Scholarship on disabilities and the policies shaping university research

2001 Action Plan developed by KC-CELS
The Kansas City Coalition for Excellence in Life Sciences

September 27, 2001 marked the official kickoff of KC-CELS - the Kansas City Coalition for Excellence in Life Sciences. Members met in Tempe, Arizona for stage two of "Biomedical Research Initiatives in Kansas City." They renewed their vision of a Biomed Valley and solidified plans initiated at the May 2001 organizational meeting.

At the May and September meetings, representatives determined best practices for coordinating research at:

  • the University of Kansas - Lawrence campus
  • the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City
  • the University of Missouri at Kansas City
  • the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
  • the Midwest Research Institute

By solidifying official ties between their institutions, members intend to advance research in basic and applied science with the goal of creating breakthroughs in medical treatment. They are coordinating their efforts with the Kansas City Area Life Science Institute >>, a non-profit organization assisting with the transformation of Kansas City into a center for excellence in life sciences research and development.

In September, KC-CELS adopted these five sets of priorities and an action plan, based on recommendations from the KC-CELS workgroups.

Scientists Talking and Working Together 
workgroup spokesperson - Paul Kelly, Chair of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas

1. Identify Life Science coordinators from each institution to form a strategic task force with the Director of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute


  • Select scientists
  • Empower the coordinators via the appointment process

2.    Identify and prioritize the most important life science research themes; identify and recruit team builders; support, support, support team building.


  • Use institutional coordinators to pursue a possible initiative in bio-defense and bio-informatics.
  • Pursue inter-institutional opportunities for training bio-medical researchers at the graduate and post-graduate levels. 
    (Team leader: Tina Hines, Professor of Nursing, University of Missouri at Kansas City)

3.  Identify the major barriers among institutions to research collaborations and communications; break down these barriers.


  • Resource Information Sharing database: make it complete and share it with faculty at the institutions.
  • Use results of Harmonizing Policies Between the Campuses study as a model for looking at barriers among stakeholder institutions.

  • (Team Leaders: Robert Barnhill and Mike Welch, Vice Chancellors for Research, University of Kansas)

Workforce Development
workgroup spokesperson - Allen Rawitch, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Kansas Medical School

1. Enhance the ability of our institutions to recruit the highest quality graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  Explore feasibility of an area-wide graduate program (Ph.D.) in life sciences.


  • Convene a meeting of the graduate deans:
    • to define a focus proposal on enhancing graduate student recruitment (both domestic and international);
    • to examine feasibility of an inter-institutional doctoral program;
    • to define a story to describe graduate opportunities in the area.
      (Team Leader: Allen Rawitch, University of Kansas Medical School)

2. Develop resources to design and execute a current and future workforce needs survey.


  • Update the business plan of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute regarding workforce requirements.

3.  Determine a means to increase the visibility of our programs as critical to workforce development (graduate programs).


  • The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute Communicator group will consider the issue and put forth suggested marketing approaches in coordination with the KC-CELS Marketing workgroup.

Interface of Top Level and Individual Investigator Participation 
spokesperson - Bill Duncan, President, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute

1.Top-level leadership and individual investigator access to leadership structures and decision-making.


  • Institutional heads communicate commitment to their campuses.

2. Process/Facilitator aimed at identifying, qualifying and promoting research initiatives.

3. Trust building between individuals and across institutions through effective communication.

The action items above support trust building.

Key Enabling Technologies
spokesperson - Paul Terranova, Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical School

1. Identify the enabling technologies that can best be met by multi-institutional collaboration.


  • Meeting between workgroup of KC-CELS and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute focus area advisory committee to answer this question and identify existing facilities. 
    (Team Leaders: Jim Roberts, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Kansas, and other institutional representatives)

2. What effective models exist for such multi-institutional shared resources?


  • Benchmarking Workshop  
    (Team Leaders: Steve Ballard, Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Missouri at Kansas City, and Bill Duncan, President, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute)

3. What are the new technologies and strategies that will need to be developed in the next decade?


  • Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute - New Strategic Technologies Committee.

4. Technology transfer and commercialization.


  • Assist ongoing efforts and publicize the outcomes.
    (Team Leader: Ron MacQuarrie, Vice Provost for Research & Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Missouri at Kansas City)

spokesperson - Kim Wilcox, Executive Director, Kansas Board of Regents

1. Clear, compelling and consistent message

2. Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute as a basis for that message

3. Prioritize our needs/requests


  • Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute to coordinate meeting between their Communicators group and the Marketing workgroup of KC-CELS.  Package the message in point 2 above and priorities.
  • Communicate the message at the institutions.

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