End of Year Message from VCR Harold Collard

Dear Colleagues, 

As I reflect on this past year, I am deeply humbled in my many conversations with research faculty, staff, trainees, and community partners to learn about the incredible work occurring at UCSF and the passion that drives it. The Office of Research (i.e., the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research) exists to support this community and steward UCSF’s research mission. 

I want to briefly highlight three of the many priority initiatives underway in the Office of Research as we enter the new year. I am grateful to the Office of Research faculty and staff for their vision and leadership in these and other activities.  

  • Clinical trials are a critical driver of the knowledge generation and implementation cycle that powers UCSF’s mission to improve health worldwide. Under the leadership of Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Vanessa Jacoby in partnership with Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sponsored Research Winona Ward, the Office of Research is implementing pilot-tested and proven administrative efficiencies at scale to reduce time to activation of clinical trials and improve clinical trial access and equity. This Clinical Trial Excellence Campaign was previewed in last October’s Office of Research Town Hall (watch here). 2024 will see substantial activity and communication from my office around this initiative.
  • High performance computing (HPC) is an enterprise-wide focus in 2024 as UCSF considers additional investments in integrating and enabling generative artificial intelligence (AI) across its mission areas. In partnership with Chief Information Officer Joe Bengfort and under the leadership of Chief Research Informatics Officer Ida Sim and Associate Chief Information Officer Mandy Terrill, the Office of Research is leading the Chancellor’s research AI initiative to ensure that UCSF’s researchers have training in and access to reliable, secure, and high-quality HPC resources. These leaders are working on an AI strategy and budget ask, which will be presented to the chancellor for approval, and we will be communicating more directly about these efforts early in the new year.
  • UCSF’s research workforce is the engine that drives our research enterprise intellectually and operationally; it is the source of innovation and discovery across the basic, biomedical, social, and clinical scientific disciplines. Under the leadership of Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism Tung Nguyen, the Office of Research is working with multiple UCSF leaders and community members to attract, train, and retain the next generation of academic researchers. The Office of Research in partnership with the Graduate Dean, the Office of Diversity and Outreach, and other stakeholders will focus a February 2024 town hall on this topic. 

There are many other important efforts underway including those led by Senior Associate Vice Chancellor Brian Smith that sustain UCSF’s many core infrastructure services without which the research mission could not function, and Office of Research advocacy efforts in partnership with Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy Keith Yamamoto that ensure that policy makers understand and prioritize issues important to the UCSF research community. 

In closing, I wish to add a brief personal reflection on my first year as Vice Chancellor for Research. As Chancellor Hawgood outlined in his recent State of the University address (watch here), UCSF’s research community continues to lead the nation. I celebrate this! But I also know that the last few years have brough unprecedented challenges for our community, both personally and professionally. I recognize that the extraordinary professional achievements of 2023 often occurred despite these challenges, and that they often come at a cost to our individual community members, particularly those from more vulnerable or marginalized backgrounds.

The Office of Research is committed to listening, learning, and leading in addressing the wellness of UCSF’s researchers. I will be addressing this more directly and comprehensively in the new year. 

As always, I welcome any and all comments, questions, reflections, and concerns you may have about UCSF’s research mission. I can be reached at [email protected]


Harold R. Collard, MD, MS 

Vice Chancellor for Research 

Professor of Medicine and Health Policy 

University of California San Francisco