Published: July 28, 2020

Campuses are hosting a virtual town hall this week for faculty interested in research collaborations

Today, the University of Colorado announced the launch of AB Nexus, an initiative to expand research collaborations between the CU Anschutz and CU Boulder campuses. 

By combining expertise at both CU Anschutz and CU Boulder in biosciences, engineering, biotechnology, space, pharmacology, public health, mental health and many other areas, AB Nexus will create opportunities to drive innovation and win competitive research awards.

“CU’s world-class researchers have long excelled at collaborations that improve lives, save lives and enhance the quality of life in our state and beyond,” said CU President Mark Kennedy. “This effort will lead to even more innovation and discovery.” 

AB Nexus is supported by the president’s office and leadership at both campuses with a combined commitment of $3 million dedicated to the program. It’s also estimated that the collaborative effort has the potential to garner up to $50 million in additional funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) alone. 

“By expanding our research collaborations with CU Boulder, we have an opportunity to strengthen our impact in developing innovative care and research that will improve lives,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman, Jr. “We’ve learned that sometimes the most meaningful breakthroughs happen when we remove barriers to collaborate across disciplines. We welcome visionary leaders in research on both campuses to participate in this new initiative.”

AB Nexus will sponsor a research collaboration grant program, with the first request for proposals announced this fall. Research projects will combine two or more disciplines that demonstrate the potential for sustained or increased collaboration over time and be competitive for external funding opportunities.

“CU faculty have a great track record in cross-disciplinary research, so it makes great sense to foster more cross-campus research as well,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “Together, CU represents one of the top 10 public research enterprises in the nation, positively impacting humanity and our economy.”

In the coming year, AB Nexus will focus on enhancing efficiency in administrative processes, increasing partnerships, strengthening existing areas of connectivity, and supporting joint proposals between CU Anschutz and CU Boulder. 

To collaborate even more effectively and efficiently together, administrative teams on both campuses have already identified and executed improvements in several key areas.  

  • Each campus will have a dedicated research partnership specialist. Diane Ladell, MPH, at CU Anschutz, and Kristen Kruszewski, PhD, at CU Boulder, will work directly with researchers. 
  • Assistance with individual or group connectivity between campuses, initiation of funding mechanisms to sponsor joint research projects and streamlined administrative processes for joint proposals will be offered. 
  • Proposal development support for collaborative research proposals will also be available. 
  • Processes for joint proposals between the CU Anschutz and CU Boulder campuses now incorporate expedited proposal reviews, reduced form and signature requirements, and no additional F&A on the first $25k of direct costs on intercampus subcontracts. 
  • A Master Collaboration Agreement (MCA) between the campuses was executed in June, establishing consistent terms and conditions for research awards between campuses and minimizing documentation needed by the PI. 

To learn more, please visit the AB Nexus website and attend the AB Nexus virtual town hall on Friday, July 31, at 8 a.m. with Thomas Flaig, MD, vice chancellor of research at CU Anschutz, and Terri Fiez, vice chancellor of research and innovation at CU Boulder.