Indiana University to name inaugural Grand Challenges initiative

  • June 16, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University's inaugural Grand Challenges initiative will be announced Monday, June 20, in downtown Indianapolis.

The most ambitious research program in the university’s history, IU's Grand Challenges program will invest $300 million in seed funding over the next five years for up to five initiatives that will harness the combined promise of premier IU scientists, scholars and students in close collaboration with business, nonprofit and government leaders.

  • WHAT: IU Grand Challenges inaugural initiative announcement
  • WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 20
  • WHERE: The Skyline Club, on the 36th floor of OneAmerica Tower, 1 America Square, Indianapolis, and streamed live online at
  • WHO: Attendees will include IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IU Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate. Grand Challenges recipient team members, McRobbie and Cate will be available for interviews immediately following the ceremony.

By design, each Grand Challenge initiative will invest in research that will substantially and tangibly impact local communities, the state, the nation and the world. Grand Challenges initiatives will draw strategically on IU's strengths and resources and involve partnerships with industry, government and community organizations to create a tangible and lasting positive impact on both the state and the university.

During the inaugural year, IU received 21 preliminary proposals from teams involving more than 400 faculty on six campuses (Bloomington, Indianapolis, Medicine, Northwest, South Bend and Southeast), representing 29 schools and 37 centers. Five were selected for development into full proposals:

  • "Health Equity in Indiana and Beyond: Eliminating Disparities Associated with Addiction," Gabe Filippelli, professor of earth sciences and director of the Center for Urban Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and William Hetrick, professor and chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in IU Bloomington's College of Arts and Sciences.
  • "Prepared for Change: Resilient Ecosystems, Livable Communities and Healthy Hoosiers," Ellen Ketterson, Distinguished Professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology.
  • "Shaping Our Future: Knowledge, Science and Governance for Sustainable Water Resources," Todd Royer, associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.
  • "Saving Lives, Saving Livelihoods: Transforming Environmental Protection and Health for Indiana and Beyond," Joseph Shaw, associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.
  • "Precision Health Initiative," Anantha Shekhar, associate vice president for clinical affairs at IU and executive associate dean for research at the IU School of Medicine on the IUPUI campus.

A part of IU's Bicentennial Strategic Plan, the IU Grand Challenges program reflects the significant commitment to life-changing research of the IU Board of Trustees, President Michael A. McRobbie and the entire university community. The program launched in September.

Related Links

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Media Contacts

Mark Land

Associate vice president, IU Communications

Stephen Chaplin

Manager of Research Communications