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From the Desk: IU Bloomington’s role in driving biosciences leadership

By IU Bloomington Today

November 02, 2023

During her State of the University address this week, President Pamela Whitten announced Indiana University’s more than $250 million investment in biosciences, a testament to the impactful research and innovation led by faculty across IU’s campuses. Brea Perry, associate vice president and vice provost for research, answered questions from IU Bloomington Today about what the commitment means for IU Bloomington.

Question: What impact will the multi-million-dollar investment have on IU Bloomington?

Answer: A significant portion of that investment — a total of $93 million — will support the hiring of 32 new life sciences faculty on our campus. These hires are part of the Faculty 100 initiative and will allow us to expand and deepen our research portfolio, offering faculty more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. These new colleagues will also contribute to potential new academic programs or the expansion of existing ones in response to the evolving needs of students and faculty researchers.

We will also see updated research labs and teaching spaces as part of this investment. The university has committed $23.1 million for renovations that will support life sciences research in Bloomington.

Additionally, IU Research will use $7.5 million to fund life sciences research initiatives across the Bloomington campus, aligning with our IU 2030 goal of driving the state’s research and development ecosystem by building on key strengths in human-centered disciplines, health sciences and STEM.

Q: How soon will these changes take place?

A: Faculty hiring will get underway soon for new positions in neuroscience, health and environment, biohealth informatics, medical devices and sensors, biomedical science and engineering, synthetic biology, and chemical biology. We are also excited to share more details about planned lab renovations following their expected approval at the Board of Trustees meeting later this month.

Among our IU 2030 goals is increasing research productivity and pursuit of high-impact research that improves lives, so these investments will materialize quickly as we work toward fulfilling the strategic plan.

Q: Why is this investment so transformational?

A: This commitment is IU’s largest in the areas of life sciences, human health and biotechnology. World-class biology research and impactful interdisciplinary collaborations have long been areas of distinction for our campus, and they’ve contributed to IU’s overall reputation as a leader in life sciences research and education. This investment will do the same for our campus, signaling to potential faculty and students IU’s overall strength in biosciences and the additional learning and research opportunities that are ahead — ultimately helping us to recruit the brightest minds to Bloomington.

Q: What role will faculty play in shaping the future of biosciences research and teaching on our campus?

A: The leadership and buy-in of faculty, including the new colleagues we are recruiting, will be critical in achieving successful outcomes for these investments and initiatives in teaching and research. We are working closely with academic and research deans, department chairs, and individual faculty on these new investments in life sciences specifically. I am excited to see how the inspiration and leadership of our outstanding faculty, in combination with these significant resources, move the needle on improving the health and well-being of people in Indiana and beyond.