Fearless Faculty

By Cindy Sagers, Vice President for Research

Cynthia Sagers, Vice President for Research, Oregon State University.
Cynthia Sagers, Vice President for Research, Oregon State University

It seems only moments ago that I assumed my post as the vice president for research at Oregon State University. The last year has been a time of onboarding and acclimating to OSU. I had the opportunity to learn much about the university’s research enterprise and to be inspired by the work that takes place here every day.

There is an evolving story here at Oregon State — nested in this national treasure of the Willamette Valley between the grandeur of the Pacific and the majesty of the Cascades. OSU draws strength from this place, its productive farms, can-do ethic and practical, get-it-done culture. The OSU faculty, the people at the heart of this story, garnered $762 million in economic and societal impact last year, according to a 2015 assessment by the consulting firm ECONorthwest.

My first and strongest impression from this past year on the job centers on our Oregon State faculty. Quite simply, they are fearless — fearless in tackling some of our planet’s most pressing problems. From climate change and food security to renewable energy and earthquake resilience, OSU researchers are at the leading edge of their respective fields.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, Oregon State reached a record $336 million in research funding. (Illustration: Long Lam)
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, Oregon State reached a record $336 million in research funding. (Illustration: Long Lam)

For the second straight year, Oregon State research funding set a new record. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, researchers earned $336 million in grants and contracts. This accomplishment is testament to our faculty’s expertise and dogged quest for discovery. The culture of collaboration across disciplines distinguishes our faculty and contributes to OSU’s success. This unique community fosters discovery, creativity and innovation and inspires new scientists, engineers and teachers who come to OSU from around the world.

As the chief steward of Oregon State’s research enterprise, I am committed to supporting our students and faculty in their drive to better understand the challenges of the modern world and to use their knowledge to improve the lives of all. These are my priorities for the Research Office in the coming year:

  • Raise the international profile of OSU as a research institution
  • Generate additional revenue to support the research enterprise
  • Advance a climate of inclusion for research programs at OSU
  • Support emerging programs by building closer ties to federal agencies and national laboratories

The challenge for Oregon State is to do even better. I am committed to finding the resources and the support our faculty needs to continue their exceptional pursuit of knowledge.