Building on Distinction

Operational Plan for Investing in Research

Through a comprehensive strategy for increasing investment in research, Brown will deepen and broaden its impact, visibility and reputation for distinction.

In alignment with Brown’s strategic plan, Building on Distinction, the Operational Plan for Investing in Research is the detailed roadmap for propelling Brown’s research and scholarship to a new level of excellence. 

The research Brown produces plays a critical role in benefiting communities locally, nationally and around the world. With increased investment in research across all disciplines — in areas ranging from treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and unraveling the mysteries of RNA, to confronting social and economic inequality, addressing climate challenges, and deepening our understanding of the historical and cultural legacies that shape current issues — Brown stands ready to make a transformative impact on the lives of individuals, families and society.

Read the Operational Plan for Investing in Research

The Strategy

The strategy for investing in research balances common needs that benefit disciplines and scholars across the entire University with targeted investments in signature research initiatives that align with Brown’s strengths and strategic priorities. Brown has a unique opportunity to significantly grow its research activity with focused planning, prioritization, and processes that engage stakeholders throughout the community.

  • Investing in People. Growing the research enterprise across disciplines will require significant investments in faculty, students, and staff.
  • Investing in Space. The University has several significant space needs across campus that will require substantial time and appropriate prioritization, planning, and design.
  • Investing in Administrative & Support Services. Growing research will include improving and investing in the resources and services that support the research enterprise.
  • Investing in Signature Research Initiatives. The University solicits proposals for research initiatives that would further existing areas of strength at Brown.


The Operational Plan for Investing in Research builds upon the substantial progress the University has made on the commitments identified in the Building on Distinction[link] strategic plan released in 2014 – and two subsequent operational plans in 2015 and 2018 – which have guided our collective work in strengthening education, scholarship, campus life and operations.

President Christina H. Paxson released an initial draft of the plan to the Brown community in June 2022. It was further refined by hundreds of members of the Brown community who provided valuable feedback through an online survey and multiple campus forums and focus groups in an extensive community engagement process. The plan was developed with the input of deans, chairs of academic departments, directors of major academic institutes and centers, faculty and staff.

One of the core strengths of the plan is its reflection of this broad community engagement process to develop a plan that recognizes Brown’s strengths and needs, reflects the breadth of scholarship at the University, and is complementary to our educational mission.

The operational plan was finalized after being reviewed with the Corporation of Brown University during its October 2022 session and released to the Brown community and the public on October 24, 2022.