We are publishing today on the Vice President for Research website the Request for Proposals for the first round of Grand Challenge Initiatives and related FAQs.
IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, adopted in 2015, calls on the university to tackle “major and large-scale problems” facing humanity that can “only be addressed by multidisciplinary teams of the best researchers.”
IU is taking up the challenge. With the exceptional commitment of President Michael A. McRobbie and the leadership of the university, the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses, the School of Medicine, and the IU Foundation, the university has identified $300 million of existing and anticipated funding that can be invested in Grand Challenges over the next five years.
This is the most significant investment in IU’s research infrastructure in the university’s history. It will fund up to five Grand Challenge Initiatives and support the hiring of as many as 175 new faculty and of hundreds of new graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. But most importantly, it will enable IU to expand its efforts to address some of the most critical issues facing local communities and the State of Indiana, as well as the nation and the world.
The RFP provides detailed information about the goals of IU’s Grand Challenges program and the process by which the first initiatives will be determined. There is also a set of FAQs that will provide additional information.
The Grand Challenges program reflects an approach to research and its funding that is new to many of us, and calls on us to think, collaborate, and work in ways that may seem equally novel. Precisely because of its scope and novelty, in many ways the Grand Challenges program is a work in progress. I welcome your feedback (and appreciate your patience), and I hope you will let us know if there are ways we can make the program more effective or efficient.
There are many people and offices that stand ready to assist in the preparation of Grand Challeges proposals. Please don’t hesitate to let my colleagues and me know how we can help. We look forward to working with you to make the most of this significant investment — of time, talent, and funding — in the future of IU and of the communities in which we live and work.