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IU launching $300 million research project to find solutions to world problems

  • Sept. 10, 2015

Editor's note: This story from The Bloomington Herald-Times is being published here as a courtesy for readers of IU in the News.

By Kat Carlton

Indiana University officials announced Wednesday they are launching the “most ambitious research program in the university’s history,” in order to address major issues facing Indiana and the world.

“We are talking about things that truly cut across borders and will help make life better for people even beyond the states,” said IU spokesman Mark Land.

The “Grand Challenges” research program will funnel at least $300 million over the next five years into what officials hope will be solutions for problems like limited global water supplies, energy availability and infectious diseases. The program’s first two grants are expected to be funded beginning in fall 2016, and the university plans to fund three to five projects between now and its bicentennial in 2020.

The Grand Challenges program is part of IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan and will be managed by IU Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate. Land said Cate sent requests for proposals to IU faculty on Tuesday.

Land said he expects some proposals to come from the IU School of Medicine, which is in Indianapolis, but he hopes to see proposals from multiple academic disciplines, including those on the Bloomington campus.

“Bloomington is going to be a critical component of this, but this is truly a university-wide initiative,” he said. “We want to encourage our best and brightest faculty to work across departmental divides to harness all the intellectual power that we have.”

Faculty have until Nov. 9 to submit proposals, and about five teams will be notified no later than Jan. 8, 2016 that they have been invited to submit full proposals by April 17, 2016 for final consideration.

The School of Medicine, the president’s office, IUPUI and other IU sources have agreed to fund part of the project, and Land said the university plans to reallocate other resources and fundraise more as the projects develop.

A formal request for proposals can be found at http://research.iu.edu/documents/Grand_Challenges_RFP.pdf.