Office of the Vice Provost for Research

For more information on Grand Challenges at IU Bloomington, contact:

Rick Van Kooten
Vice Provost for Research
Office of the Vice Provost for Research-Bloomington

Sherry Knighton-Schwandt
Exective Director of Research Development
Office of the Vice Provost for Research-Bloomington


Visit IU's Grand Challenges website.

Dear Colleagues:

The universitywide Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University has made the identification and pursuit of research Grand Challenges one of its central priorities. 

Grand Challenges may be defined as problems whose scope spans institutional and disciplinary boundaries, whose solutions require new knowledge, new tools, and new treatments. At IU and and at IU Bloomington, we are harnessing strengths in every field to identify and address big questions whose answers lie beyond the frontiers of current knowledge.

The IU Board of Trustees, President Michael A. McRobbie and the leadership of the university, the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses, the School of Medicine, and the IU Foundation have joined together to identify $300 million of existing and anticipated funding that can be invested in Grand Challenges over five years.

IU has identified two Grand Challenges: Precision Health and Prepared for Environmental ChangeEach of these initiatives has substantial involvement and leadership from the Bloomington campus. 

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 hundreds of new graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The universitywide Grand Challenges initiative is being led and administered by the IU Vice President for Research. At IU Bloomington, Provost Lauren Robel and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research are working with faculty to develop Grand Challenges initiatives related to strengths on the IU Bloomington campus. The goal is to harness strengths in every field at IU Bloomington to attack big questions through the power of interdisciplinary teams.

Listen to this podcast for more from Vice President Fred Cate and Vice Provost Rick Van Kooten on IU's Grand Challenges program.

As part of the strategic plan to enhance research at IU Bloomington, the campus has also initiated the Emerging Areas of Research program. Emerging areas of research are key areas of current or growing research strength on the IU Bloomington campus where the addition of resources may elevate the research to world-class level (either among many peers or due to the unique nature of the area) because of a novel approach to some discipline(s).

The Bloomington campus will issue annual requests for EAR proposals to identify a total of up to six areas of strong research promise. We will invest considerable resources in building up these areas, including base funding for some faculty and postdoctoral scholars, for seminars and conferences, for the development of external funding proposals, and for other collaborative research endeavors and initiatives.

I urge all IU Bloomington faculty to join with their colleagues across the campus and around the university to learn more about these significant new research funding programs and how to become involved. I look forward to exploring this grand future with each of you.



Rick Van Kooten
Vice Provost for Research
Indiana University Bloomington