University Research Committee Considers Changes


In February, the co-chairs of the University Research Committee (URC), Frank Wong (Public Health) and Elizabeth Pastan (Art History), spoke to the Council to solicit its input. A standing committee of the Faculty Council, the URC awards small research grants to Emory faculty. In collaboration with the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, the URC is considering changes to improve its tracking of research output, encourage and fund high-risk/high-reward research, update its policies and procedures, and pursue new directions in interdisciplinary research. The URC currently has five subcommittees: 1) Biological & Health Sciences; 2) Humanities; 3) Social Sciences; 4) Math & Natural Sciences; and 5) Visual & Performing Arts. A sixth “Interdisciplinary” category was created three years ago but not formally constituted as a subcommittee. “This is the part we really wanted to bring to the Faculty Council today,” Wong said. “Exactly what do we mean by ‘interdisciplinary?’” He suggested formalizing this committee as a standing committee and said the critical issue was how to conceptualize interdisciplinarity without downplaying or underplaying certain disciplines. Pastan added that currently interdisciplinary applications were defined through self-identification by the applicants.


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