Many of the most pressing issues in society, from equitable access to health care to sustainable land use, are also the most complex. University researchers are increasingly coming together across disciplines to combine their areas of expertise and take a more comprehensive approach to solving these issues. The UMN's Grand Challenges Research Initiative aims to enhance this type of interdisciplinary research.
The second batch of Grand Challenges Research awards have been announced by Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson. This second phase, which focuses on two of the University's five Grand Challenges focus areas, allocates $2.96 million over two years to support six interdisciplinary team projects--engaging more than 120 faculty and external partners--and two six-member, one-year Grand Challenges Research Scholar Collaboratives.
Faculty are invited to participate in a new set of research opportunities for 2017 aimed at addressing critical challenges of Minnesota and the world. The second phase of the Provost’s Grand Challenge Research Initiative, launching in January 2017, includes 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).
Provost Karen Hanson has announced that the University's first Grand Challenges research grants, totaling $3.6 million in support, have been awarded to 29 teams of faculty from across the Twin Cities campus. The two-year grants will seed ambitious interdisciplinary collaborations addressing critical challenges facing Minnesota and the world, in alignment with the vision and goals of Driving Tomorrow.
TC faculty are invited to submit proposals by June 15, 2016, for Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Grants of up to $60,000. The grants, built on the campuswide GC Research process of the past year, are part of a two-track initiative--along with Interdisciplinary Research Work Groups--to advance strategic research goals for the campus. Guidelines and FAQs have been posted.
A campus-wide process identified a set of five interrelated Grand Challenges where we are well positioned to have major impact as a research campus. These areas capture exceptional strengths that build directly on the expertise of our faculty. We now look to continued faculty leadership in shaping University investments that will advance the transformational research goals of our Strategic Plan.
A Campus Conversation on Feb. 16 drew 250 faculty and staff members (half in Northrop's Best Buy Theater and half joining online) to discuss the recommendations of the Grand Challenges Research Team. Provost Hanson was joined by three faculty members from the team to discuss how the U will advance the research goals as a key component of the Strategic Plan. View video of the Campus Conversation | More about the report of the GC Research Team
From Provost Karen Hanson: I am delighted to convey to you the report of the Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team. This group of distinguished faculty consulted widely and worked diligently to produce this thoughtful report and its excellent recommendations. The team has identified a set of research foci that will leverage the breadth of the University of Minnesota's research power in order to address the grand challenges of our time.
I invite you to join me from noon to 1 pm Tuesday, February 16, in Northrop's Best Buy Theater, for a Campus Conversation about part of our strategic plan: organizing and supporting Grand Challenges research. By that date, we will all have in hand the recommendations of the Provost's Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team--the product of a thoughtful process shaped by the expertise of a dedicated committee of distinguished faculty across the breadth of our disciplines, as well as by robust discussions with the broader campus community.
Many of you participated in the series of recent Grand Challenges Research Forums to help shape core components of the University's scholarly future. In all, the five forums drew about 600 faculty, staff, and students to discuss our wide-ranging research strengths. The discussions (summary notes are here) brought into sharper focus the 130 ideas submitted by faculty during our Call for Ideas process--and potential opportunities to integrate and expand the impact of work to address critical societal challenges.