Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2006
New strategic plan predicts IU's life sciences future
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 3, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Top Indiana University officials today (Feb. 3) unveiled a strategic plan to move the university into the ranks of the nation's top research centers for six areas of the life sciences -- analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, cancer biology, the neurosciences, diabetes and metabolic disorders, and model systems in biological research.
The plan spells out how IU can align existing strengths in such fields as analytical chemistry, information technology and supercomputing, with its rapidly growing medical research centers in the IU School of Medicine. It says that combining these resources in cooperative ventures will make IU more competitive for major research grants from the National Institutes of Health.
"This plan gives us an overall strategy for a comprehensive program of research across both of our major campuses," said IU Provost Michael A. McRobbie.
The 60-page plan was presented to the IU Board of Trustees during the meeting of the board's long-range planning committee.
It will match the laboratories in Bloomington -- which have some of the most sophisticated devices in the world for analyzing and measuring chemical compounds -- with laboratories at the IU School of Medicine, where innovative research is being done on cancer, diabetes and other diseases.
Presenting the plan were the three academic leaders who jointly oversaw its development -- McRobbie; D. Craig Brater, vice president for life sciences and dean of the IU School of Medicine; and Kumble Subbaswamy, dean of the IUB College of Arts and Sciences.
The comprehensive 15-goal plan sets key priority areas and prescribes specific actions for the purpose of maintaining or elevating areas of life sciences research to international prominence.
The plan identifies a need for 1.5 million square feet of additional laboratory space in Bloomington and Indianapolis, calls for the doubling of research grant and contract awards, and recommends the recruitment and hiring of a significant number of top research professionals at both campuses.
"This plan sets down important, specific goals that we at Indiana University must achieve if we are to provide the critical research foundation for Indiana's life sciences initiative, the aim of which is to provide lots of good jobs for Hoosiers," Brater said. "With this plan we have a road map to build on the research excellence IU and the IU School of Medicine have achieved in life sciences and biomedical research, a map that will guide us as we partner with government, private industry and our academic colleagues to build a stronger and healthier Indiana."
McRobbie noted that in the past 10 years, IU has become one of the leading universities in the nation for its digital infrastructure.
"We believe this plan will catapult Indiana University into the forefront of the nation's top life sciences research universities," McRobbie said. "We think this plan has the potential to do the same thing for us in life sciences that the last plan did for us in digital technology."
The plan points out that IU is already internationally respected in some life sciences areas, including analytical chemistry, cancer biology and model organisms. If IU is to maintain excellence in these and other areas -- and to build up the quality of academic activities in promising new fields -- the strategic plan says IU should act to:
- Recruit additional researchers and scientists in the six areas of life science concentration.
- Increase laboratory, office and teaching space for life scientists at both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.
- Encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research projects in the life sciences; collaborators should include not only biologists, chemists and medical researchers, but physicists, environmental scientists, health and recreation researchers and agricultural researchers.
- Improve the "translation" of basic science discoveries into applied, licensable technologies for use in medicine and other areas of human activity.
- Support the education of life scientists -- especially those who will remain in Indiana to work in academia or for industry.
- Improve IU life scientists' access to informatics tools and experts.
The strategic plan also prescribes dozens of specific actions to accomplish these and other goals.
It builds on the recent growth of life science research activities funded by government and private sources, including the $155 million Indiana Genomics Initiative at Indianapolis and the $53 million METACyt initiative at Bloomington, both of which were created by grants from the Lilly Endowment.
To view or download a copy of the IU Life Sciences Strategic Plan, visit http://www.lifesciences.iu.edu.
To speak with Michael McRobbie or Kumble Subbaswamy, please contact David Bricker (IU Media Relations) at 812-856-9035 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To speak with Craig Brater, please contact Eric Schoch (IU School of Medicine) at 317-274-7722 or email@example.com.