2020-2021 Academic Year Annual Report
Message from the EVPRI
The 2020-2021 academic year was one like no other. Future colleagues will benefit from reflecting on how our community responded to the threat of COVID-19 and heeded the call for social justice. It is already clear that scholarly activities at institutions of higher education literally and figuratively saved lives during the pandemic. Our research activities had a tremendous impact on the health and safety of our university and our regional community. Our research community also committed itself to supporting the social justice movement with hard reflection, conversations, and calls for action through diverse scholarly approaches. Together we continue to struggle against the scourge of racism and dedicate ourselves to building a more equitable and just society.
These unprecedented activities were taking place at a time when the University was finalizing our new strategic plan, Drexel 2030: Designing the Future. The lessons and opportunities of the year are embedded in that plan. Our research, scholarly and creative activities are central to the vision. "Expand Drexel's Research Impact" and the supporting initiatives will guide our strategic and tactical activities. This initial year of the plans' implementation is buoyed by the institution's highest level of sponsored research expenditures in our history. This success is due to the efforts of many, but especially our students, faculty and staff engaged in and supporting the research enterprise.
This annual report offers a glimpse into some of the highlights and activities of this past academic year for the Office of Research & Innovation.
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Research & Innovation
Facts & Figures
The University's research and innovation efforts were significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In late May we published guidelines for the ramp up of the University's research, scholarly, and creative activities and developed an application and review process to ensure the health and safety of the community. Our three phased ramp-up guidelines were designed to slowly increase campus researcher density.
The pandemic brought uncertainty and disruption to the research enterprise. Between March 18, 2020, to June 7, 2020, on campus activities were limited to those deemed critical only, which included COVID-19 related research activities. A collaborative, investigator-driven approach process for return to research was developed and implemented on June 8, 2020, that resulted in a significant increase in investigators-led on-campus research activities.
Investing in Research Resources & Tools
Access to data:
- ICPSR, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
Drexel University has a subscription to Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR): a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. The data archive includes a broad range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, education, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, and law. It can be easily accessed from the Drexel University Libraries. ICPSR is a great tool to use for a quick and easy approach in finding research and data in virtually any field.
- Philadelphia Federal Research Statistical Data Center
FSRDCs are partnerships between federal statistical agencies and leading research institutions that allow qualified researchers to conduct research on a wide range of non- public micro-data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The datasets that you can find through FSRDCs are among the greatest and most extensive sources of statistical information in the U.S. for researchers in economics, business, demography, sociology, medicine, statistics, criminology, and many other disciplines. The link to the FSRDC’s website, https://web.sas.upenn.edu/pfsrdc/.
Drexel University has purchased an enterprise license for LabArchives electronic research notebook (ERN) services for use by its faculty, researchers, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students in performing or learning research activities. The LabArchives will assist researchers in managing the results of research efforts, record and document research processes and procedures, and manage digital research data in ways that increase reproducibility, efficiency, collaboration, searchability, and security.
The Office of Research and Innovation operates four University Core Facilities that help drive innovation and discovery in a variety of high-impact research areas and provide access to state-of-the-art instrumentation, expert technical staff and advanced laboratory space. These shared resources are available to all Drexel faculty and student researchers.
Reducing Administrative Burden:
- Office of Sponsored Programs
The Office of Sponsored Programs is a new resource within the Office of Research & Innovation, that supports all levels of researchers working with Drexel. Their main goals are to increase efficiencies and accuracy in ORI services, develop coordinated processes and procedures that incorporate the needs and requirements of those involved in research, and to prioritize communication and increase transparency throughout the research administration process and procedures.
- New Electronic Research Administration System, DragonSPOT
DragonSPOT, (Sponsored Programs Online Tracking) is a cloud-based, integrated research administration management system that was adopted to increase efficiency, security, and ease-of-use for the research community faculty, staff, and students. DragonSPOT will empower the research community by creating a more robust and efficient research support service, while providing various management levels in the community with better tools for developing and supporting their work.
- Drexel Express Startup License
Drexel Express Startup License is a program launched in 2020 by Drexel Applied Innovation to encourage the formation of spinout startups based on Drexel research. The program features founder and investor friendly license terms which are pre-set so that startups can focus their energy on building a company and not on securing a license agreement. The pre-set terms are significantly more favorable than those typically extended to startups by universities and the program was designed with input from top VCs such as those part of the Kauffman Fellows. A company can qualify for the program by working with Drexel Applied Innovation and successfully completing the National Science Foundation I-Corps Teams program.
Academic, industry and government are working together to solve societies most pressing current and future challenges. Through memberships and affiliations, we are facilitating collaborative research and development opportunities for faculty and students.
- Manufacturing USA Institutes
Drexel is a member of the Manufacturing USA® network focused on large scale public-private collaboration on technology, supply chain and workforce development in advanced manufacturing. The national network of diverse manufacturing institutes, sponsored by either the U.S. Department of Commerce, Defense or Energy, all have the same goal of accelerating U.S. manufacturing in each of their designated fields. Drexel is a member of 4 of the 16 institutes: AFFOA, MxD, ARM, and America Makes. Advanced Technology International is a consortium management group that is dedicated to solving the most challenging technological problems the world faces today. More specifically, Drexel partners MTEC, which is a biomedical technology consortium that focuses on preventing injuries and speeding up the development of life by changing medical technology.
- Advanced Technology International (ATI)
Focusing on small and emerging companies that have traditionally not worked with the federal government, Drexel joined the Advanced Technology International (ATI) consortia. As a member, our researchers have access to a host of potential collaborators, support to form technology development teams, and access to federal funding opportunities to support projects.
Supporting & Recognizing Research Excellence
Rapid Response (Racial Equity & COVID-19):
Drexel's Rapid Response Research & Development Fund provided fast funding for faculty in support of urgent action, short-term COVID-19 and racial equity projects. A total of 39 projects received seeding funding through this program.
Covid 19 Response
Studies in Racial Equity
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Committee
The mission of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Committee (SSHRC) is to advance social science and humanity scholarship of Drexel University through an engaging and sustainable research community. Social Science is the study of society and the types of relationships that people have within a society. Their SharePoint site is the home of their committee, where you can find resources like past research projects and various workshops and trainings on topics within their field.
The Office of Research & Innovation financially supports a variety of seed funding opportunity that stimulate and support the development of new research projects, the expansion of existing projects, as well as recognition of outstanding research performance. Below is a list of approaches we utilize.
To encourage collaborative research within the university, the Drexel Areas of Research Excellence (DARE) initiative provides resources to allow faculty transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary research teams to spend a year deeply engaged in interdisciplinary research. The goal of DARE is to identify scholarly areas where Drexel can take a leadership position nationally and internationally, as well as promoting the submissions of large multidisciplinary proposals to governmental agencies, private industry, foundations/non-profits, and/or philanthropic sponsors.
- Community Driven Research Day
In its 11th year, the goal of Community Driven Research Day is to encourage collaboration between university-based research partners and community-based organizations (CBOs) who have research questions that they are interested in answering. Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine team with CBOs to support interdisciplinary, community-based participatory research in health and each project selected receives a $10,000 pilot grant.
- ASU/DU Collaboration Summit
Drexel and Arizona State University teamed up to explore ways to collaborate on scholarship to create new opportunities for both institutions. Three areas of scholarship with complementary strengths were identified and seeded in Advanced Manufacturing, Water, and Peace & Conflict.
As a means of supporting the ongoing development of our research, scholarship, and creative activities, as well as recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and professional service, the Office of Research & Innovation and the Office of Faculty Advancement manage numerous awards for research, scholarship, creativity, teaching, and professional service.
Discovery & Innovation
ic@3401 is a community of current and future startup founders in the University City area of Philadelphia and is co-managed by Drexel Applied Innovation and University City Science Center. With 17,500 square feet of co-working space, ic@3401 is home to over 120 members and 40 startups. Since 2016, ic@3401 member startups have raised over $80M in investment capital. ic@3401 is also the host of the NSF I-Corps regional classes at Drexel in collaboration with the Upstate New York I-Corps Node. Five ic@3401 startups have been awarded various SBIR awards totaling $3.77M (NSF, DOD, EPA, DHHS and NIH - Phase I and II).
ic@3401 is also the home of Drexel Law's Entrepreneurial Law Clinic which helps startup founding teams with entity formations, founder's agreements, employment agreements and basic contracts.
NSF I-Corps at Drexel
NSF I-Corps is a two-stage entrepreneurial development program for faculty, postdocs and graduate students to explore how their innovation can make an impact in the real world. Drexel Applied Innovation works with NSF I-Corps national leadership to host the first stage of the program at ic@3401 and top performing teams are then invited to the NSF I-Corps Teams program where each team receives $50,000 to further their customer discovery journeys. NSF I-Corps is a great commercialization pathway, as approximately 50% of the NSF I-Corps graduates are awarded NSF SBIR Phase I grants up to $230,000 compared to 7-8% win-rate for the general applicant pool. Drexel entrepreneurial community has excelled with NSF I-Corps since 2018; Drexel ranked #22 out of 284 institutions in number of teams accepted to the NSF I-Corps Teams program and #2 out of the entire set of institutions not currently funded by the National Science Foundation.
The Close School Entrepreneurship
Drexel’s Close School is the nation’s first independent school of entrepreneurship to offer degrees. Close students have many benefits, including Entrepreneurship Co-op's where they can work for their own businesses during their co-op cycle and access to the Laurence A. Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship, where they are able to grow their businesses during and after their time at Drexel.
Drexel Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program
This program was created to explore and support new innovations to advance patient care. Coulter provides funding, mentorship and project management to up-and-coming translational projects that are determined to shift these technologies into clinical application by commercialization. The Drexel-Coulter partnership’s primary goal is to establish heath care solutions for needs that are currently being unmet to progress patient heath care.
ORI Team & Partners
The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for reviewing and approving proposals for submission to external sponsors.
The Office of Research & Innovation is devoted to advocating for the highest standards of ethics, integrity and applicable laws for all research endeavors.
Drexel Applied Innovation provides technology licensing, industry sponsored research support, entrepreneurial training and venture creation services to support the impact endeavors of Drexel faculty, postdocs and graduate students.
Drexel’s diverse committees, offices and colleges work together to support and guide researchers of all levels and expertise. During any step of the research process, our committed partners will be able to assist and advise the researcher on any obstacle they may face. These partners are the Associate Deans for Research (ADRs), Research Administration Advisory Committee (RAAC), University Advisory Committee (UACs), Senate Committee on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (SCRSCA), Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Drexel Libraries, Drexel Solutions Institutes, Graduate College, Office of Global Engagement, and the Office of Faculty Affairs.
Partners in Research: ADR’s
Kenneth A. Barbee