A major new investment in faculty research and discovery

Dear faculty colleagues,

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 you and your 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 new knowledge, perspectives and solutions to the world’s greatest challenges by developing our internal ecosystem for discovery and innovation and providing support for research, innovation and creative expression.

Specifically, Discovery Vanderbilt aims to achieve three specific outcomes:

  • Engagement: We will expand opportunities for you, students 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, this new initiative 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 you and your 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 your 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 was created expressly to empower your work, and to help you achieve the maximum impact that you envision. Investments through the initiative 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 of Discovery Vanderbilt is truly a collaborative effort. Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Padma Raghavan and I have engaged faculty, deans 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 postdocs, and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Tiffiny Tung will do the same for our undergraduates. Individual schools and colleges will oversee Discovery Vanderbilt implementation for professional students.

We are honored to support you in your journey of discovery, and we look forward to sharing more about Discovery Vanderbilt in the coming weeks.

Best regards,

C. Cybele Raver
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs