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About the Research Institute

The Saint Louis University Research Institute seeks to advance SLU’s existing research growth ambitions and place the university on track to become the world’s leading Jesuit research university.

The mission of the Research Institute is to grow scholarship and research at the university. The Research Institute provides funds for world class research and strives to raise the profile of SLU as a premier research university across 10 years.

The vision of the Research Institute aligns with SLU’s existing research growth ambitions. In September 2015, the Board of Trustees approved a new Strategic Plan for the university which reaffirmed SLU’s identity as a research university and called for significant growth in SLU’s research output.

In August 2017, the Office of the Vice President for Research, under the direction of University President Fred Pestello, Ph.D., developed a Five-Year Growth Plan for research at the university. The Research Institute advances these efforts, and places the university on track to become a global leader in research.

The Research Institute is made possible through a historic gift to the university from Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. In August 2018, the Sinquefields committed $50 million to the university — the largest single gift in the university’s history — in order to help the university achieve its research ambitions. Funding is provided annually through the Sinquefield Center for Research Inc., the purpose of which is to support SLU in achieving the goals of the Research Institute as measured by the Research Institute's Metrics for Success (listed below).

The director of the Research Institute is Ken Olliff, vice president for Research at SLU.


Funds provided through the Research Institute will be transformative for our researchers. The Research Growth Committee will be responsible for making recommendations for funding.
There will be three elements to the funding provided by the Research Institute.

  • The recruitment and retention of highly talented researchers: The funds provided through the Research Institute will allow the university to increase its recruiting success with faculty candidates and provide additional financial support to leading scholars and scientists already on the faculty.
  • The Research Growth Fund: This competitive yet flexible fund will support the acquisition of additional resources, such as instrumentation, equipment and technology, that are critical to conduct and advance leading-edge research. A portion of the Research Growth Fund will be used to promote student research opportunities and provide support to ambitious capstone projects.
  • Big Ideas: In fall 2017, the Office of the Vice President for Research began the process of identifying and investing in collaborative programs that will establish SLU as a destination for research. This multi-year competition offers increasing levels of investment for projects and builds upon the university’s goal of creating university-wide research priorities. Learn more about the Research Institute's Big Ideas.

Metrics for Success

The Research Institute is committed to providing transparent metrics to measure the success of our research growth ambitions. These metrics include:

  • The Quality of Faculty Research: The success of the Research Institute will be measured by the amount of funding faculty receive from sources other than the Research Institute, the quality and quantity of peer-reviewed publications, and the national reputation of SLU faculty as measured by citations, speaking engagements and the number of patents received.
  • Academic Excellence: The success of the Research Institute will be measured by improvement in SLU’s overall academic reputation. This will be measured by SLU’s movement in national rankings of institutions of higher learning, SLU’s movement toward achieving Carnegie-R1 status, the number of citations that SLU faculty receive in academic papers, and the number and quality of applications to SLU’s graduate programs.
  • National Leadership: The success of the Research Institute will be measured by SLU’s role as a national leader in research. This will be measured by the university’s involvement in multi-institutional projects, the number of awards on which SLU is the lead institution, rankings of institutions that collaborate with SLU faculty, and other indications that SLU is perceived as an emerging leader in academic circles.
  • Research Impact: The success of the Research Institute will be measured by the impact of research done at the university. This will be measured on a regional and national scale, and will be determined by SLU’s participation in high-profile projects that produce positive conclusions to relevant social and academic issues.