Research and Innovation
This has been a great year at Kent State University. As its 13th president, I am proud to take the reins of leadership at such an exciting time for our institution, as we take even bolder steps to enhance our research and innovation successes.
In this issue, we showcase the depth, breadth and diversity of our faculty and student researchers, leading to new partnerships, new opportunities and an increase in undergraduate research.
We established and broke ground on the Design Innovation Hub, which will be the center of a broad network of interdisciplinary creativity, collaboration and discovery, providing all students and faculty with the tools and opportunities to develop and market ingenious solutions to real-world problems.
We hosted a remarkable symposium highlighting our strength in environmental science and design, inviting researchers from across the country to speak here and learn about what makes Kent State a great research partner in these fields.
We have enjoyed one of our best external funding years in recent memory, celebrated prestigious awards and fellowships among our faculty and students and taken on key leadership roles driving innovation and technology commercialization in the region.
And we have established two strategic research institutes, in brain health and in advanced materials and liquid crystals, that will place Kent State at the center of scientific exploration and discovery. We also welcomed and appointed, as leaders of those institutes, top-tier researchers whose visions and talents will raise the bar for discovery and innovation on—and well beyond—our campuses.
As you read the stories highlighted in this issue, I hope you will share my pride and excitement for all that is sure to come next.
Todd A. Diacon, PhD, President
“Innovation occurs where fields collide.
I’ve learned over more than 40 years as an academic researcher that nothing successful is built quickly or easily. It takes time to see metrics increase significantly with evidence of substantial and sustained progress.
That is why Kent State’s advances over the past few years are all the more remarkable. The great strides taken by the new research initiatives we have launched should be a point of pride to all the faculty, students and staff who have put great effort into growing the culture of research and innovation at our university.
Our Kent and regional campuses are replete with individuals who are not willing to tolerate the idea of “good enough,” and are impatient with the status quo or a leisurely departure from it. These passionate researchers and scholars have been the primary drivers in all we have accomplished this year.
Our shared mentality—that we will only thrive if we work together and demand the best of each other—underlies our approach to reshaping Kent State’s research infrastructure.
It has been said (more than once by me) that innovation occurs where fields collide. The past academic year has shown me that everyone here, from the president to endowed researchers to assistant professors and first-semester freshmen, understand and appreciate that. We never would have come so far in such a short time if people from every discipline on campus had not been so eager to work together and engage each other across all boundary lines.
This collaborative spirit is the foundation of such major undertakings as our Brain Health Research Institute, our Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute and our four initiatives in Design Innovation, Environmental Science and Design, Global Understanding and Healthy Communities. These programs were conceived and developed by multidisciplinary teams with a commitment to pursue highly significant scientific and societal issues.
This magazine presents just a few of the many possible stories about the advances we have made and how we plan to build on our success. I hope they will prompt you to visit us on campus and partner with us in our efforts to make Kent State, Northeast Ohio and the world a better place.
Paul E. DiCorleto, PhD, Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs