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April 26: The Pamplin Pulse

From the Desk of Dean Sarker

As you’ve no doubt heard me say on a few occasions, our college’s strategic planning process will revolve around three pivotal pillars: the pursuit of organizational excellence, academic excellence, and research excellence. Today, I want to share a few words on the third pillar: research excellence, specifically sponsored research. 
For those not familiar with the term, sponsored research refers to research activities funded by external entities – such as government agencies, corporations, non–profit organizations, or other institutions. These external entities provide financial support to researchers or institutions in exchange for the exploration of specific topics or areas of interest.  

Undoubtedly, there are financial benefits of sponsored research. Sponsored research offers colleges and universities a significant source of external funding, helping offset the costs associated with conducting the research itself. But there are many other benefits that go beyond the financial.  
Sponsored research enhances our college’s research capacity, furnishing us with the necessary infrastructure and resources to pursue critical inquiries. By fostering partnerships with industry, government, and non-profit organizations, we cultivate a culture of collaboration within Pamplin. It is through these collaborative endeavors that we can tackle grand challenges, effect meaningful change, and contribute to a more efficient, equitable, and prosperous world for all. 
There are many prestigious sponsored research organizations that would find Pamplin an attractive partner – including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, and many others. And while some of these organizations have a primary focus on specific fields such as engineering or biomedical science, they often support interdisciplinary research that spans multiple disciplines, including business and economics. For example, business schools often receive National Science Foundation funding for research projects related to economics, management, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior. I personally have been fortunate to have received significant funding from NSF for my own research program.

Moreover, sponsored research serves as a catalyst for professional development. It provides faculty and students valuable professional and educational development opportunities including gaining hands-on experience, developing new skills, and expanding their professional networks.  
Further, I do not see sponsored research being divergent to our existing metrics of research excellence (namely, publishing in top-tier journals and in our Pamplin elite). In fact, having served as Senior Editor of two of Information Systems top journals, I can confidently say that the types of research that are being welcomed (and in some cases being asked for in these journals) need the level of support and infrastructure as well a type of examination that can only be achieved through sponsored research efforts. My own NSF grant-funded research has led to multiple Pamplin elite journals and a book, and I know that there are faculty colleagues in the college today who have had similar experiences with sponsored research.

Aligned with the University’s priority of achieving global distinction, sponsored research elevates Pamplin’s reputation and visibility, positively influencing many key indicators that organizations use to rank institutions like ours. 
For Pamplin to achieve the level of excellence in research I believe is possible, it is critical that both – sponsored research and institutionally funded research -- are cultivated in tandem. I want us to see such research as “additive” and not “substitutive” to our current research practices. Further, one size of research does not fit all.

To conclude, sponsored research complements institutionally funded endeavors, offering financial support, access to resources, and collaborative opportunities, while institutionally funded research provides researchers with autonomy and flexibility in choosing topics and methodologies without taking into consideration the requirements or expectations of external sponsors. Both have a role in Next-Gen Pamplin.

Featured Story

The Path toward Next-Gen Pamplin: A Conversation with Associate Dean Lara Khansa

Thursday, May 2

6-8 p.m.

Proximity Hotel
704 Green Valley Road
Greensboro, NC 27408

Please join Hokies from the Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point, N.C. area at the Proximity Hotel to host Lara Khansa, interim associate dean for research and faculty affairs for the Pamplin College of Business. Khansa will share updates on the college's recent milestones and achievements as it embarks on a strategic planning process for next-gen Pamplin.

Registration is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event. Registration includes a $5 gift to the NC Triad scholarship endowment, two drink tickets, and hors d’oeuvres

Register Today>>

More upcoming events

Reconnect with Pamplin College of Business at Alumni Weekend

June 6-9

Alumni Weekend is an exciting tradition alumni look forward to all year long. Join us to celebrate your class reunion, reconnect with your student organization and friends, and meet new Hokies! Return to Blacksburg to explore campus, have fun, and learn. Alumni Weekend is for all Hokies!

Learn about the Global Business and Analytics Complex, tour the Data and Decision Sciences Building, and join Dean Saonee Sarker and fellow Pamplin alums for lunch at The Maroon Door.

Tours of the Data and Decision Sciences building will be hosted Friday at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. with check in at the Perry Street parking garage.

Your registration includes access to all events, plus food, drinks, and activities. We’ve got everything covered — just sign up and get ready for a weekend to remember. You can check out the full schedule of events online. Don’t miss out — secure your spot today!

Register Today>>

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