A major new investment in graduate and professional student research and discovery

Dear graduate and professional students,

Today I am excited to announce the launch of Discovery Vanderbilt, our major new investment in Vanderbilt’s capacity for research and innovation. Discovery Vanderbilt aims to propel our university dramatically forward in global reach, impact and reputation by supporting our faculty and students in rigorous inquiry and innovation, whether in the lab, the archive, the design studio or the startup.

Discovery Vanderbilt is a catalyst. It aims to drive the development of new knowledge, perspectives and solutions to the world’s greatest challenges by developing our internal ecosystem for discovery and providing support for research, innovation and creative expression.

We’ll achieve this by realizing three key outcomes:

  • Engagement: We will expand opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to engage as researchers, scholars, innovators and problem-solvers. As initiatives like Opportunity Vanderbilt and Destination Vanderbilt have recently expanded our community of world-class talent, Discovery Vanderbilt will increase the number of faculty and students who can pursue groundbreaking new ideas through rigorous, disciplined inquiry.
  • Reach: We will develop partnerships that allow us to extend the impact of our research and innovation locally, nationally and globally. This will be benchmarked by the range and type of partnerships that our faculty and students are able to build in public and private sectors, as well as by a dramatic increase in multiple forms of tech transfer.
  • Funding: We will expand and diversify funding for research and innovation, maximizing our faculty members’ ability to secure new, larger, higher-impact awards. As was so well demonstrated by our recent rise in the global Times Higher Education rankings, Vanderbilt’s research plays a central role in our global impact and reputation.

Discovery Vanderbilt investments will include expanded resources for attracting world-class faculty talent; enhanced buildings and infrastructure; and funding to support student research internships, as well as support for student innovations and startups. In much the same way that investors support entrepreneurs, Discovery Vanderbilt will absorb risk so that we can pursue the bold questions that true discovery requires.

Consonant with all that we do at Vanderbilt, the development and rollout of Discovery Vanderbilt is truly a collaborative effort. Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Padma Raghavan and I have engaged deans, faculty and administrators from across campus, as well as vice chancellor and vice provost teams, to share best ideas for the initiative.

We likewise will be working together to introduce elements of Discovery Vanderbilt to scholars and innovators across all 10 colleges and professional schools. Vice Provost for Graduate Education André Christie-Mizell will oversee implementation of the program among our graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Individual schools and colleges will oversee Discovery Vanderbilt implementation for professional students.

Discovery Vanderbilt was created to help you unlock more of your potential and help ensure that your work has the impact you envision. We are honored to support you in your journey of discovery—whatever it might be—and look forward to sharing more about the program in the coming weeks.

Best regards,

C. Cybele Raver
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs