WE ARE UKSRC: Mission and Values

The University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center (UKSRC), funded by the National Institutes of Health's NIEHS Superfund Research Program since 1997, integrates multidisciplinary research, training, and community engagement around a common theme: reducing risks in communities that are susceptible to environmental pollution with emphasis on hazardous waste (e.g., “Superfund pollutants”).

Our Purpose
Our purpose is to make a positive contribution to our communities, to share our expertise with others, and to find solutions for common problems. We advance knowledge of chemical pollution in the Kentucky environment, engage with affected communities about Superfund pollutants, and improve overall health by innovating engineered solutions to reduce exposures through sensing, remediation, and fate and transport science. 

Our Mission
Our mission is to prevent and reduce the impacts of environmental exposure from Superfund pollutants in Kentucky. Our mission is enacted by:

  • investigating the impact of environmental exposure to toxic chemicals.   
  • using novel biomedical research techniques within an intervention and prevention paradigm to reduce the disease risks associated with Superfund pollutants. 
  • innovating solutions to reduce exposures through remediation and fate and transport science. 
  • promoting health equity in communities.
  • training future researchers by modeling and “living” the Center’s core values. 

Our Values
Our core values shape UKSRC’s identity in all we do. These values are reflective of the National Academies of Sciences’ values described in the 2017 “Fostering Integrity in Research” report, the NIH-wide Strategic Framework (2020-2025) and the NIEHS Strategic Plan (2018-2023). 

We value:

  • Innovation: We are dedicated to scientific discovery of new ideas, methods, and problem-solving to address challenges in novel ways. We look for ways to streamline discovery processes so that scientific innovations move forward more quickly. We recognize that failure and making mistakes can help us learn and committing to finding solutions to our mistakes allows us to see new possibilities that were not originally visible. 
  • Stewardship and Creating a Legacy: We work for the greater good of UKSRC by focusing our energy and attention on delivering on our commitments to each other. We care deeply about our impact on current and future generations. We exercise stewardship by engaging in acts of service for UKSRC, for the University of Kentucky, for our scientific disciplines, and for Superfund communities and stakeholders. 
  • Ethical Behavior and Integrity: We operate in transparent and honest ways. We are open about what we do not know. We represent and publish research data that promotes the truth and minimizes error. We respect the values that support collaborative work between different individuals at different institutions and from different fields and disciplines, emphasizing trust, accountability, mutual respect and fairness.
  • Accountability: We create an environment within UKSRC that encourages transparency, the sharing of ideas, and useful feedback among colleagues. We take ownership and responsibility for our actions, decisions, and the outcomes of our work. We communicate in a clear, direct, and respectful way with everyone with whom we work. We recognize that mistakes will be made. We learn collectively when they are made and view them as an opportunity to learn.
  • Inclusion and Diversity: We are committed to developing an environmental health sciences workforce that includes a wide range of both disciplinary training and lived experiences. We seek out, welcome and foster diversity in every way.  We hire from a wide variety of backgrounds and seek to promote a culture of belonging within and beyond UKSRC. We check in regularly with our colleagues and team members to make certain that each person feels included, respected and valued in the work of the UKSRC. 
  • Openness: We practice transparent, honest, and open sharing of information to support decisions and conclusions. We are committed to making our research methods and data open, sharable, and reusable in service of advancing scientific research. We choose to be fearless about the possibility of other researchers “competing” with us for recognition and publication because we recognize the value of partnerships and collaborations among scientists, institutions, communities, and stakeholders.