Grand Challenges at Indiana University

Disciplined. Collaborative. Solutions-focused. At Indiana University, we are harnessing the power of research to solve grand challenges facing Indiana and the world.

We define Grand Challenges as major, focused, and large-scale problems facing humanity that can be solved only by teams of dedicated researchers working across disciplines in collaboration with community partners. IU has three Grand Challenges initiatives in progress: Precision Health, Prepared for Environmental Change, and Responding to the Addictions Crisis. 

Together, we are tackling economic, social, and environmental problems that negatively impact our state and the world. IU's Grand Challenges program is distinguished by four distinct features:


This is the largest investment in any research program—in fact, in any academic program—in IU's 200-year history. It involves hundreds of faculty from dozens of schools on six of IU's campuses.



IU's Grand Challenges investments are large, focused, and measured by their impact—impact on indivdiuals, communities, the economy, and the quality of life in Indiana and beyond.



By definition, grand challenges cannot be solved alone. IU's Grand Challenges initiatives involve meaningful partnerships with industry, government, other universities, and community organizations.



Each Grand Challenge initiative reflects a commitment to focusing IU’s resources—financial and otherwise—in new and strategic ways to increase efficiency, drive multi-disciplinary innovation, and apply new solutions to vexing problems facing Hoosiers.


Our Grand Challenges

Precision Health Initiative

The goal of precision medicine is to get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Our first Grand Challenge, the Precision Health Initiative (PHI), announced in 2016, aims to accomplish that goal. PHI is optimizing the prevention and treatment of human diseases such as hard-to-treat cancers, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease through rigorous study of genetic, developmental, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Learn more about the Precision Health Initiative

Prepared for Environmental Change

Our second Grand Challenge, Prepared for Environmental Change, started in early 2017. A broad, bipartisan coalition of researchers, government and business leaders, and nonprofit and community organizations are joining together to help Indiana better prepare and plan for the environmental changes that are impacting the way we live, grow food, and conduct business. 

Learn more about Prepared for Environmental Change

Responding to the Addictions Crisis

Our third Grand Challenge, Responding to the Addictions Crisis, was launched in late 2017. Its goals are to curtail addiction in Indiana, decrease opioid overdose deaths, and reduce the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. With many partners, this initiative is one of the nation’s most comprehensive state-based responses to the opioid addiction crisis—and the largest led by a university.

Learn more about the Addictions Crisis

A lasting positive impact on Hoosier lives

As our university community grows and expands, so do our obligations. We are committed to solving Grand Challenges. IU owes it to all Hoosiers to harness the power of our researchers' expertise to benefit our state and world. The Grand Challenges Program is doing just that as part of IU's Bicentennial Strategic Plan.

At Indiana University, we believe in the power of discovery to change the course of human history. This power is rooted in the work of dedicated researchers, practitioners, and experts from all disciplines and sectors, in projects both big and small. Backed by more than 1,200 faculty and thousands of students and staff, as well as more than 200 research centers across seven statewide campuses, IU’s research initiatives are bold, data-driven, solution-focused, and fueled by an insatiable curiosity that is capable of leading the next frontier in human progress.

Learn more about IU research

If you would like to contribute to the Grand Challenges Program, please consider a donation to the Grand Challenges Fund which supports initiatives, including but not limited to, Responding to the Addictions Crisis, Prepared for Environmental Change, and Precision Health Initiative.

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