STRATEGIC PLAN 2021 - 2025
CENTER FOR QUANTITATIVE LIFE SCIENCES
In Spring 2019, the 5-year review of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB) recommended an institution-wide strategic planning process to better align the vision, mission and operations of the Center with its stakeholders(1) and the larger OSU research
community(2) to promote sustainable innovation and excellence and a stronger and broader based sense of Center identity. Over the course of a year, a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) solicited input and feedback from a wide circle of stakeholders including the Center
research community(3), OSU college deans, Center staff, and the Research Office. Using this feedback and the insight offered through the 5-year review of the Center, the SPC engaged in two phases of strategic planning. In phase 1, the SPC considered strategies to increase the
sustainability, excellence, and innovation of the Center. In phase 2, the SPC identified broadscale Center structures, especially with respect to operations and governance, that would support these strategies. The SPC’s efforts culminated in an important set of recommendations
for the Center’s future strategic planning that closely guided this document.
Steve Shields (facilitator) Michael Freitag (COS)
Brett Tyler (CGRB/CAS) Stephen Ramsey (CVM/COE)
Melissa Haendel (CGRB/CAS) Weng-keen Wong (COE)
Denise Hynes (CGRB/CPHHS) Theresa Filtz (COP)
Staci Simonich (RO) James Watson (CEOAS)
Emily Ho (CPHHS) Steve Strauss (COF)
David Barber (UI&T) Kelly Vining (CAS)
Tom Sharpton (COS/CAS) Jeff Chang (CAS)
Lisa Ganio (COS) John Bolte (CAS)
The Center was formed in 1988 as the Center for Gene Research and Biotechnology. In 2005 it re-oriented towards genomics and biological computing (biocomputing), taking on the name of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing. Since 2012, the Center has dramatically expanded its bioinformatics capabilities and created a cutting edge platform for biocomputing. This includes hands-on research training, enabling OSU researchers to take advantage of the explosively expanding capabilities of genomic technologies to produce massive data sets, use large-scale computing to solve data-intensive research problems, and prepare students to work in a world of ubiquitous data-intensive computing. The range of data types managed and analyzed by Center staff has expanded from nucleic acid sequences to include image, sound, chemical, health and LiDAR data. These continuing contributions of service, training and innovation form the central foundation for the next steps that are outlined in this plan.
Big data and data science pervade every area of the life, agricultural, ecological, environmental and health sciences today and are destined to grow increasingly more important. To remain globally competitive, and to strengthen their impact across OSU’s three signature areas of research, OSU researchers and their trainees need access to infrastructure, training and collaborative expertise in all aspects of the data sciences. They need access to rapidly advancing data generation technologies, including genomics technologies, that will continue to transform the broader life sciences, including agricultural, ecological, marine, biomedical and health sciences. They will need the capabilities to acquire, manage, integrate, analyze, secure, and share massive, diverse sets of genomics, health, biomedical, phenotypic, chemical, image, environmental, geographic, and demographic data. Access to these capabilities must be fully inclusive, equitably available to researchers and trainees from all backgrounds, especially those historically under-represented in STEM.
Consultation with the broad community of Center stakeholders identified four overarching needs that the Center should address:
Support and strengthen existing data generation and analysis capabilities that are highly valued by the Center’s research community.
Expand capabilities in new and emerging areas of data generation and analysis needed by OSU life scientists.
Catalyze innovative interdisciplinary life sciences research enabled by Center capabilities.
Through inclusive governance, strategically focus Center investments in order to achieve impact.
In order to effectively meet these needs, the CGRB will transform itself into the Center for Quantitative Life Sciences (CQLS), with the following mission and strategic goals.
The Center for Quantitative Life Sciences inclusively partners with the OSU community and stakeholders to catalyze innovations and excellence in the generation and applications of big data in all areas of life sciences research.
To accomplish its mission, the CQLS will foster, incubate, and support multi-disciplinary research and training by targeting seven goals:
Identify and develop transformative interdisciplinary research foci, to be called Innovation Priorities Areas (IPAs), through collaboration with OSU faculty and Center stakeholders.
Innovate to expand the capacity and diversity of services and technologies, especially those that facilitate research in the IPAs.
Establish operational procedures that maintain equitable and timely access to high-quality data generation, computational, and data analytical services and technologies to all researchers in the OSU life sciences community.
Establish robust governance structures that include OSU research community members, stakeholders and partners at all levels to strengthen the alignment of CQLS priorities and activities with community, stakeholder, and partner investments and needs.
Expand research training in innovative methods and techniques relevant to data-intensive life sciences research, through collaboration with the OSU research and academic community and stakeholders.
Strategically expand the OSU research community served by the CQLS as well as the stakeholders and partners that support the CQLS, with emphasis on promoting the integration of interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives needed for innovative life sciences research.
In all that we do, continuously strive to advance inclusive excellence and social justice, in support of community-wide imperatives and the university’s Strategic Plan for Diversity.
Targeting the seven strategic goals will position the CQLS for sustainable success given the
following key considerations:
As an interdisciplinary Research Center of Excellence with a strong collaborative culture and connections to the interests of numerous OSU Colleges, Institutes and Centers, the CQLS is uniquely positioned to support and catalyze innovative, data-intensive research across the life sciences
Opportunities for data-intensive life sciences innovation are diverse and numerous. Therefore, the CQLS must prioritize opportunities in conjunction with its stakeholders in order to effectively invest in innovation. The current and expanding needs of the OSU research community that the Center serves, the diverse interests of the Center‘s stakeholders (e.g., college leadership, research office, external partners), and the reality of limited resources motivate the CQLS to emphasize specific innovation priority areas (IPAs). IPAs should align with current Center core expertise and should motivate the development of new expertise. These IPAs should be led by CQLS community members, developed in collaboration with the CQLS community and stakeholders, including college leadership, and reviewed annually. Establishing these IPAs should facilitate efficient use of resources and should align the CQLS’s service offerings and activities with its strategic goals.
Investigators need access to new technologies and increased research capacities. Technological innovations and changes in the scale of research have expanded the diversity and volume of biological data generation, respectively, and have driven advances in data analysis. The CQLS should provide access to new technologies, especially those that require substantial capital expenditures for procurement as well as expertise and infrastructure for their implementation that are beyond the reach of individual investigators. Stakeholder input and support, including but not limited to financial capital, will be needed to ensure that the CQLS can deliver these new technologies to OSU researchers. Partnerships with regional institutions should be sought where appropriate.
In addition to new technologies, investigators depend on established Center services, infrastructure, and activities for their success. At OSU, there remains a need for access to essential high-quality life science data generation, analysis, and technical training services. The CQLS should serve both individual investigators as well as research teams through its core services and training activities. In particular, the CQLS should ensure that the coordination and provision of services to IPAs also strengthens the access to and the quality of critical CQLS services and activities required by the OSU research community at large. Furthermore, the CQLS should adopt operational structures that ensure effective, fair, and high-quality delivery of these services and facilities to all community members.
Alignment between the CQLS’s mission, community needs, and stakeholder interests should be ensured through collaborative governance. The CQLS’s ability to meet the needs of its research community and stakeholders benefits from cooperative partnerships. The community stands to benefit the most when the CQLS 's services are aligned with community needs. Such alignment will benefit the Center and its community through collaborative investment and coordination of efforts. To ensure effective alignment, the CQLS should develop collaborative governance structures that include community members and stakeholders in CQLS decisions.
The Center serves a diverse and growing community of OSU researchers. However, it is not always evident to those outside the Center who does or can benefit from it. The CQLS can optimize its impact by communicating more clearly to current and future users what Center services, facilities and activities are available that may be of benefit to them. The CQLS’ activities and infrastructure hold potential to impact a broader OSU community, which can help drive interdisciplinary innovations. Engaging the OSU community about CQLS offerings and capabilities, defining the scope of the Center community, and developing strategies for sustainably expanding this community can help the CQLS optimize its impact at OSU.
Through its position as a nexus for collaborative interdisciplinary research and training, the CQLS has a unique capability and responsibility to model and catalyze inclusive excellence across the life sciences research enterprise, and to promote research and training that advances social justice.
To place the CQLS on a successful pathway to meeting these objectives, the following five
steps will be implemented over the next 24 months:
Establish CQLS governance bodies that include the CQLS community and stakeholders in the Center’s decision-making process. The CQLS requires guidance from the life science and related research communities as well as CQLS stakeholders to ensure that Center priorities align with its mission. The CQLS will establish inclusive governance bodies, including an Internal Steering Committee (ISC) composed of faculty, an Internal Advisory Board that includes college leadership, and an External Advisory Board, to ensure that CQLS activities optimally benefit the researcher community, integrate with university-wide programs, and benefit from diverse stakeholder perspectives.
Adopt an operational structure that ensures effective execution of CQLS services. The Center will reorganize to expand its capacity to serve IPAs without compromising critical services to the OSU research community at large. The operational structure will include an Associate Director for Operations, well-defined staff teams with responsibilities aligned with CQLS strategic goals, and regular, transparent pathways of communication.
Collaborate with the community through its Internal Steering Committee and its Internal Advisory Board to establish a community-driven, inclusive, fair, and transparent process for determining IPAs. The process should also include methods for evaluating and ultimately sunsetting IPAs as new priorities emerge.
Create an engagement plan that explains the scope of the CQLS, what Center services, facilities and activities are available that may be of benefit to them, and clarifies its governance, communication and collaboration processes. To grow awareness of the Center’s expanded mission and clarify the value of its services to both its primary research community and stakeholders, as well as the broader OSU community, the Center will work with its ISC to develop and initiate a community engagement campaign.
Collaborate with the Center community and the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity to define specific actions the Center can take to support the university’s Diversity Strategic Plan and advance inclusive excellence and social justice across the interdisciplinary life sciences research enterprise.
Stakeholders as used here is an all-inclusive term that includes everyone that has an interest in, or relationship to the Center. Faculty, the Research Office, Colleges, external partners etc. all fall within this category.
OSU research community refers to all those faculty, staff, administrators and students associated with the broader research mission of Oregon State University
The Center research community is a broad subset of stakeholders that work frequently and directly with the Center.
In Fall 2020, the Center formed a Transition Committee composed of members of the Strategic Planning Committee and of the CGRB’s current Scientific Advisory Board. The members of the Transition Committee are listed below. Two principal missions of the Transition Committee were (i) to finalize the Strategic Plan itself, that appears above, and (ii) to complete action item #1, to define the governance bodies for the new Center for Quantitative Life Sciences. The Transition Committee began with the recommendations of the Strategic Planning Committee and consulted closely with Center staff and with university leadership including the Vice-President for Research, the Associate Vice-President for Research, the Chief Information Officer, the acting Vice-Provost for Extension and Engagement, and the acting University Librarian, and the leadership teams of each of the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Engineering, the College of Forestry, and the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.
Membership of the Center Transition Committee
Brett Tyler, chair (CGRB/CAS)*
Denise Hynes (CGRB/CPHHS)*
Tom Sharpton (COS)*
Theo Dreher (COS)†
Steve Strauss (COF)*†
Chrissa Kioussi (COP)†
Steve Ramsey (CVM, COE)*
Nik Grunwald (CAS)†
* Member of the Strategic Planning Committee
† Member of the CGRB Scientific Advisory Board
The work of the Center Transition Committee was facilitated by Stephen Shields (Constructive
Governance of the Center for Quantitative Life Sciences.
The Center Transition Committee proposes that there be three bodies that contribute to the governance of the CQLS, in partnership with the Vice-President for Research (VPR) and the Center Director. They are an External Advisory Board (EAB), a University Advisory Board (UAB), and a Faculty Steering Committee (FSC). The details of these three bodies will be announced in the near future.