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State of Research Address highlights successes, aspirations at Ohio State

Research opportunity and success at The Ohio State University continues to grow and is on a path to take the university to a new level of national prominence.

That was the message at Ohio State’s annual State of Research Address Tuesday at the Ohio Union. Randy L. Moses, interim senior vice president for research, delivered the address.

“It has been a year of unprecedented discovery led by creativity, talent and passion from researchers across our campuses,” Moses said.

Moses pointed to several key markers that highlight the university’s success. Among the most important, he said, are scholarly publications and citation counts – both show steady growth.

Ohio State achieved a record number of invention disclosures in 2017, and university is first in the Big Ten in invention disclosures per research dollar.

Moses said Ohio State has seen an increase in the number of startup companies based on university research. Ohio State also ranks fourth nationally in industry-sponsored research and second for public universities.

“Commercialization provides a valuable venue for our research to have a positive impact on the economy, to our communities, and to the nation and the world,” he said.

To continue the growth in research and creative expression, Moses said the new strategic plan, Time and Change, offers a road map.

The plan’s three research-related goals: attracting and developing leading national scholars, leading the nation in research areas that make a difference and improve society, and providing world-class support and accountability for faculty researchers who will help Ohio State achieve greater success.

“If we aspire to be a top research university, we will need to be even more focused and effective in our research endeavors,” Moses said.

Ohio State continues to invest in research with new facilities that support interdisciplinary problem solving and create robust research hubs on campus. He pointed to the renovated Pomerene Hall as a new hub for data analytics, new investment in the campus for education and research for health sciences, and the arts district under development at 15th Avenue and High Street.

Moses said that to maintain the university’s current and future research success, Ohio State must operate its program according to the highest standards of research integrity.

“The impact of our research depends critically on trust that society places on the integrity of methods and processes,” Moses said.

Ohio State is embracing a 2017 report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) titled “Fostering Integrity in Research,” which urges institutions to maintain standards of conduct that go beyond compliance with federal regulations. The university is updating policies on the handling of allegations of research misconduct to include national best practices, and is updating and expanding training for responsible conduct in research.

Moses said the university will lead the way by hosting a national Research Integrity Solutions summit on Sept. 23. The summit will explore new ways to promote research integrity in a new world of team research, globalization and electronic publishing, he said.

“Ohio State is poised to become one of the top research universities globally,” Moses said. “Our time is now. Together, we can and will elevate Ohio State’s research to a new level of prominence and impact. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the research enterprise at Ohio State.”

Innovator of the Year Awards

Following the address, Moses handed out the annual Innovator of the Year Awards.

2017 Innovators of the Year

Dehua Pei, Charles H. Kimberly Professor in Chemistry, was named the 2017 Innovator of the Year.

“It’s nice to be recognized. We don’t do research for the awards but it’s nice to know people do appreciate what we are doing,” Pei said. “It’s impossible to pull off what we have done without the full support of the university.”

Pei and his research team have developed two breakthrough technologies that are poised to transform the drug discovery process and help deliver novel therapeutics into cells.

The 2017 Early Career Innovator of the Year is Yizhou Dong, assistant professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry. Dong’s research integrates multiple scientific disciplines to design and validate novel drug delivery systems for the treatment of genetic disorders, infectious diseases and cancers.

And Laura McLaughlin, a fourth-year nursing student with a research specialization distinction and a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation, was the 2017 Next Generation Innovator of the Year. McLaughlin developed a mobile app called BabyTalk to support and educate new and expectant parents.

“I’ve been working on this project for quite a few years now. You don’t really start going into it for accolades,” McLaughlin said. “This has been even more impactful just because I’m so passionate about it. The university has taken such an interest it this, and I think it's great because they let students work on projects like this.”