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On October 29th, members of the Tufts research and scholarship community gathered to officially kick off implementation of the Research and Scholarship Strategic Plan (RSSP)Participants came from across all of Tufts’ schools and campuses - the SMFA, Medford, Boston, and Grafton – and included representatives from the university leadership,  Libraries, Tufts Medical Center, and external partners, highlighting the cross-disciplinary collaborative nature of the RSSP.

Part of the event’s goal was to share results of the strategic planning initiative with the community and to further engage colleagues from across multiple disciplines to jointly seek out innovative solutions to pressing societal and global challenges.

President Monaco started the day off by charting the identification of strategic research priority areas based on the information gathering phase, which engaged the Tufts community widely over the course of 18 months.  The priority areas closely align with expertise and current opportunity at Tufts and promise to cement Tufts' national visibility, provide strong return on investment, and benefit the University's entire intellectual community.

In addition to honing priority areas for investment, the planning phase yielded a comprehensive set of recommendations for improving Tufts’ existing research and scholarship infrastructure and resources.  Provost and Senior Vice President ad interim Kochevar outlined the four recommendations that were put forward by the Resources, Barriers, and Facilitators of Research and Scholarship university-wide working group.  The goal of the RSSP is to create a collaborative environment that fosters innovative research and scholarship, ensuring that the Tufts experience—for students, faculty, and staff members—is exciting and fulfilling.

The morning program featured two 1-hour lightning talk sessions in which representatives from the eight priority area funded projects presented brief overviews of their projects, followed by a curated discussion and participation from the audience.

The afternoon program included an interactive session led by the TTS Design Practice team in which participants experienced first-hand how design thinking, an evidence-based framework for generating new ideas, can help foster a durable culture of creativity and collaboration. In this generative and fun activity, participants imagined a major publication writing about the success of their working group in 2023, and, together, created the headline of the article.

In closing, VPR Meydani looked forward to the positive impact on critical world problems that the work explored throughout the day will have.  She expressed Tufts’ aspiration that the investment made today will boost research and scholarship, promote a research-curious culture, and advance innovation at Tufts into the future.  The day ended with a networking reception.