Research Mission & Strategic Plan


The scholars at the University of South Alabama promote an environment where curiosity and discovery are given free rein. Within this culture, the university can respond to our citizens and global issues with bold ideas infused with creative energy. The outcomes are high-quality research and scholarship, new information and opportunities, the transformation of traditional disciplines, new partnerships, the formation of emerging fields of inquiry, and innovation for societal applications.

Strategic Planning 2013-2016

Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED)

University of South Alabama Goal #2 “Advance the research, discovery, and creative activities of the University”

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DISCOVERY: For purposes of this plan, the term Discovery will be used to encompass grant and contract proposals and awards, basic and translational research, scholarly works including publications, books and reports and creative works and productions for all USA Academic and Health Research and Delivery units.


  1. Provide client-oriented service and support for research, discovery and creative activities.
  2. Strategically position USA to become a Carnegie Very High (RU/VH) volume Research University and align policies and procedures to support this strategic direction.
  3. Provide the support and infrastructure that will encourage collaborations between individuals and units on campus and externally.
  4. Enhance the USA entrepreneurial culture by providing support and infrastructure that will incentivize development of new technology and create regional and national economic impact.


  • ORED is a service-centered organization. We collaborate with campus leadership, administrators and sponsors to facilitate faculty and student discovery and entrepreneurship activities.
  • ORED believes that the administrative systems and the support we offer campus, our community and our sponsors must add value to the research, scholarly and creative activities of our faculty and ultimately advance knowledge and create international impact.
  • ORED promotes and supports the synergy and balance between the academic and discovery mission of the campus.

Strategic Planning 2013-2016 ORED


  1. Increase the opportunity and success for USA faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students in seeking and carrying out transformative Research, Discovery and Creative Activities.
  2. Advance entrepreneurial activities that support the development of new technologies.
  3. Increase the economic and societal impact of discovery produced by USA and USA faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students on the Gulf Coast region, nationally and internationally.

KEY STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #I. Increase the opportunity and success for USA faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students in carrying out transformative Research, Discovery and Creative Activities.


  1. Ensure that USA is positioned to maintain the Carnegie (RU/H) High volume Research classification.
  2. Ensure that USA is strategically investing in the Discovery goals of the colleges, schools and faculty.
  3. Create an environment that values success, and rewards research excellence and collaboration.
  4. Ensure that the teaching and discovery missions of the University are balanced and integrated.
  5. Ensure the faculty has access to timely information and access to funding opportunities with federal, not for profit and industry sponsors and collaborators.
  6. Grow the reputation and visibility of South Alabama as a comprehensive research university,
  7. Leverage current campus expertise to respond to regional, national and international needs.
  8. Increase the number of grant and contract proposals especially large and/or interdisciplinary grant and contract proposals and awards.
  9. Increase the volume of intra and inter-institutional research and scholarly proposals and awards.
  10. Expand awareness of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to be actively involved in the Discovery process.
  11. Identify and remove unproductive barriers to the proposing and implementing the discovery goals of South Alabama faculty, students, and administrators.
  12. Increase the knowledge base for campus administrators on research management and administration.
  13. Create opportunities for faculty to enhance their careers and manage their research programs.
  14. Ensure that the South Alabama compliance and integrity policies and procedures are in alignment with federal and state laws and regulations.
  15. Develop procedures for research mentorship to support junior faculty and students.
  16. Review faculty compensation plans and recommend changes if needed to increased motivation for seeking external support and discovery activities.

Action Items:

  1. With the Faculty Senate Committee on Research and Creative Activity, plan for ensuring continuing RU/H classification and determine.
  2. Carry out a GAP analysis to determine what is needed to become a Carnegie RU/VH classified research university.
  3. Enhance the ORED web presence to reflect the interests and productivity of USA faculty.
  4. Establish systems and to incentivize and motivate faculty to pursue collaborative efforts and seek external support.
  5. Hire an Assistant Vice President for Research Development and Learning who will be responsible for promoting research development activities.
  6. Routinely send targeted opportunity announcements to faculty and administrators regarding funding opportunities.
  7. Actively promote and seek new Master agreements and Affiliation Agreements with government, not for profit and industry sponsors.
  8. Coordinate, through ORED, the preparation of large and /or interdisciplinary proposals.
  9. Offer networking meetings/opportunities to faculty and follow up to solidify collaborations
  10. Build a curriculum for a research administration certification program.
  11. Offer a year-long orientation program to faculty that will enhance their competitiveness in seeking external funding and their ability to manage awards.
  12. Review all relevant South Alabama policies and procedures and revise as necessary.
  13. Create an expectation for externally funded research across all colleges, academic units and departments.
  14. Begin campus-wide discussion with faculty, chairs and deans on F&A distribution, reward structures and teaching loads.
  15. Develop consistent policies and procedures to attract and support non- tenure track research faculty.
  16. Review current support for mentorship of junior faculty to enhance their research skills and competitiveness.
  17. Review policies and procedures relating to compensation and career paths for faculty who are funded from external grants and contracts.
  18. Seek additional support for areas where USA has core competencies and breadth of expertise.
  19. Identify new strategies, such as Capstone courses, to involve undergraduate students in the discovery process.

Strategic Scorecard and Assessment

  1. USA maintains RU/H classification.
  2. Completion of a Gap Analysis within 12 months for maintaining RU/H classification and presentation of Plan to USA Leadership.
  3. Number of new grant proposals increases 5% annually.
  4. The number of awards and success rate increases by 5% annually.
  5. Number of large/interdisciplinary proposals increases by 25%.
  6. Four new intra-university collaborations are established annually.
  7. Five new Master Agreements and /or Affiliation agreements created annually.
  8. Three intra-university networking opportunities are offered annually.
  9. The number of graduate and undergraduate students involved in research increased 10% annually.
  10. The Sponsored Projects Administration Office is re-organized to increase faculty support.
  11. The Sponsored Projects Administration establishes and continuous process improvement team.
  12. A new faculty Incentive program is adopted.
  13. In two years, a Research Administration Learning program is offered.
  14. Annually carry out a pro-active policy review on two South Alabama regulatory compliance policies and revise as necessary.
  15. An Assistant Vice President for Research Development and Learning is hired.
  16. Collaborate with Faculty Senate on establishing a strong Mentorship program.
  17. Hire an external consultant to review and recommend faculty compensation policies and plans.
  18. Baseline metric on faculty publications is established and number of publications will increase annually.
  19. Develop a Dashboard to track metrics on the Office of Research web site.

KEY STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #2: Advance entrepreneurial activities that support the development of new technologies.


  1. Develop a campus wide information program for faculty and administrators on the purpose and processes needed to protect intellectual property in conjunction with the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship.
  2. Increase the number of intellectual property disclosures from across campus.
  3. The Intellectual Property Management Office (IPM) will increase the volume of Provisional Patent Applications.
  4. Increase the viability and number of patent filings.
  5. Increase the number of license agreements entered into that is based upon university developed technologies.
  6. Hire a Marketing and Licensing Associate to provide additional visibility to campus technologies.
  7. Develop an internal outreach program to faculty to assist in enhancing their research programs to include translational components that could be further developed into new technologies and techniques.
  8. Provide support for the new Student Hatchery (dedicated space for students to explore ideas develop business plans) to encourage student entrepreneurship and development of new technologies.
  9. Collaborate with the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship to help promote and support a culture on campus for entrepreneurial activities.


  1. The Marketing and Licensing Associate and the Melton Center team will meet with campus groups and with individual faculty to provide information on protecting their intellectual property, explain the disclosure process and assist in developing the patent disclosures.
  2. The IPM Office will assume responsibility for creation and filing of Provisional Patent applications.
  3. The Intellectual Property Management Office will encourage, when appropriate, the filing or other protection of USA developed intellectual property. The IPM will carry out a thorough assessment of the filing application prior to official patent filing.
  4. Seek a consistent, on-going source of funding for the Student Hatchery and
  5. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Assistant Vice President will establish a formal affiliation with the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and service on Boards and committees.
  6. Develop a formal mentorship program to assist graduate and undergraduate students to further develop ideas for new technologies and techniques.
  7. Increase the USA engagement with industry and establish new public-private research partnerships.

Strategic Scorecard and Assessment;

  1. Participate in submission on 2 SBIR/STTR or other small business related proposals annually.
  2. Increase the number of IP disclosures by 10% annually.
  3. Increase the number provisional patents filed by 15% annually.
  4. Decrease the cost of submitting each provisional patent by 80%.
  5. File two (2) patents annually.
  6. Decrease the time to final filing individual patents by 10%.
  7. Create a formal affiliation letter with the Melton Center in FY 2013.
  8. Provide $5,000.00 annually for the Student Hatchery.
  9. Formalize 2 new public private partnerships annually.

KEY STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #3: Increase the economic and societal impact of discovery produced by USA and USA faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students on the Gulf Coast region, nationally and internationally.


  1. Create a forum and assessment process for ensuring that the USA curriculum and research expertise are aligned with local business and industry requirements.
  2. Increase support for faculty and student involvement with SBIR and STTR proposals.
  3. Increase the university faculty’ collaboration with local, regional and international business and industry.
  4. Improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the Research Park operations
  5. Create a USA Incubator for spinning out South Alabama technologies.
  6. Spin –in and Spin –out new business from South Alabama technologies.
  7. Increase the dollar amount of the South Alabama royalty returns and fees on licensed technologies.
  8. Assess the regional capacity to build a Coastal Financial Resources Fund to accelerate further development of marketable technologies.
  9. Advance the reputation and involvement of South Alabama in support, recruitment and retention of business and industry to the Gulf Coast region.
  10. Enhance the education and workforce development opportunities in collaboration with local K-12 schools and other institutions and organizations providing higher education and training.
  11. Increase the impact of USA’s arts and humanities faculty and students on the regions support and appreciation of the arts and humanities.


  1. Create a USA Research and Economic Development Industry Advisory Board.
  2. Use the RTC LLC “NovAlTec” to facilitate submission of SBIR and STTR proposals.
  3. Restructure the Research and Technology Corporation (RTC) to support the negotiation and acceptance of all industry sponsored research.
  4. Restructure the Technology and Research Park operations to more efficiently respond to the needs of the Research Park tenants.
  5. The Marketing and Licensing Associate, along with the Assistant Vice President and the Associate Director of the IPM Office, will work with faculty inventors to assist in creating new companies based upon faculty developed technologies.
  6. Work with UCAR to involve local business and industry in supporting student researchers.
  7. The Vice President and other faculty and administration will reach out to universities, organizations and industry to provide opportunities for collaboration for university faculty.
  8. Create a business plan for the development and operations of the USA Incubator.
  9. Actively participate in local, statewide and regional economic development organizations and activities.
  10. Seek external federal, not for profit, and private funds that will support the advancement of STEM education in the school system.
  11. Collaborate with training programs such as AIDT and industry sectors to enhance workforce development in the Gulf Coast region,
  12. Partner with regional organizations in support of the arts and humanities.

Scorecard and Assessment:

  1. Submission of two SBIR/STTR or related proposals annually.
  2. Increase the volume of sponsored research agreements with industry by 20% annually.
  3. Re-direct a portion of funding for the Park operations vendor to provide support internally.
  4. Create 1 to 2 new start-up companies annually from university developed technologies.
  5. Establish 2 new industry collaborations annually that result in development or expansion of industry technologies or techniques.
  6. The business plan for the incubator is developed and approved. Implementation should occur in FY 2014.

NOTE: Each of the units within the Office of Research and Economic Development are developing a strategic plan that reflects the three Key Strategic Objectives.

  1. Increase the opportunity and success for USA faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students in seeking and carrying out transformative Research, Discovery and Creative Activities

    ORED Development and Learning Office
    Sponsored Projects Administration
    Office of Compliance

  2. Advance the development of new technologies by creating a supportive infrastructure for entrepreneurial activities.

    Office of Commercialization and Industry Collaboration

  3. Increase the economic and societal impact of discovery produced by USA and USA faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students on the Gulf

    Research and Technology Corporation