Since 1997, the Merrill Center has published a series of papers on the Research Mission of Public Universities. All publications are available in print and online at, through Journals@KU, an initiative of the KU Libraries that supports the KU community in the publication of scholarly journals online. Additionally, the Merrill Center has eight scientific books that highlight the latest interdisciplinary approaches to disability across the life span – from infancy to old age.

Mission Retreat White Papers

These white papers represent exchanges between faculty and administrators who are committed to nationally-competitive research at their state schools. At the annual Merrill retreat, participants share best practices for supporting innovative faculty, building research programs between institutions, and enhancing institutional rankings.

Hot topics have included:

  • The decline in support from state governments for their higher education institutions
  • Contributions scientists can make in the war on terrorism
  • How to build public advocacy for research
  • How to collaborate with business and increase R&D dollars
  • How to evaluate entrepreneurial faculty and give credit to programs that train scientists for industry
  • Should funding by the National Institutes of Health be considered the gold standard?
  • Should administrators target niche programs in their quest for excellence?
  • How has graduate education changed as the university becomes more entrepreneurial?

White papers, 1997-2021:

2022: Surviving and Anticipating Waves of Change in Public Research Universities (Coming Soon)

2021: Planning for Research After Covid

2019: Challenges for Implementation of Cross-Disciplinary Research in the Big Data Era

2018: Re-Thinking and Re-Engineering Incentives for Scholarly Activities across the Research Enterprise in an Open Access Environment

2017: University Research Planning in the Data Era: Working with the Levers and Pulleys that Tie Together Research Information, from Big Data to Local Details

2016: Building Research Infrastructure: Planning for Future Needs and Implementing for Change 

2015: Research Innovation as a Pathway to the Future

2014: Planning for Future Research in Public Universities in Uncertain Times

2013: Planning for Research Excellence in the Era of Analytics

2012: Information Systems as Infrastructure for University Research Now and in the Future

2011: Behavioral and Social Sciences as Key Components in National Research Initiatives

2010: Sustaining and Enhancing the Research Mission of Public Universities 

2009: Regional Research Collaborations

2008: Global Research Collaborations

2007: Future Directions for Federal Research Funding

2006: The Privatization of Public Universities: Implications for the Research Mission 

2005: The Interface of Science and Public Policy

2004: Riding the Momentum of Research: Leadership Challenges in Public Research Universities 

2003: Recruiting and Training Future Scientists: How Policy Shapes the Mission of Graduate Education

2002: Science at a Time of National Emergency

2001: Evaluating Research Productivity

2000: Making Research a Part of the Public Agenda

1999: Building Cross-University Alliances that Enhance Research

1998: Mobilizing for Research Opportunities in the Next Century

1997: Planning for the Research Mission of Public Universities in the Twenty-first Century