I³R Launches Music Competition to Capture the Spirit of Innovation

I³R Launches Music Competition to Capture the Spirit of Innovation
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The Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research at the U of A (I³R) today launched a competition for original music to serve as the institute’s leitmotif. 

The selected piece of music will be unveiled at the upcoming grand opening of the institute’s new advanced research and innovation hub, located at the corner of Duncan Avenue and Dickson Street later this year.

A leitmotif is an associated melodic phrase or figure that accompanies the reappearance of an idea, person or situation. Filmmakers use leitmotifs to create connection, evoke emotion and establish continuity in a film. Companies use the musical tool to create brand identity and product association. Characteristic of its novel nature and approach, I³R is seeking a leitmotif to musically convey its mission and vision when played at events and in other activities. 

The music competition is a collaboration with the U of A Department of Music and Hill Records, a student-run record label and entertainment project. This cutting-edge initiative combines music industry pedagogy, entrepreneurial learning and audio research into integrated, cross-disciplinary experiences.

“Music, art, science and engineering are all interconnected,” said Ranu Jung, associate vice chancellor and I³R founding executive director, referring to the music competition. “We in I³R  are in the pursuit of discoveries and innovative deployable solutions to some of society’s most ‘wicked’ problems. Music invokes inner creativity, conveys passion and helps us connect with others. My hope is that this leitmotif will reflect I³R ’s fervor and purpose.”  

I³R is a new kind of institute and a unique entity within the university system. Rather than focus its research within a specific discipline, I³R practices “convergence” research that brings together multiple disciplines along with community and industry partners to solve complex problems facing the world today. 

For example, I³R works across the spectrum of integrative health, covering health care, food, policy, built environment, natural resources and social sciences on projects that improve health and quality of life. Projects like these fulfill the institute’s dual mission to advance research and innovation, and promote economic development in Arkansas, for global impact. 

With a mission to pioneer solutions to “wicked” problems through convergence research with the goal of deploying innovations for societal impact and a vision to be the preeminent partner in developing transformative solutions that stimulate economic development and advance well-being, I³R is paving the path to bring the future to the now. 

“Hill Records is honored to be working with I³R on this project. We cannot wait to see what the local music community comes up with regarding this project,” said Drew Bethell, Hill Records president. “We are so happy with the wonderful opportunity this brings to musicians and composers in our state. We hope that it informs the public more about the research institute and highlighting some of Arkansas’ incredible musicians.” 

The leitmotif will be unveiled at the grand opening of the institute’s new facility later this year. “We’re thrilled to invite the university’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as the community at large from throughout the state, take part in initiating this new chapter in the university’s history,” Jung said. 

Artists interested in learning more about the competition are invited to attend a brief informational meeting from 5:30-6 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at Mullins Library room 452-453 on the U of A campus and via Zoom. 

Submissions will undergo a two-phase panel review. During the first panel review, compositions will be judged on technical merit. The second panel review will focus on the composition’s artistic merits, emotive qualities, creativity and tone.

The composer of the winning submission will receive a $1,000 cash award and the opportunity to perform the piece at the institute’s grand opening celebrations.  

Submission Criteria

Type: Instrumental compositions only (no vocals)

Length: Composition must be three to four minutes in length and adaptable to 10-second, 30-second and one-minute versions.

Tone: Tone should be uplifting, catchy, forward-looking and reflect I³R’s mission and vision.

Submission Requirements

  • Must be an original composition.
  • Artist must indicate if artificial intelligence was used in the creation of the piece. 
  • Only one submission per artist. 
  • Composition must be complete, i.e. CD distribution quality (no demos)
  • Recordings must be in .wav format.
  • Composer must be:
    • U of A student, faculty, staff or alumna/us or
    • Arkansas resident
  • Composer must be at least 18 years old. 
  • The winning submission will be property of I³R and for sole use of the institute.
  • The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. on May 2.

Submission Process

Please read and follow the instructions. 

  1. If you don’t already have a Box account, create a free “Individual” Box.com account. Recordings must be submitted as a Box link. Recordings submitted in any other form will not be accepted. 
  2. In Box, create a new folder titled “{Artist/Group Name} Hill Records Submission.”
  3. Upload your composition as a .wav file into the folder. Make sure the file name is the title of the recording.
  4. While in the folder, click the “Share” button in the top right. Toggle on “Create Shared Link.”
  5. Under the link, click “Can view and download”; change to “Can view only.”
  6. Copy the shared link and paste in an email to hillrec@uark.edu.
  7. Subject line must read: I³R Musical Composition
  8. Questions? Contact hillrec@uark.edu.  

About the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research (I³R): Established through a transformational gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the University of Arkansas Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research pioneers solutions to wicked problems through convergence research across academic, industry, government and non-profit sectors to make a positive societal impact by creating and deploying innovations at scale. Learn more at i3r.uark.edu. 

About Hill Records: Hill Records is a student-run record label and entertainment project at the University of Arkansas. This cutting-edge initiative combines music industry pedagogy, entrepreneurial learning, and audio research into integrated, cross-disciplinary experiences.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research and Economic Development News.


Delia Garcia, director of strategic communications
Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research (I³R)
479-718-3328, deliag@uark.edu


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