A Top-Down and Bottom-Up Leadership Approach to Research Cluster Initiatives

Last updated November 21, 2022

Course Length

1h 51m

Last Updated

November 21, 2022

A Top-Down and Bottom-Up Leadership Approach to Research Cluster Initiatives

Last updated November 21, 2022

Learn how to lead a successful research cluster planning initiative by aligning institutional research goals and generating buy-in across administrative and faculty audiences.


Research clusters help institutions strengthen research activity by promoting innovative and multidisciplinary research, attracting top research talent, garnering external funding, and promoting institutional identity. Further, by taking part in these initiatives, faculty and academic leaders of various levels gain exposure to strategic planning and leadership development. In this training, we’ll leverage one institution’s blend of a “top-down” and “bottom-up” leadership approach that successfully aligned multiple components of institutional strategy and generated campus wide buy-in.

Join us for this interactive session, where Dr. Warren Burggren of the University of North Texas will walk you through three key aspects of a successful research cluster initiative:

  • Institutional alignment and strategy
  • Collaborative leadership across roles and responsibilities
  • Evaluation of short-term and long-term success

This training will emphasize the roles of both faculty and administrators in leading an initiative that resulted in a multi-year, institution-wide research cluster initiative that created targeted faculty hires and generated a major increase in external funding.

Who should attend?

This program was designed to highlight how various levels of leadership can contribute to the research cluster initiative. The following groups will be highlighted:

  • Central-level leaders such as Provosts and VPs
  • Unit-level leaders such as Program Directors, Chairs, and Deans
  • Center and Institute leaders
  • Research administrators and leaders
  • Senior faculty looking to lead research cluster efforts


January 25, 2022

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Part 1: Institutional Alignment & Strategy

A successful research cluster initiative needs to take a realistic look at institutional research goals and develop an institution-specific process. During the first part of this session, we will outline considerations for matching institutional strengths to local, regional, and national funding opportunities. We will then turn to developing a data-driven, long-term strategy that sustains and grows emerging clusters.


Part 2: Leadership Across Roles & Responsibilities

Sustainable success requires leading thoughtful campus-wide discussions enabled by collaborative leadership across a variety of roles and responsibilities. During Part 2 of this session, we will explore how to take a long-term view to managing the implementation, evolution, and maintenance of clusters over the years. Discussion will also include how to involve the humanities and social sciences, as well as STEM disciplines.


Part 3: Evaluation

The final part of this session will provide an overview of how to evaluate success in both the short- and long-term through establishing criteria for existing and new clusters, centers, and institutes.


Open Discussion

At the conclusion of the session, Dr. Burggren will facilitate a discussion session where participants will have ample opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and share their own past and present experiences in research cluster creation.