Research Advisory Board Convened

April 30, 2012

Experts from inside and outside of university will advise research planning.

As GW continues to focus on raising its research profile and attracting first-rate faculty and students, a new Research Advisory Board, an initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Research, will provide advice and feedback.

The board’s first meeting will be May 15, when board members will meet with Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa and a number of university deans, who will provide overviews of their schools’ research outlook. The board’s 13 members come from both within and outside the university, and were invited by Dr. Chalupa because of the broad experience and varied backgrounds they bring.

“I’m delighted that such a broad range of experts agreed to serve on GW’s Research Advisory Board,” Dr. Chalupa said. “I look forward to hearing their insights and suggestions for moving GW forward in our quest to become a top-tier research institute. I am also pleased to have a number of our deans participate in the inaugural meeting to discuss their school’s current and prospective research programs.”

Board members include Philip Bourne, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego and associate director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank; Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of the journal “Science” and Ferid Murad, GW university professor and Nobel laureate for medicine. Local and national organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the GW Alumni Association are also represented.

Gina Lohr, special assistant to the vice president for research, said the board will aim to meet twice each year to review GW’s research agenda and provide feedback and direction. The board members’ role as a “brain trust” will allow the university to make wise decisions regarding research, she said.

Dr. Bourne, of UC-San Diego, said outside advisers provide insights that can sometimes go unnoticed by those within an institution.

“Advisers bring an external perspective based on their own institutions,” he said. “It creates a more vibrant research climate at GW.” In addition to his work in pharmacology, Dr. Bourne has extensive experience in developing university-industry partnerships that are mutually beneficial, a skill he said he’s happy to share with GW.

“Industry relationships are about creating partnership with industry in a way that’s most beneficial,” he explained. “That can include licensing, IT, contracts and service agreements. It’s also about entrepreneurship and placing students in entrepreneurial roles in the community.”

Dr. Leshner of AAAS, a neuroscientist, worked for many years at NIH before becoming head of the world’s largest general scientific society. He said that because he’s exposed to a wide array of science in his current position, he hopes he can be useful as an adviser.

“It’s a very good idea to have an outside advisory board,” Dr. Leshner said. “It enables you to think more broadly about what’s going on outside the confines of your local environment, and to make sure what you’re trying to do reflects best practices in other places and takes into account the broader research context.”

For questions or more information about the Research Advisory Board, please e-mail askovpr@gwu.edu

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