This program was designed to build a strong and collaborative research partnership between the two largest research universities in Arkansas: the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville (UAF) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Though the universities are separated by only 200 miles, they had historically found that there were significant barriers to collaboration, including a lack of fellowship and knowledge of current work between researchers at both universities, significant bureaucratic red tape impeding collaboration, a lack of funding available to encourage collaboration, and a lack of knowledge of core facilities available at each campus.
Leaders from both universities — including Dr. Stephanie Gardner, UAMS Provost & Chief Strategy Officer and chair of the Institute’s board of directors, and Dr. John English Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville — engaged the Institute to help them find ways to strengthen current and build new research collaborations between the institutions.
Participants of the first program in 2019 identified the primary reasons UAF and UAMS need to develop a research collaborative:
- To improve health outcomes
- To create a positive economic impact for the region
- To make Arkansas a leader in the healthcare field
The Institute would like to commend the work that the researchers on both campuses, external partners, and the current leadership — Dr. Gardner and Dr. English — have done to build this partnership. The work continues.
Results of the University Research Collaborative
During the 2020 research collaborative convening, the participants identified 24 initiatives the working groups wanted to work on to enhance collaboration between the two campuses. As of August 2021:
- Work continues on 15 of those initiatives
- 7 have been completed
- 2 have been removed from further consideration
Some highlights from their collaboration include:
- UAF-UAMS are now annually planning 3 research showcases in which researchers share their work and collaborations are formed annually. One will be held on the Fayetteville campus, one on UAMS campus, and one at a neutral location like the Institute.
- UARK-UAMS Metabolism Research Symposium on November 16-17, 2021 (Abstracts)
- A new website listing core facilities on both campuses and highlighting collaborative opportunities is fully operational. Additionally, the Arkansas Research Alliance now has a core facilities exchange program available connecting multiple Arkansas research institutions.
- A new funding program called 1-2-3 Go! was established to award $75,000 grants to enable rapid pilot funding of innovative projects. This program requires joint research between the two campuses and shortcuts the conventional grant review process.
- Both Institutions are now using the SMART IRB agreements which have aided collaboration between the two campuses.
Do you have questions about how to get involved with this program? Are you from UAMS or UAF and would like to be a part of the process? Let James know!