The new Interdisciplinary Fund, to be implemented in July 2008, will provide a $250,000 grant to support research that spans across academic departments. The money will be taken solely from the Presidential Venture Fund and other extra-departmental resources, and it will be administered by Provost Ralph Kuncl.
As a research university, it is important that our faculty has every chance to pursue their intellectual endeavors. The fund recognizes the value of interdisciplinary study and exploration, creating even more opportunities for our professors to collaborate. This venture also promotes UR’s credibility as a research university as we strive to incorporate various ways for such research to occur.
Faculty research is also particularly important in the classroom. Students rely on the fruitfulness of our professors’ research to supplement their curriculum. Their research engenders expertise, often bringing a fresh perspective that is relevant and up to date – a teacher’s own experience can be more interesting than that detailed by a textbook.
Some will question whether the expenditure of this money is necessary, because it is inevitable that our faculty members will work together. The purpose of the Interdisciplinary Fund is simply to make this easier for our faculty, thus encouraging different departments to pull resources and team up, without requiring any individual department to allocate money from its own budget.
We are confident that Kuncl will successfully see this through to the end. He already intends to create a faculty committee that will oversee such niceties as application procedures and the grant selection process, further displaying his commitment to see that the University remains dedicated to fulfilling the needs of its faculty.