No strategic plan would be complete without considering the resources needed to execute the ideas and recommendations presented in the plan. As the very foundation of this strategic plan, the shared values of stewardship and accountability indicate the importance of fiscal stability and creating the opportunity to invest in ways that will serve the best interests of the university.

Investment strategies should be consistent with the guiding principles of continuous strategic thinking, data-driven decision-making, innovation, excellence and stewardship of our resources. Concurrently, this requires a careful analysis of current programs to ensure resources are allocated to strategic priorities, efficiencies are leveraged, and sustainable and diverse resources are advanced. In this regard, new or enhanced priorities may be funded by the redeployment of existing funds from lower priorities or via recaptured revenue due to cost savings within or across units. The university’s new budget model will create a platform where the alignment of financial resources to our strategic priorities is more easily accomplished. Sources of new revenue for investment in strategic priorities may be external (e.g., grants, gifts, corporate investments) or internal. One of the internal sources for supporting aspects of Forging the Future is the Strategic Investment Fund.

Why is there a Strategic Investment Fund (SIF)?

The purpose of the SIF is to provide one source of resources to support the strategic plan by supporting large, cross-institutional initiatives that will have significant impact throughout the university and impacting multiple schools. UAB has some of the best and brightest employees who bring with them new initiatives and ideas for moving the institution forward. Because of these opportunities for new growth, resources are needed to invest in those ideas that align with the overall strategic plan of the university. Failure to have funds available when the need arises would be detrimental to the overall success of UAB. For example, campus listening sessions have stimulated conversation about the need to incentivize more and better interdisciplinary teaching and research; to be more proactive in helping schools retain their field-shaping faculty; to improve our teaching and research facilities; to invest in IT infrastructure that gives our faculty a competitive edge in a secure and stable communications environment; and to create more opportunities for “seed” investments in innovative and big ideas. The SIF could be a resource for the President, Provost, and Vice President for Research to assist in the recruitment of academic leaders (i.e., Deans) or in the recruitment of funded field-shaping scientists or scholars particularly in cluster hires as well as campus wide priorities such as safety, sustainability, beautification, competitiveness. There will be no shortage of worthy ideas that will align with UAB’s strategic priorities and enhance our current and future environment.

What is the size of the Strategic Investment Fund in the first year?

The SIF will be approximately $10,000,000 in the first year and the intention is to support multiple major projects in a given year. We do not have a defined limit at this time.

Is it common for other universities to have a Strategic Investment Fund?

Yes. Although the fund may have a different name, it is common for universities to set aside resources for new growth and alignment with their strategic plans.