Finalists to Present IU Grand Challenge Proposals

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This story from Inside Indiana Business is being published here as a courtesy for readers of Grand Challenges News.

INDIANAPOLIS - The five finalists in Indiana University's Grand Challenges Program will present their full proposals at public events over the next week. They are competing for part of a five-year, $300 million investment, which is the university's largest single research investment in history. The first presentation event will be held Tuesday evening on the IUPUI campus.

Each team will have about 10 minutes to present their proposed grand challenge with question-and-answer opportunities after each presentation. After the final presentation, there will be a reception during which members of the public can meet with team members face-to-face.

Each proposal aims to take on major challenges on a local and global level. IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate says when the five finalists were chosen from a preliminary round of 21, one of the main requirements was that each proposal addressed real problems that affect Hoosiers today.

"If the problem wasn't clear, it was sort of hard for it to be a grand challenge," says Cate. "Then the second thing we looked for was some sense of a really effective approach to the problem. Identifying the problem is only the start of the goal. The next part is can you actually do something about it."

Cate says the extent to which each proposal partnered with organizations outside of IU was also taken into consideration.

He adds the money going to the winner is seen as an investment, or a down payment, for ongoing research. "None of these grand challenges are going to address problems that can be solved in five years. If they could be solved that quickly, they're not really grand challenges."

 The five proposals include:

  • "Health Equity in Indiana and Beyond," David Burr, Distinguished Professor and associate vice chancellor for research at IUPUI, and Michael Reece, professor and associate dean at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.
  • "Preparing for Change: Sustaining Nature’s Assets, Public Health and Human Well-Being," 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.
  • "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.

The second public presentation event will be held May 2 in Bloomington.  

Cate says each proposal will be reviewed by a faculty review committee and the university's vice presidents. He says he is confident that a final decision from IU President Michael McRobbie will come by mid-June.

Cate says the four proposals that are not selected will be encouraged to seek outside funding and will receive help from the university to do so. He said they will also have the option to present the proposals again next year.

IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate says the proposals had to address real problems affecting Hoosiers

View the original story on the Inside Indiana Business website