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Research: Year-In-Review

June 20, 2019

With the close of AY2018-2019, Aleister and I, in recent discussions, appreciated that the research enterprise, although there is much work yet to be done, has reached significant milestones over the past year. I asked Aleister to summarize several of the achievements so we can share as a year-in-review. In addition, I offer my congratulations to all our DARE recipients. And, for other strong DARE proposals, I hope to find additional ways to continue your efforts. We hope you have a productive and refreshing summer.

M. Brian Blake, Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost

Aleister Saunders, Senior Vice Provost for Research


R1 Status
Research Strategic Planning Efforts
Exploring Social Impact Activities at the University
Coeus Replacement
Human Subjects Research
2019 DARE Competition Awardees

R1 Status

In December, the University achieved “R1: Doctoral University- Highest research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. We are now one of 37 private universities to be designated R1. Prior to this ranking Drexel had been ranked as an “R2: Doctoral University- High research activity” since the 2000 Carnegie Ranking report. This long-sought after classification is a credit to the faculty’s commitment to our scholarly enterprises. This change in rankings was due to increases in research expenditures (in total and per capita) and in the number of doctorates awarded. Achieving R1 status will help us recruit and retain talented faculty and students. We are now focused on making sure we maintain this ranking. Congratulations!

Research Strategic Planning Efforts

The Office of Research has been engaging the University’s research community in strategic planning effort. As part of these efforts we have hosted over 25 hours of face to face (and online) workshops with over 190 faculty and staff participants. The outcome of these extensive efforts has been the development of draft research mission and vision statements. The research mission should reflect who we are today. From over 70 draft statements, the mission statement that we arrived at is “We are innovators in discovery and creativity.”. The research vision statement reflects what we want to be. Over 60 draft vision statements were generated from these we arrived at “Empowering an extraordinary future by revealing the unknown.”

Our work continues, as we are currently engaged with the research community in defining the characteristics of the University’s research culture. Once completed this research mission, vision and culture will incorporate the academic themes identified in the Drexel 2025 effort led by the Provost. We will be sharing these with the University community when this effort is completed. We would like to thank all of research community members who participated in these efforts.

Exploring Social Impact Activities at the University

Drexel has become nationally recognized for its commitment to civic engagement. As a key strategic pillar of the University, the Office of Research, in collaboration with University and Community Partnerships, is exploring Social Impact activities that occur here at the University. By Social Impact we mean outgrowths of the scholarly activities which our faculty, staff and student have (or hope to) put into practice in our communities and society.

Our first step in this effort is to create an asset map of social impact related efforts at Drexel. We would like to thank Linda Rich for leading this effort with support from Gwynne Grasberger. Feel free to reach out to Gwynne ( if you would like to learn about our efforts to date or inform us of your social impact activities.

Coeus Replacement

Coeus is the University’s main electronic research administration system. It is the University system of record for proposal submissions and awards. We expanded it use to include submission and review of human subject research protocols submitted to the University Institutional Review Boards (IRB). Faculty and staff in our academic units and Office of Research staff interact with this system literally thousands of times a day. It is a critical component of our expanding research enterprise and it is nearing the end of its useful life. The Office of Research in collaboration with Information Technology has led an inclusive and deliberate evaluation of systems to replace Coeus. Over the summer we will select a replacement system and start to implement the system. We anticipate that it may take 18 to 24 months to fully implement the human subjects protocol development and board management module, the lab animals protocol development and board management module, animal facilities management module, and the sponsored project module. We anticipate that once implemented that this new system will decrease the administrative burdens associated with these activities.

To lead these efforts for us, we would like to welcome to Drexel the new Director of the Office of Research's electronic research administration team, Doug Stay. Doug joined us on June 17th and once settled Doug and his team will making their way around the campus to discuss the implementation.

Human Subjects Research

Human subjects research at the University is a critical component of our research enterprise. Drexel investigators engaged in human subjects research must follow federal, state, and university regulations that are in place to ensure the safety of research subjects. Drexel’s Human Research Protection (HRP) team is responsible for providing administrative and regulatory support to the Drexel University Institutional Review Boards (IRB) and the University's Human Research Protection Program. HRP provides guidance on the responsible conduct of human research to Drexel's IRB members, faculty, investigators and their research assistants.

For a complex set of reasons, the IRB review process had become unacceptably protracted over the past 18 months. We are happy to report that time to review has improved dramatically. The average wait time for an IRB protocol to be reviewed now stands at three weeks, down from a high of over three months. With more changes in store to increase efficiency while maintaining adherence to complex regulatory landscape. With the implementation of a new electronic research administration system, we plan of making the IRB protocol submission and review processes one of our first focuses. We’d like to thank the entire HRP team for their efforts to improve their services to the research community with a special thank you to Gabrielle Rebillard the new Director of the HRP team.

2019 DARE Competition Awardees

The goal of the DARE initiative is to identify unique and distinctive areas of inter-disciplinary scholarship and could provide Drexel national prominence in the near term. 
 In this cycle of the DARE competition we received 22 DARE submissions from teams composed of 177 members. These participants represented a wide range of scholarly expertise. As you can imagine, with only a set number of awards, selecting awardees amongst this strong group of teams was very challenging. We would like to thank all of the participants for their time and effort to develop these concepts and interdisciplinary teams. Each DARE proposal received a rigorous three stage peer review. Reviewer evaluations and alignment with both the Research Strategic Planning activities and the initial results from the Provost’s Drexel Academics 2025 study informed our funding decisions that were made in consultation with, and approval of, the Provost.

We apologize that our level of consideration delayed final decisions, but we were delighted that our decisions were informed by the outcomes of the University’s strategic planning groups, the Provost’s academic strategic planning study, and the Office of Research’s strategic planning efforts.

We are excited to announce the 2019 DARE awardees.

Our 2019 DARE awardees are:

  • Cell2Society Aging
    • “Embodying the spirit of Drexel’s “The Future is a Place We Make” campaign, our DARE will create a novel ecosystem for the pursuit of use-inspired aging research from which to inform the role of Drexel University in an aging society.”
    • Principal Investigator- Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili (CNHP)
    • Faculty Research Network Members- Joke Bradt (CNHP), Felice Elegant (CoAS), Eugenia Ellis (CoE), Kathleen Fisher (CHNP), Girija Kaimal (CNHP), Peter Lewin (Biomed), Longjian Lui (DSPH), Claire Milner (CNHP), Kristine Mulhorn (CNHP), Michael Neidrauer (Biomed), Il-Yeol Song (CCI), Glenn Williams (CNHP), Stella Volpe (CNHP), Michael Weingarten (CoM)
    • Faculty Steering Committee Members- Katherine Clark (CNHP), Laura Gitlin (CNHP), Jana Hirsch (DSPH), Andres Kriete (Biomed), Don McEachron (Biomed), Suzanne Rocheleau (Pennoni), Christian Sell (CoM), Elisabeth Van Bockstaele (CoM;Grad)
  • The Future of Historic Sites: Increased Access, Engaged Communities, Sustainability and Archives without Walls
    • “Our multidisciplinary team will investigate and propose solutions to the national crisis affecting historic sites and their communities, using a significant historic house museum in Germantown as a pilot. We will study and develop tools for broadening access via digital products—“Archives and Historic Interpretation Without Walls”—engage local communities and neighborhoods to increase the sense of shared ownership of culturally significant sites, and develop new, data-driven business models for sustainability.”
    • Project Leads- Rosalind Remer and Page Talbott (Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships; LCCP)
    • Core Participants- Troy Finamore (CoMAD), Aroutis Foster (SoE), Alan Greenberger (WCoMAD), Scott Knowles (CoAS), Elizabeth Milroy (CoMAD), Glen Muschio (CoMAD), Alex Poole (CCI), Gabriel Rocha (CoAS), Page Talbott (LCCP), Neville Vakharia (CoMAD)
    • Participant- Bruce Melgary (LCCP)
    • Grant Writer- Melissa Clemmer (LCCP)
  • Internet of Things for Future Smart Campus and City
    • “The vision for this DARE is to align Smart Campus/City technology research and development with real-world problems through a demand-driven participatory stakeholder engagement process.”
    • Principal Investigator- Kapil Dandekar (CoE)
    • Co-PIs- Ali Shokoufandeh (CCI), Franco Montalto (CoE), Jason Orne (CoAS), Youngmoo Kim(CoE), Endla Anday (CoM), Owen Montgomery (CoM), Genevieve Dion (WCoMAD), Harris Steinberg (CoMAD), Steven Weber (CoE), Antonios Kontsos (CoE), William Mongan(CoE), Rajneesh Suri (LCoB), Vineet Bhandari (CoM), Anup Das (CoE), Adam Fontecchio (CoE), Mimi Sheller (CoAS)

We would like to thank all of DARE proposal teams for their submissions and encourage them to continue to excel in your scholarly pursuits.

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el in your scholarly pursuits.