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Biotechnology[1] Research Development Ideas

  • Organize the predominant research areas of the new Biotechnology Building as an incubator, the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research - "MITR"

  • Establish the Institute as an experimental model for advancing interdisciplinary research and the genesis of intellectual property (IP)

  • Develop an organizational and administrative structure that is adaptive, self-organizing and self-assembling with respect to novel research constellations that optimize opportunity and catalyze new fundable research initiatives

  • Create MITR as an academic entity that promotes an earning culture, which is self-actualizing and sustainable

  • The generation and commercialization of Intellectual Property (IP) shall be a part of the Institute’s charter. The commercialization enterprise will be a delegated responsibility area separate from the Institute.

  • Create a charter and conditions that foster an organizational culture, which values and encourages community/collective success – the institute members share in successes but if the institute fails, everyone fails with it.

  • Develop a Funding/Distribution Model That is Self-Sustaining

  • We need to establish a reasonable, incentive-based formula for the redistribution of indirect costs (IDC’s) and compensation recovery from grants.

  • Reinvestment of funds earned through competitive external contract and grant awards in MITR should be maximized.

  • Development and growth of endowment resources is crucial to the long-term sustainability of this model. To this end, recapturing compensation costs and lowering the draw-down of endowment earnings whenever possible should be a goal in managing these funds during the first decade of this program. This approach will accelerate the endowment growth and the long-term sustainability of this model.

  • Establish this entity (MITR) as a separate academic unit apart from the present constellation of colleges and departments. Establish an organizational framework for this enterprise that creates a separate, not-for-profit academic/administrative entity within the University. It should have its own promotion and tenure expectations/guidelines, the locus of tenure should be entirely within the institute and non-transferable.

  • Tenure within this entity – if this enterprise fails, tenure and appointments dissolve

  • 12-month appointments with compensation that is competitive nationally

  • Defined Cost Recovery Plan

  • These positions should be set up with the donors and awarded with a sunset provision. The expectation is that within five years, researchers will recover annually a minimum of 50% of their total compensation from grants. Thereafter, MU will be responsible contractually for only 50% of the future annual compensation of the research professor. The recaptured compensation will become a fund pool for research reinvestment in the Institute by the Institute/University and the creation of new endowed research professorships. The president of the University shall have final authority over the policy framework for these funds. The Institute Executive Director will have the discretion and responsibility for allocating these funds within the Institute in accordance with these policies. This approach has the potential to increase by 50% the number of endowed positions that the institute will have at its disposal (principal researchers). These latter endowment funds should be made available to the institute for additional research staff (e.g., postdoctoral fellows, graduate assistants, undergraduate students) as well as technicians and other support staff. The concept espoused herein is to grow the financial and personnel base of the institute, leveraging the public/private investments in endowed professorships to expand the institute’s research capabilities and capacity. The eventual $36 million private/public investment (endowment) will yield ~$1.5 million in annual funds to support research within the institute.

  • Grant IDC distribution formula is an important funding source for the Institute. An approved formula will need to be developed that balances Institute and University priorities.

  • The total pool of IDC+ recaptured compensation dollars serves as corpus for new research cluster development – a partitioning plan will be critical for fueling new enterprise development

  • Develop the Strategic Vision for Research at MU

  • Priority Goals

  • Strategies for Accomplishing Goals

  • Progress Indicators

  • Determinants of Success

  • Develop The Business/Funding Plan to Support the Goals of the Strategic Vision/Plan

  • Business plan for each goal

  • Commission an “Economic Impact Study” centering on the impact of this plan on regional economic development

  • Endowed Research Professorships – Nine (9) Professorships @ $4 million each

  • Possibility of dollar-for-dollar state match through public sources will be explored

  • The endowments need to be established with discretionary authority given to MU for each research professorship so that if and when a position is vacant, MU has the discretionary prerogative to hold the position vacant for up to a maximum of two (2) years in order to accumulate endowment proceeds (earnings) and use the accumulated funds to enhance the research enterprise – e.g., grow the endowment corpus, research capital equipment purchases, etc.

  • We need to model the endowment payouts on a five year rolling average basis, especially during the start-up phase to determine the timetable for filling the positions. One objective may be to target the accumulation of sufficient proceeds to help defray some/all initial start-up equipment costs with each position.

  • Nine (9) fully endowed positions are targeted over the next two (2) years or less, if possible. This number represents what is believed to be a critical mass of top-tier researchers to develop the interdisciplinary constellations of the Institute program. Projections indicate that this number will provide a sufficient number of new positions required to jump-start and sustain the research programs of the Institute. As new endowed professorship positions are created, MITR can either add additional person-power to existing programs or begin to assemble a team for launching new area of research concentration.

  • It is reasonable to expect that this initial investment will lead directly to the generation of an additional $10 million annually in new grant funding among these investigators within five years (~$1 million annual direct funding per investigator). Collectively, the institute conceivably will have the capacity to generate $50 million in annual external research funding through grants, contracts, commercialization and state/federal earmarked funding by 2012. Depending on IP commercialization, this enterprise may evolve to $75 million operation annually within a ten-to-fifteen year time horizon.

  • Based on a 5:1 economic impact-to-investment ratio, the Institute has the capacity to generate cumulatively between $250-375 million in new spending through direct and indirect job growth in the area.


[1] Biotechnology is defined as the harnessing and fusing of biological systems with technology to manipulate genes and gene expression for targeted purposes. These purposes include: (i) customizing and individualizing therapies based on individual genomics (the study of genes as a dynamic system and how they interact and influence biological pathways, networks and physiology); (ii) preventing, diagnosing, and treating all types of diseases rather than relying on rescue therapies; and (iii) developing and producing products that improve human health, animal health; and agriculture (e.g., crop production, climate adaptability and food safety).