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Seven interdisciplinary programs land TIPs awards for 2018

by May. 24, 2018, 8:00 AM

Vanderbilt University’s transformational Trans-Institutional Programs initiative heads into its fourth year with seven interdisciplinary projects involving more than 60 faculty members awarded grants for 2018.

The awards include projects focused on developing new digital methods for identifying, studying and preserving historic cultural expressions; leveraging the university’s assets for personalized medicine with new microbial resources; and elevating and understanding structural barriers and forms of resilience that black women and girls experience across various social contexts in society.

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)

In addition, the Data Science Visions TIP will receive additional funding to support the development of a trans-institutional institute in data science, a recommendation outlined in the May 14 report by the Data Science Visions Working Group.

“Our Trans-Institutional Programs are a proven catalyst for the collaborative innovation that distinguishes Vanderbilt among its peers,” said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “They allow our world-class faculty to increasingly reach across disciplinary borders to develop projects that provide immersive learning and research opportunities for students.”

Zeppos launched the $50 million TIPs initiative in 2015 with 17 projects; 14 projects were added in 2016 and 15 projects received funding in 2017. The enterprise supports trans-institutional research and teaching, a foundation of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan.

“The TIPs initiative fits with Vanderbilt’s approach to educate the whole person and furthers our mission to serve humanity by bringing together diverse talents, experience and knowledge to solve some of today’s most complex problems,” Zeppos added.

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Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Susan R. Wente (Vanderbilt University)

The grants are meant to seed and expand research and teaching collaborations across disciplines. The awards also support projects and groups that collectively aim to answer big questions and address grand challenges.

“By investing in existing or emerging trans-institutional centers and institutes, we’ve designed TIPs to foster communities of faculty that come together to answer society’s grand challenges in groundbreaking ways,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente. “As a result, we are positioning Vanderbilt as a leader among its global peers in these distinct areas.”

“By supporting innovation in this way, Vanderbilt continues to nurture a unique environment that brings together creative minds whose diverse interests reflect a shared passion for discovery,” said Dr. Jeff Balser, president and chief executive officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The initiatives selected for TIPs funding this year will offer faculty and students valuable experiences while they seek to advance knowledge across a range of subjects.”

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Jeff Balser, president and CEO for VUMC and dean of the School of Medicine (Vanderbilt University)

The TIPs Council, co-chaired by Vice Provost for Academic and Strategic Affairs John Geer, Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan and Vanderbilt University Medical Center Executive Vice President for Research Jennifer Pietenpol, received 34 pre-proposals last fall, 16 of which were invited in January to submit full proposals.

“The TIPs Council and its review panels are important partners in the initiative,” Wente said. “Their work, and the innovative proposals they evaluated, represents the One Vanderbilt culture that defines our campus and underlies the efforts for these important discoveries. I am extremely grateful for their service and contributions.”

The seven proposals that will receive new funding include six initial TIPs awards and the second round of funding for the 2017 TIPs Data Science Visions project. TIPs awards are either Vanderbilt Initiative Awards (ViAs), seed grants that serve as incubators for exciting new ideas, or Vanderbilt Re-investment Awards (VRAs), larger grants for existing initiatives, centers or institutes. Funding for this year’s initiatives will be made available July 1.

The 2018 TIPs programs and the schools represented by their participants are below; lead faculty members’ schools and/or colleges are in bold. Access the full list of awards, which includes project descriptions and collaborating faculty.

  • Data Science Visions (VRA)
    College of Arts and Science, School of Medicine (Clinical), Blair School of Music, Divinity School, Law School, Owen Graduate School of Management, Peabody College, School of Engineering, School of Medicine (Basic Sciences) and School of Nursing
  • Digital Cultural Heritage Research Cluster – ViA
    College of Arts and Science, Blair School of Music, Divinity School and School of Engineering
  • The Initiative for Personalized Microbial Discovery and Innovation – VRA
    School of Medicine (Clinical), College of Arts and Science, Law School and School of Medicine (Basic Science)
  • A Sychrotron-like X-ray Source for Structural Biology at Vanderbilt – VRA
    School of Medicine (Clinical), College of Arts and Science and School of Medicine (Basic Science)
  • Vanderbilt Initiative for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Research – ViA
    College of Arts and Science, Law School, School of Engineering and School of Medicine (Clinical)
  • Vanderbilt Initiative for the Study of Antimicrobial Resistance Drivers – ViA
    School of Medicine (Clinical), College of Arts and Science and Peabody College
  • VCL Intersectional Study of Black Women and Girls in Society – ViA
    Peabody College, College of Arts and Science, Divinity School and Law School

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