Research Development Council (RDC)

The Faculty Advancement in Research (FAR) program has been discontinued until further notice.


The Research Development Council (RDC) was conceived and approved by faculty vote in 1986 as a way to nurture and develop excellence in research and scholarship among members of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) faculty and is the group that provides funding under the Faculty Advancement in Research (FAR) program. The purpose of the RDC is to provide relatively modest amounts of short-term (normally one year) financial support as "seed" money to faculty members and research teams with an emphasis on those who currently lack external funding. The general goal of the RDC is to assist faculty in acquiring off-campus support for research activity, while the more specific objects are:

  1. to foster research programs being developed by newly appointed faculty members;
  2. to support researchers and scholars who have not previously been successful in attracting off-campus funding;
  3. to foster the development of new research programs by experienced researchers;
  4. to support those areas of research and scholarship in which WPI wishes to become especially well-recognized;
  5. to support researchers when necessary to maximize the success of their efforts;
  6. in general, to promote the preparation and submission of proposals for external funding of scholarship and research, as a means of stimulating this activity; and
  7. to review on a regular basis WPI's support for faculty research activity and to recommend changes in policy and practice, where appropriate.

For financial reasons, funding of the RDC was discontinued shortly after it was established until the winter of 1999, when an allocation was made to fund a limited number of programs. Additional funding was then made available for awards to be made for fiscal year 2001 projects and it is expected that annual funding of the RDC will again continue. Funds available at this time must be used for support of the Strategic Initiatives, including the Interdisciplinary Research Areas and increasing the number of Ph.D.'s awarded.

Descriptions of RDC funding categories and organizational composition follow. The full text of the original faculty-approved RDC document provides additional information about funding objectives and other RDC activities/responsibilities.

Funding Categories

Through the RDC, funds are made available in the following categories of research needs:

  1. support for travel necessary to negotiate off-campus mechanism) and limited supplies funding to complete proposals for such funding;
  2. research initiation support for new researchers;
  3. research initiation support for other faculty members developing new areas of expertise;
  4. research completion and proposal preparation support;
  5. support for other travel and publication expenses;
  6. support for equipment repair and maintenance contracts; and
  7. support for major equipment acquisition.

In all cases, RDC funding will be limited solely to the amount needed to carry out the research in question and may, if appropriate, include graduate student stipends and limited summer support for faculty members. 


The Research Development Council consists of five established scholars who are actively involved in their own research programs: the Associate Provost (who chairs the Council) and four other members of the WPI faculty. One faculty member is appointed annually by the Associate Provost for a one year term, while the other three will serve rotating three year terms. One of these members is appointed by the Committee on Graduate Studies and Research from the faculty at large. The second member is appointed by an ad hoc group consisting of the heads of the departments of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, fire protection engineering, management, and mechanical engineering. The third member is appointed by another ad hoc group consisting of the heads of the departments of biology and biotechnology, chemistry, humanities and arts, mathematical sciences, physics, and social science and policy studies. After the initial Council is appointed, the three terms members must draw lots to determine who will serve for one year, two years, or three years. When a faculty member completes a term on the RDC, her or his successor will be appointed by the appropriate committee or ad hoc group. The Director of Research Administration provides the RDC with administrative and staff support.

RDC document in pdf format

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