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Provost - Open Dore E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

December 2016

From 2016 to 2017: Next Steps for Research and Scholarship at Vanderbilt

Dear colleagues,

It has been a remarkable calendar year for research and scholarship at Vanderbilt. A truly small sampling of the headlines included:

How do we maintain and harness this momentum for further excellence? Our Academic Strategic Plan provides the vision to reach new heights through intentional, coordinated, and facilitated efforts. I announced this week the Provost’s Initiatives to Enhance Research and Scholarship (PIERS) which I hope will assist in doing just that. This set of initiatives is designed to support our faculty as they address the critical challenges of science and society through research, scholarship and public engagement, to drive growth and recognition of work produced, and to ensure we are supported by a diverse and sustainable matrix of sponsorship. A recent story in MyVU summarizes the initial set of efforts encompassed under PIERS.

In addition, we are working on a number of administrative improvements designed to bring transparency, openness and streamlining to all research operations. This includes continuing to devote significant effort to ensure that collaborations continue, and indeed thrive, following the re-organization transition between the university and the medical center. We recognize that the road has not been free of bumps and are most appreciative of those who helped us to refine our processes when unforeseen hurdles arose. Most importantly, we are all working together to advance our unique One Vanderbilt culture with coordination across the research support offices at the university and the medical center, and I assure you that we are committed to getting it right. The Vanderbilt University Research Council and the new Basic Science Advisory Committee in the School of Medicine are just two examples of specific mechanisms for providing the invaluable feedback we need to continue refining and advancing our efforts.

Further evidence of our commitment to collaboration is evident in on-going national searches for directors of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Vanderbilt Brain Institute – two of our flagship trans-institutional centers. Search committee members come from all corners of the campus, reflecting our cooperative pursuit of the highest quality training, research and service.

Other initiatives this year include the International Strategy Working Group led by Ted Fischer and Ingrid Wuerth. They are in the process of collecting feedback across campus regarding international research opportunities and barriers via this survey tool. I hope you will participate before the survey closes on Dec 30. The Chancellor’s Humanities Committee, chaired by Celia Applegate, continues its planning. I am also working with the deans to solicit ideas from the faculty in the schools/colleges for making further investments in graduate education and research.

The application season for internal faculty funding programs is in full swing with a new web-based application system. The deadlines for the TIPs pre-proposals and University Courses proposals were both earlier this month, and faculty can begin applying for Discovery Grants and Research Scholar Grants on Monday, December 19th. These programs represent important investments designed to allow faculty to jumpstart projects, seed collaborations, and to simply be bold and innovative! I encourage all to read more about these programs to see which might be the right fit.

As we reflect on another year, let us look ahead to 2017 and to reaching new levels of achievement together as One Vanderbilt.

Best wishes for a relaxing holiday and winter break.



Susan R. Wente

International Research and Scholarship: Your feedback is requested via this short survey

DEADLINE DEC 30: The Provost and the International Strategy Working Group are asking faculty for valuable input related to international research and scholarship, please take a few minutes to complete the survey here.

Campus Forums on Immersion Vanderbilt


  • Tuesday, Jan 24, 2-3 PM, Sarratt Student Center 216/220
  • Wednesday, Feb 15, 10-11 AM, Kissam Center C210
    Register here.

Other News

Vanderbilt joins new alliance to expand access and opportunity to higher education for 50,000 talented students from lower-income families

NEA to fund Vanderbilt lab study on arts and creativity

Colleges and schools to make recommendations on future investments in graduate education and research

Vanderbilt awarded $1 million grant on public theology and racial justice

Previous Open Dore Issues

In case you missed it….

Next Steps for Immersion Vanderbilt – November 2016

Adding 25 Endowed Chairs and Faculty Investments – October 2016

A uniquely Vanderbilt budget model – September 2016

Welcome Back! – August 2016

A Semester of Change – May 2016

All past issues

Join Provost Wente on Dec 15 at 4pm at the School of Nursing in 140 Frist Hall.

Faculty and staff are invited to attend these informal discussion sessions held at locations across campus.

PIERS: Provost Initiatives to Enhance Research & Scholarship


A set of initiatives will build off of existing practices and identify new approaches aimed at elevating Vanderbilt University’s international research profile, thus continuing to enhance the university’s competitiveness for research funding. Read more here.

DG application portal opens Dec 19; proposals due Jan 30


The Discovery Grant Program is one of the primary ways Vanderbilt invests in advancing core disciplines, thereby strengthening the scholarly profile of the university. The program is designed to serve as a catalyst to significant external funding sources, supporting new ideas, cutting-edge research and the development of infrastructure.

RSG application window opens Dec 19, proposals due Feb 6


The Research Scholar Grant program provides funding for innovative scholarship and creative expression projects that are unlikely to have extramural funding options available. These awards support humanistic research and efforts that result in the creation of artistic or humanist bodies of work.

Announcing the soft launch of the redesigned Research@Vanderbilt site


The Research @ Vanderbilt website has been redesigned to better direct faculty, students and staff to resources and to better promote the ground-breaking discoveries and scholarship taking place. The site is currently in a soft-launch stage and undergoing continued updates and refinements. Feedback is welcome.

Vanderbilt earns top rankings, including a No. 1, for successful minority recruitment in master’s and Ph.D. programs


Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has ranked Vanderbilt University No. 1 in the United States for the number of doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans in the biological and biomedical sciences for 2014-15.

Vanderbilt also earned top 10 rankings for graduate-level degrees in the physical sciences, education and nursing. Read more. 

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