Chancellor Charles R. Bantz
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Greetings from IUPUI

January 2007

Although the calendar new year falls in the middle of our academic year, January still signals a time to turn over a new leaf, particularly in the original 16th century sense of turning to a new page of a book.

IUPUI is turning over a new leaf in a “signature” way this month. Executive Vice Chancellor Uday Sukhatme, barely six months into his position as IUPUI’s chief academic officer, just announced the designation of 19 potential Signature Centers at IUPUI, representing an investment of nearly $7 million over a three-year period. As part of his academic planning process, he issued a call for proposals last fall, stipulating that faculty propose research centers, new or capable of being taken to a new level, that meet the following criteria:

  • Be unique in character and distinctly identifiable with IUPUI
  • Build on ongoing activities
  • Be interdisciplinary in character
  • Have the capacity to attract significant external funding
  • Bring academic distinction to the campus
  • Have the capacity to become self-sufficient in three to five years
  • Engage in work that takes advantage of our urban location and that establishes partnerships with the community
Lastly, he stated: “This request for proposals is really a call encouraging you to dream, to let your imagination soar, and conceive of new collaborations and directions.”

The result was 71 proposals, more than double what Uday had expected to receive, but all creative and of high quality. From those, 19 proposals with the best potential for becoming IUPUI Signature Centers were chosen for funding:

  1. Center for Assessing, Understanding, and Managing Pain
  2. Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine*
  3. Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture*
  4. Center for Earth and Environmental Science*
  5. Cellular Therapy, Hematopoetic Stem Cell Transplant for Cancer
  6. Center for Family Violence Prevention, Education, and Research
  7. Randall L. Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence*
  8. Renewable Energy Center
  9. Service Learning Research Collaborative*
  10. PREGMED: Pharmacogenetics and Therapeutics Research*
  11. Center for Advanced Studies in Hearing, Perception, and Language
  12. Institute for Research on Social Issues
  13. Binational/Cross-Cultural Health Enhancement Center
  14. Center for Cancer, Genetics, and the Environment
  15. Tobacco Cessation and Biobehavioral Center
  16. IUPUI Center for Mathematical Biosciences
  17. Center for Computational Diagnostics*
  18. Consortium for Health Policy, Law, Bioethics
  19. Center for Excellence in Bio-Computing
Those with asterisks are existing centers. By being funded under the Signature Center initiative, the above centers will significantly expand their research capacity. It is worth noting that, although the health and life sciences focus is apparent, there is considerable interaction across many disciplines.

Last month, IU President Adam Herbert and Craig Brater, vice president for life sciences and dean of the IU School of Medicine, also “turned over a new leaf” by appearing before the State Budget Committee to outline an $80 million Indiana Life Sciences Initiative. If the special request is approved in the upcoming legislative session, IU will match this investment with more than $122 million from other sources. It is estimated that such an investment will enable IU to benefit Indiana’s economy in many ways:

  • Recruit 500 of the nation’s top life sciences researchers to Indiana
  • Attract $2.4 billion in externally funded research dollars
  • Create 2,500 life sciences jobs at IU
  • Stimulate 14,000 new Hoosier jobs
  • Create $84 million in licensing revenue
  • Develop or attract 100 new companies
I plan to talk more about IUPUI’s Signature Centers and health and life sciences potential as a component of the IU Life Sciences Initiative at my annual “Report to the Community,” which takes place February 22.

Charles R. Bantz


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