New Emerging Areas of Research funding program

June 22, 2016

Following the recent announcement of Indiana University’s first Grand Challenges initiative, IU Bloomington has launched another strategic research program for the Bloomington campus, the Emerging Areas of Research program. A total of 64 preliminary proposal abstracts were submitted June 15 in the inaugural year of the program.

The Emerging Areas of Research program was created as part of the IU Bloomington Campus Strategic Plan. It is a component of IU’s overall strategic investments in research that also include the university-wide Grand Challenges Program, which supports much larger and more multidisciplinary projects.

Emerging Areas of Research is distinct from Grand Challenges in that it aims to support a variety of areas of research and creative strength on the IU Bloomington campus that will enhance the quality, impact and reputation of the campus’s research enterprise.

“We are very excited that IU’s first Grand Challenge, the Precision Health Initiative, includes substantial involvement from the Bloomington campus,” said Rick Van Kooten, the vice provost for research at IU Bloomington. “The inclusion of our campus’ strengths such as informatics, sociology, business and the sciences distinguishes this Precision Health effort from many others in the U.S.

“However, not everyone’s research on the Bloomington campus lends itself to being part of a Grand Challenge. Some research proceeds at a different scale or with different goals. The Emerging Areas of Research program is intended to support important directions in research and creative activity that are smaller in scope and are either disciplinary or multidisciplinary.”

One goal for initiatives to be selected in the program is to strategically address an area of existing strength at IU Bloomington that, with the addition of resources, can be made world-class or be recognized for identifying and executing a novel approach. Another goal is that selected initiatives will have a likelihood of leading to new federal, corporate or private funding.

Over the next five years, the campus anticipates funding up to six Emerging Areas of Research initiatives with a $3 million cash investment and one to three new faculty hires per initiative.

“The Emerging Areas of Research funding program embodies the commitment we made in the campus strategic plan to support research projects and creative activities that harness the incredible diversity of knowledge and expertise among our faculty,” said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. “The abstracts submitted in the early stage of the program reflect the academic excellence of our faculty and the wide range of scholarly inquiry in all disciplines that defines our campus mission of creating, preserving and disseminating knowledge for the betterment of all.”

The areas of research and creative activity proposed in the abstracts involve more than 400 faculty participants from the IU Bloomington campus. Abstracts were submitted from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Art and Design, School of Education, School of Global and International Studies, School of Informatics and Computing, Jacobs School of Music, Maurer School of Law, The Media School, School of Optometry, School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology.

“In this first year of the program, we especially wanted to encourage a breadth of ideas and possibilities, so we asked for one-page abstracts that outline preliminary ideas but did not require a more in-depth pre-proposal,” Van Kooten said. “We’re very excited about the number and broad range of abstracts received.”

The deadline for submission of full proposals for the Emerging Areas of Research program is Sept. 9, 2016. After a faculty peer review process, the provost and vice provost for research will make the final Emerging Areas of Research selection. They are expected to announce their selection in early November.