It Takes a College to Raise a Researcher

Rush University College of NursingBy Melanie C. Dreher

If increasing the number of NIH awards is a measure of success, the Rush University College of Nursing deserves high marks on its research report card. In three years, we have gone from one NIH-funded project to eight … not bad, given a relatively small senior research faculty.

But these results tell only part of the story. The real achievement is that this dramatic proliferation was not accomplished by recruiting academic “stars” to bring their programs of research to Rush. In fact, only one of the eight awards was granted to a new member of the faculty. The rest were seasoned faculty members who had been at Rush for several years. For five of the investigators, this was their first NIH award.

So what’s different? For sure, the creation of an Office of Research and Scholarship led by an associate dean who is a researcher herself, staffed by a statistician, data manager and knowledgeable support staff who understand NIH requirements for format and budget, located in a designated space equipped with smart boards to discuss, assemble and plan the project have all made a difference. Continue reading