Presidential Podcast: Episode #5

UND Interim President Wynne fields a question during a recent radio interview on 1100 AM The Flag’s morning show.

On the latest episode of UND’s Presidential Podcast, Interim President Joshua Wynne talks research. He outlines the importance of many collaborative research efforts throughout the North Dakota University System. These include the recently formed North Dakota State Board of Higher Education Research Committee, INBRE (North Dakota IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence at UND) and EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research at North Dakota State University). President Wynne also focuses on several initiatives undertaken at UND and in the region to stimulate research activities.

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Prefer to read it instead? is the full transcript:

Hello once again, I’m UND President Joshua Wynne. I want to welcome you to Episode Number 5 of the UND Presidential Podcast.

I’ve really enjoyed bringing these messages to you every two weeks as a way to keep the UND campus community and the public at large more informed about important happenings at your University of North Dakota.

You can easily find this and past podcast recordings on the UND President’s page at und.edu/president. I’m also pleased to announce that you can now find all of my recordings on Spotify alongside your other favorite podcasts.

Also, please feel free to submit questions that you would like me to address in future podcasts. You can send your questions and suggestions to me at und.inforequest@UND.edu. Please put “Presidential Podcast” in the subject line. You will find a handy e-mail link for this on the UND President’s page.

I look forward to hearing from you.

As many of you may know, there is a newly instituted North Dakota State Board of Higher Education Research Committee that’s been up and running since early August.

This committee is chaired by state board vice president Dr. Casey Ryan, who was president of Altru Hospital here in Grand Forks for many years.

I must say, three months after its first meeting right here on the UND campus, I am really excited about the direction that this committee is heading. I think that it is starting to evolve very nicely into a true voice and a force — on the positive side — for research in the state.

I have been very pleased with the cooperative spirt from Dr. Ryan and our other committee partners. The committee has positioned itself to do something of substance to help all NDUS institutions have an even more robust research agenda.

Since university research in North Dakota naturally revolves around the two research-intensive institutions – UND and North Dakota State University—the new research committee includes me, NDSU President Dean Bresciani, and our respective Vice Presidents for Research, John Mihelich at UND and Jane Schuh at NDSU. But the nine other NDUS institutions have a voice on the committee as well.

As excited as I am about the momentum this committee is gaining as a force for research across the university system, I am also impressed with the new collaborative energy that’s developing at UND and NDSU.

Vice President Mihelich and Vice President Schuh already have had multiple productive discussions on ways we can partner with the research committee to help develop even more collaborative research between our two great institutions as well as the other nine NDUS institutions within the state.

This is especially true with collaborative research programs, such as the North Dakota IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, better known as INBRE and based at UND; and North Dakota EPSCoR or the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, located at NDSU.

Both programs’ reach is much broader than just their home campuses, as they provide the resources to affect and encourage competitive research across the state.

And though very important, the state’s research enterprise isn’t important solely because of commercialization and technology transfer opportunities.

As I like to point out with my background in medical and health-related research, innovation that simply improves the quality of people’s lives is good in and of itself, regardless of whether there necessarily is a direct economic benefit to the state.

This kind of basic research is the foundation of our pursuit for knowledge and often leads to even more exciting findings. It only makes sense, then, to undertake this important work collaboratively rather than alone.

I was happy to be reminded recently by UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo that UND and NDSU’s research divisions are working together to develop a collaborative online grant-submittal process to help streamline such activities at the research institutions.

Along the same lines, Energy & Environmental Research Center Director Charlie Gorecki shared with me that the new State Energy Research Center, based at UND, is launching an online portal for the research universities to upload and share energy-related outreach materials. UND, NDSU and Williston State University are among the early collaborators in the exciting venture.

Still another example of a new spirit of collaboration in North Dakota can be seen in the area of Information Technology and Infrastructure. That’s where both UND and NDSU are working with the University of Minnesota and other major research institutions in the region to maintain a robust and powerful information superhighway to share research.

I’m told it’s even caught the attention of regional hospitals, where our student-physicians and medical residents are able to tap into this super-charged research portal for the benefit of their patients and healthcare across the state.

It isn’t just our Vice Presidents for Research who are working well together. I have known NDSU President Bresciani for his entire tenure here in North Dakota, and he and I have always had a great working relationship.

Both President Bresciani and I have made it crystal clear that there is an expectation that our two institutions will continue to work together as collaboratively as possible whenever and wherever it makes sense, especially with our state-related grant programs, such as INBRE and EPSCoR.

That clear message coming from both of us, I believe, has really set the stage for future success.

Before I conclude today’s visit with you, I want to mention how pleased I have been with the participation of the campus community and beyond for our UND Faculty Lectures.

We have had two wonderful speakers to start off this year’s series, with Dr. Don Warne of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences; and Crystal Alberts of the UND English Departments. Their topics were both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The series continues on Wednesday, Nov. 20 with our next speaker Nuri Oncel, associate professor of physics and astrophysics. The title of Nuri’s lecture is posed as a question: “Have you ever seen an atom?” Nuri, whose research involve creating objects measured in nanometers – or a billionth of a meter—says that if you’ve never actually seen an atom, you really should come to his talk.

I know I’ll be there.

All Faculty Lectures begin with a reception at 4 p.m., followed by the presentations at 4:30 p.m. in Room 7 of the UND Education & Human Development building on campus.
See you there!

That’s it for today’s podcast. Thanks so much for joining me. I look forward to bringing you another installment later this month on Nov. 22. As always – Go UND!