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Objective III

Develop world-class researchers.

A research university produces two products that impact the research world. The explicit output of our research endeavor is new knowledge — insights and inventions that advance the state-of-the-art. However, a top-tier research university also produces outstanding researchers.

For the School of Engineering & Applied Science to have an impact on the world through our research enterprise, we need to produce the people who will influence the research community of the future, and they must be strong enough that they find their way to the significant research institutions of their fields.

Goal 1: Increase the number of PhD applications from strong technical institutions and resulting matriculation rate.

The quality of the PhD researchers we graduate is impacted greatly by the strength of the PhD students we recruit. After identifying strong engineering and science undergraduate institutions (including WashU), we need to increase the PhD applicant pool from these schools.

Goal 2: Provide nontechnical training and support to complement the research development of PhDs.

For our PhD students to develop into and be viewed as significant researchers, they need to communicate well and learn skills beyond their technical domain. Quantitative metrics include the number of successful placements into high-quality research positions. Qualitative metrics include reports from faculty colleagues regarding the strength of presentation and communication of our PhD graduates.

Goal 3: Produce more professors from our PhD and postdoctoral students.

University research is recognized not only for the technical results produced but also for the researchers that the School develops. A key element is the number of PhD and postdoctoral students who go on to become professors, and in particular professors at significant research universities.

Goal 4: Achieve a greater balance between domestic and international PhDs.

We have been explicitly developing international visibility through a variety of university-wide initiatives. But less attention has been paid to enhancing our domestic presence.

Goal 5: Develop a research population whose demographics more closely reflects those of society.

World-class researchers are present in every sector of society. We must seek participants from all backgrounds, cultures, races and gender to find the best such talent. Whether at the PhD, postdoctoral or faculty level, the pursuit of a diverse research population is a critical goal.

Goal 6: Develop all faculty regardless of rank.

It is understood that beginning assistant professors need guidance in both executing a successful research agenda and navigating the academic environment at WashU. But all faculty can benefit from effective mentoring to improve their research, increase their impact, and enhance their stature.