux Center started as a UI research parternship and is now a leader in genetic testing on pigs.
"Research done at the University of Iowa is a vital component to the economic vitality of the future of our state," Moore said. "These small businesses will be the job creators of today and tomorrow."
Outgoing Vice President for Resarch Jordan Cohen was the dean of the UI College of Pharmacy between 1999 and 2007. He took over as interim vice president for research in 2008, and "interim" was dropped from his title in 2010.
Here's the schedule for UI vice president for research candidates' public presentations:
Candidate #1 Monday, May 21 at 3:00 p.m.
Candidate #2 Thursday, May 24 at 3:00 p.m.
Candidate #3 Monday, June 11 at 3:00 p.m.