The global trend among universities is to increase their productivity, despite reductions in their budgets, high student demand and teacher shortages. At the same time, governments are strategically looking at universities in order to produce short-term practical solutions to their complex problems by promoting the knowledge economy and the commercialization of their intellectual property. The real investment of a developing country lies in innovation. The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) is not exempt from this trend. The UPR must have a leading role in the economic, social, cultural and environmental development of Puerto Rico. The promotion of excellence in research and education, emphasizing the mutual dependence of these activities on all levels of learning, should be the north and aspiration of our institution.

During the past decades, the increase in research activity in the UPRM has allowed the creation of new graduate programs, the diversification of research areas, a gradual increase of publications and patents, the obtaining of instrumentation and infrastructure, etc. This growth has not been sustained by a strong research culture, which in turn is tied to a sense of urgency at an administrative level that allows creating the ideal environment for the full development of research projects. We all recognize the incredible strategic potential of the UPRM to be the engine of socio-economic changes with its multidisciplinary and comprehensive research. Although defining research culture is a rather complex attempt, it is recognized worldwide that it allows to maximize the generation of new knowledge that in principle fulfills the main role of any university institution. Despite some progress in developing a highly competitive university in research, there are still many challenges and opportunities to address at all levels. On the other hand, the research activity must be a fundamental and essential part of the teaching practice, in total harmony with the other academic responsibilities, to guarantee the time and effort to advance this culture. Finally, students who expose themselves to a strong research culture acquire skills that strengthen their critical thinking, helping them to obtain better employment and business creation opportunities, or to move towards other academic goals.

It is necessary for the university community to agree on a strategic plan to achieve the aspirations of UPRM as one of the main protagonists in the intellectual and economic development of the society that surrounds it. The mobilization of all the researchers and the support of the administration is essential to advance a clear and participative agenda that allows the channeling of ideas of all the components of the university that helps to improve the research culture of UPRM.

Through the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee, it is proposed that the university community channel their concerns, concerns, ideas and suggestions in an organized manner to identify in the current situation the aspects that should be improved. From the forum on December 6, 2013 will arise core issues that the committee will discuss to develop action plans, which could include changes to policies and institutional processes. Among the topics of interest, the committee will work on aspects of administration in research, the promotion of multidisciplinary activities, the challenges and opportunities that researchers perceive and finally to be able to develop an institutional vision of research in UPRM. This committee will collaborate with the governing bodies of the UPRM to create the bases to: (1) define, promote and disseminate priorities and research activities consistent or suggesting changes to the institutional policies and processes and strategic plans, (2) promote the full development of graduate studies; (3) ensure the quality and consistency of research projects; and (4) promote the obtaining of more funds for research.

Structure of the Ad Hoc Committee
The Ad Hoc Committee for the Improvement of the Research Culture in the UPRM will have the task of collecting the input of the entire university community, carrying out a systematic analysis of all this information and proposing in writing action plans that encourage improving the research culture in the UPRM in the short, medium and long term. The collection of information can be done as the Committee understands, based on what is proposed in the forum. Among the options, you can consider other forums, interviews and written reports with researchers and Graduate Studies and Research Committees of all departments, interviews with university administration, conversations with funding agencies for research and other university institutions, bibliographic search and questionnaires.

The Ad Hoc Committee for the Improvement of the Research Culture in the UPRM will be made up of experts in various disciplines appointed by the Rector at the suggestion of the Faculty and Postdoctoral Research Academy and its Advisory Board (composed of the Director of the IADC and the Deans of Research of all the Faculties). The members of the committee will be suggested in a way that encourages discussion, constructive argumentation, effective articulation of solutions to existing problems and representation of the different faculties. The members of the committee are expected to have experience in one or more of the following aspects: institutional policies in research (in the UPRM and in other institutions), administration of research projects (local and external funds), recruitment of graduate students, programs Doctorates, intellectual property and entrepreneurship, economic development, dissemination of results and ethics in research, strategic institutional, departmental plans, etc.

To guarantee a good representativeness of our Campus, the Committee must have representation of both genders and at least one graduate student. The Committee will have the advice or advice of the Advisory Board of the Research Academy, the Professional Enrichment Center and the mentors of the Research Academy’s mentoring program, and with resources and administrative support from the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Functions of the Ad Hoc Committee
  • The Ad Hoc Committee will internally select a governance structure and develop a work plan that will be shared with the university community.
  • The Ad Hoc Committee will actively announce to the university community the mechanisms to collect their input on the current situation of research in UPRM and the ideas or suggestions to make substantial or profound changes to institutional policies that do not allow the advancement of the research culture.
  • The Ad Hoc Committee will meet and report periodically to the university community. For example, you will post information on your progress on the Research Academy website.
  • The Ad Hoc Committee may refer, recommend or promote plans, proposals, policies and institutional processes that impact the research culture of the different governing bodies of UPRM.
  • At the end of their work plan, the Ad Hoc Committee must submit a final report and make a presentation to the university community.
Members of the Ad Hoc Committee
  1. Dr. José Vega – Business Administration
  2. Dr. Félix Román – Arts and Sciences
  3. Mr. Heberth Diestra – Engineering (Graduate School)
  4. Dr. Jeffrey Herlihy – Arts and Sciences
  5. Dr. David González – Business Administration
  6. Dr. Juan Martínez Cruzado – Arts and Sciences
  7. Dr. Linda Wessel Beaver – Agricultural Sciences
  8. Dr. José Colom – Engineering
  9. Dr. Teodoro Ruiz – Agricultural Sciences
  10. Dra. Madeline Torres – Engineering
  11. Dr. Fernando Gilbes – Arts and Sciences
  12. Dra. Ingrid Padilla – Engineering



– Status of Research and Creative Labor: Challenges and Opportunities – Ad-Hoc Committee for the Improvement of Research Culture in UPRM
– Ad-Hoc Committee for the Improvement of the Research Culture in the UPRM (March 2016)