Translational research is more than a buzzword. It marks a commitment to take the fruits of research out of academia and into the real world. And a commitment to starting academic research from real-world problems. As part of its leadership efforts in research, the Fox School is looking for new ways to break down barriers to innovation, starting with an emphasis on conscientious collaboration among some of the school’s most prolific sources of thought leadership: its research centers.
In late July, the leaders of the numerous research centers at Fox and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) came together to celebrate their work, discuss the ways the school can support their work and encourage further collaboration. Convened by Associate Dean of Research Sudipta Basu alongside Dean Ron Anderson and TL Hill, director of the Translational Research Center (TRC), the meeting was the first in a series to spark more learning and cooperation.
“We wanted to bring the center directors together to open up a space to let them collaborate and share what they’ve learned over the years,” Basu says. “The newer centers can benefit most from this shared wisdom, but creating this forum will ultimately benefit everyone.”
These centers are hotbeds of research excellence, each tasked with unique missions to carry out. Centers like the Sport Industry Research Center (SIRC) and the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) help bridge the gap between academia and industry by leveraging research to generate best practices and connecting scholars with industry partners.
Translational research has always been an important part of how the Fox School measures impact, but it has become central to both the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 and STHM 2025: Strategic Plan, as demonstrated by the strategic pillars of Research Leadership and Impactful Research, respectively.
“Impact goes beyond citations,” says Dean Anderson. “Impact is in the way that our work touches society, transforms communities, upends or refines management practices and influences policy decisions. For research to make a difference, we know that we need someone to look at it, understand it, use it, implement it.”
This effort to unite research across centers is just the first in a Fox School campaign to foster conscientious collaboration, bringing Fox faculty and staff together across departments, disciplines and units in order to improve outcomes. Over the coming months, the research center directors will host a series of workshops, strategy meetings and discussions intended to promote engagement across research areas, encourage tighter integration between the centers and garner strategic investments from the Fox School.
In time, these meetings will generate new research based on the cross-pollination of ideas. The centers, already beacons of research excellence, can only grow better together.