Grand Challenges Research: New Faculty Opportunities

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

From Provost Karen Hanson: I invite faculty to participate in a new set of research opportunities aimed at addressing the critical challenges facing Minnesota and the world.

These opportunities follow an initial phase of Grand Challenges research investments totaling $3.6 million, with grants awarded this past fall to 29 teams of faculty from across the Twin Cities campus. The second phase of the Provost’s Grand Challenge Research Initiative will include both a competitive call for proposals from interdisciplinary teams (pre-proposals due March 20) and a call for nominations for participation in a Grand Challenges Research Scholar collaborative for an extended period of interdisciplinary engagement (due March 1). The two opportunities have been shaped through extensive campus-wide consultation.

Opportunities in 2017–18 will focus on two spotlighted Grand Challenges areas: 1) Assuring Clean Water and Sustainable Ecosystems and 2) Fostering Just and Equitable Communities—or an integration of the two. These challenges are two of the five Grand Challenges identified through a campus-wide process last year to advance the research goals of Driving Tomorrow. Future years will spotlight the other three Grand Challenges where we have identified exceptional strengths and can build on the expertise of our faculty: Advancing Health through Tailored Solutions, Enhancing Individual and Community Capacity for a Changing World, and Feeding the World Sustainably.

The research initiatives will be advanced through partnerships with colleges and deans, as well as with the Institute for Advanced Study, the Institute on the Environment, and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. Other key partners will include the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance and the Office for Public Engagement, along with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

I invite faculty to review the detailed guidelines for the Phase 2 Grand Challenges Research Initiatives and to consider collaborating with colleagues across disciplines. Nominations and applications for the Grand Challenges Research Scholar Collaborative are due March 1. Pre-proposals for Grand Challenges Research interdisciplinary projects may be submitted through March 20, with invitations for full proposals extended in May. 

This message, in modified format, was emailed to all Twin Cities faculty and academic administrative leaders Jan. 31, 2017.