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Five-Year Plan

In 2022, SLU is rolling out its next University-wide five-year research growth plan for achieving our vision of becoming a preeminent Jesuit research university in St. Louis.

An arch that reads "Saint Louis University" located near Grand Blvd. on the University's campus

In 2017, Saint Louis University launched a five-year plan to grow the scale and eminence of the University’s research enterprise. Now, in fall 2022, the University is rolling out the next five-year plan for research growth.

A Vision for SLU Research

Our research growth aspirations envision SLU as a preeminent Jesuit research university located in St. Louis. This includes the following characteristics:

  • A 21st-century Carnegie 1 research university grounded in SLU’s Jesuit mission
  • Rooted in St. Louis as an anchor institution, generating research, innovation and talent to fuel the region’s knowledge economy
  • Distinctive, top-ranked research strengths that address the needs of our city, nation and world
  • Innovative partnerships with universities, investors, companies, community and civic organizations
  • An enhanced research reputation that drives overall metrics on faculty recruitment, student enrollment, clinical care and philanthropy

Accomplishments from the First Five Years

Within the past five years, the University has made a number of significant accomplishments toward realizing this vision. These include: 

  • Building a Culture of Research Excellence: In the past five years, the University has enhanced research support by expanding capacity for strategy, grants, research computing and innovation. The University has also offered new opportunities for seed funding, and established four research councils to support work in scholarship, health, science and engineering, and medicine.

  • The Establishment of the Research Institute: The SLU Research Institute was established in 2018 following a gift from Dr. Jeanne and Mr. Rex Sinquefield. The goals of the Research Institute built upon the University’s existing research growth ambitions, allowing transformative investments in faculty, research staff and infrastructure across all disciplines. Funding from the Research Institute also assists departments in hiring and retaining exceptional researchers. In 2022, the Research Institute appointed the initial cohort of Research Institute Fellows.

  • Big Ideas & Centers: SLU researchers have established 8 University-wide, collaborative Institutes to tackle some of our greatest scientific and social challenges of the day, from access to clean water to health disparities across the United States. The University has also strengthened existing centers, and faculty have formed new college-level centers. SLU researchers have also established themselves as national leaders in crucial areas including vaccine development and geospatial science.

  • Launch of the Taylor Geospatial Institute: In Spring 2022, leaders from St. Louis’ business, civic, academic and governmental communities came together to celebrate the launch of the Taylor Geospatial Institute, a first-of-its-kind institution that brings together eight leading research institutions to collaborate on research into geospatial technology. The Institute is initially housed at SLU.

  • Heightening the Public Perception of SLU as a Growing Research University: The University has improved the ways we recognize and communicate our researchers’ accomplishments. As part of this work, the Research Institute launched its Annual Impact Report in January 2021 and relaunched its website in Fall 2021.

  • Growth in Research Funding, Scholarly & Scientific Impact: The past five years have seen significant growth in research funding across the University: $58 million in research expenditures, an 8% annual growth rate since 2016, and 13% from 2020-2022.

The next five-year plan builds on these accomplishments. 

The Next Five-Year Plan

In Fall 2022, SLU rolled out its next five-year research growth plan for achieving our vision of becoming a preeminent Jesuit research university in St. Louis. This plan envisions that, by 2027, the experience of being a researcher at SLU will be characterized by:

  • A Vibrant Research Environment: SLU will be home to an interdisciplinary and diverse intellectual community made up of mission-driven, collaborative and ambitious faculty, staff and students. Research will be supported by excellent research infrastructure and skilled support staff. High expectations and recognition for research excellence will be balanced with appropriate teaching loads for highly productive researchers.

  • Outstanding Research Support: SLU will offer enhanced support for exploring new ideas, finding collaborators, growing research programs, managing grants and navigating compliance. Research staff will offer expertise in finding diverse federal, philanthropic and industry funding; building innovative collaborations with external entities; and generating impact through publication and commercialization.

  • A Heightened Research Profile and Reputation: Regionally and nationally, SLU will be known as one of the leading Catholic research universities. SLU will be recognized for its distinctive top-ranked research strengths and its preeminent scholars and scientists. 

To achieve this vision, in the next five years, SLU will: 

  • Accelerate the Hiring and Retaining of Research-Intensive Faculty: The University will achieve a critical mass of high research-intensive faculty by making strategic hires in key areas; establishing transparent and measurable expectations for research productivity; recognizing top researchers as Research Institute Fellows and endowed professorships; and empowering departments to hire top faculty candidates, and retain research-intensive faculty.

  • Grow Research Strengths through Centers of Excellence, Growth Areas: The University will grow existing Big Ideas Institutes and University-wide Centers of Excellence. The University will also implement a designation process to solidify existing college-level strengths and invest in areas with high potential for growth in research funding and scholarly eminence. The University will support all of these with faculty hiring, fundraising and communications.

  • Establish Research Growth as a SLU-wide Priority: Accomplishing SLU’s full research vision—and fully realizing its benefits—requires engagement and close collaboration across many parts of the University.  To achieve this, this University will make research an essential element of the University’s brand, fully integrate research into the student experience, strengthen clinical research, and ensure nimble research-related policies and practices.

  • Solidify SLU’s Role as a Leading St. Louis Research University: The University will solidify its place as a preeminent research university in the St. Louis region, delivering the talent, research, innovation and clinical care that drives the region’s knowledge economy.

 The following elements will enable SLU to achieve this plan: 

  • Increase Faculty Research Support: The University will build on research support enhancements from the past five years to address ongoing gaps, and build capacities needed for continued growth.

  • Enhance Research Philanthropy: The University will build on momentum generated by the recent $600 million fundraising campaign, the 2018 $50 million Research Institute gift, and the 2022 legacy gift to create the Taylor Geospatial Institute to accelerate fundraising capacity for research and innovation priorities.

  • Enhance Research Communications: The University will build research communications as a service for faculty,  to increase enrollment, clinical care and philanthropy, and to raise SLU’s regional and national profile as an emerging research powerhouse.

  • Pursue SLU Innovation: The University will position itself as an academic leader in innovation to enhance efforts to recruit the most talented researchers and students, and to build partnerships with companies and investors.

View the University five-year plan

Share Your Feedback

More details about the five-year plan will be shared in November 2022 at a series of listening sessions hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Presenters will discuss this plan, answer questions, and solicit feedback and input. No RSVP is required. 

Each listening session will have a theme for a broad area of research. At each session, presenters will walk through the university-wide five-year plan slides linked above. Additionally, each presentation will include information tailored to each of these themes. These additional slides are linked below:

  • Medicine – This listening session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Thursday, November 10, in the Doisy Research Center, 9th floor
  • Science and Engineering – This listening session will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, November 10, in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building, Room 211
  • Scholarship – This listening session will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday, November 14, in Morrissey Hall, Room 200
  • Health (Slides to be added soon) - This listening session will take place from 3:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 15, in the School of Nursing Lecture Hall

In addition to the listening sessions, members of the campus community are invited to share their thoughts on the five-year plan using the form linked below. 

Submit Your Feedback on SLU’s Five-Year Research Growth Plan