Ana de Bettencourt-Dias' goal is straightforward: Work with faculty to enhance extramural grant funding at the University of Nevada, Reno. However, de Bettencourt-Dias, who becomes the University's associate vice president for research on June 1, acknowledges the undertaking will require a collaborative and focused effort.
In the coming weeks and months, she will familiarize herself with the many research programs under way - not just traditional scientific research undertaken in the University's labs, but the many non-traditional scholarly projects undertaken by faculty in creative disciplines as well.
At the same time, de Bettencourt-Dias will work closely with faculty researchers to increase their success in grant applications. A new writing group, for instance, instructs faculty on the fine points of successful applications.
And de Bettencourt-Dias will search out opportunities to create the cross-disciplinary consortiums that can successfully apply for very large grants for major projects.
As a key leader in the newly reorganized Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, de Bettencourt-Dias will establish relationships with the private sector focused on development of commercial applications of research developed at the University.
"We are fortunate to have someone of Ana's ability and reputation," says Mridul Gautam, vice president for research and innovation. "Ana is an outstanding researcher, teacher and a mentor to her students and junior faculty. She cares. She understands what the faculty and students at our University need, and she is dedicated to enhancing the research enterprise at the University. I look forward to working with her."
de Bettencourt-Dias says an increased flow of research grants to the University will help recruit and retain talented faculty. Along with the financial benefits of grant funding, support of applications for research grants makes a strong statement about the University's regard for promising faculty, de Bettencourt-Dias says.
"We want them to be successful, and we don't want them to leave when they become successful," she says.
Ambitious goals and high standards are nothing new to de Bettencourt-Dias, a professor of chemistry who came to the University in 2007. She will continue to lead a research team investigating the luminescence of lanthanide ions.
A graduate of Portugal's University of Lisbon, she earned her doctoral degree with magna cum laude honors at the University of Cologne in Germany. She was a Gulbenkian Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis, and served on the faculty of Syracuse University before she came to the University.
"This is a time of momentum for the University and I am excited to have this opportunity to contribute to the growth and impact of research and innovation," she says.