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James Tinney

William Stephan

Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Brand stresses role of research in State of the University speech

Indiana University President Myles Brand stressed the university's continued commitment to research in his annual State of the University address Tuesday (Sept. 24), citing the importance of research both in the educational process and in bolstering economic development in Indiana.

"Both teaching and research are central missions of Indiana University. These missions are not merely complementary, they are mutually supporting. Without question, IU needs to do both well. It can and it does," Brand told the audience in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union and others around the university watching on simulcast.

"Now more than ever before, research is a collaborative activity that transcends geographic barriers, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and scales the ivy-covered walls that previously separated the academy from the private sector. The lines between disciplines, between basic and applied research, and between academic and so-called industrial research are breaking down," Brand said.

As part of the university's continued commitment to research, Brand said that Michael McRobbie, IU's vice president for information technology and chief information officer, will also assume the role of vice president for research, succeeding George Walker who is retiring.

Brand said he expects that McRobbie will build on the research success the university has seen during Walker's tenure. Over the past decade, sponsored research at IU has more than tripled, going from $113 million in 1990 to $397 million in 2001.

One factor limiting continued research growth at both the IU School of Medicine and on the IU Bloomington campus is a shortage of research laboratory space.

Brand said the medical school will need an additional million square feet of research space in the near future. He pointed to several efforts that are under way to build new research space at IUPUI, but he said new funding sources must be found within the next few years to meet the space needs.

Last week the IU Board of Trustees approved the site for Phase I of a Multidisciplinary Science Building for the Bloomington campus. Brand said that building, along with Phases 2 and 3 of that project, "will be designed to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, to enable research growth, and to generally assert the importance of the sciences on the IUB campus."

He added that research space is also needed for humanities, social sciences and professional schools.

The IU president also discussed several initiatives designed to improve graduate education, increase money for graduate fellowships and increase the involvement of undergraduate students in research activities.

"Faculty members who are engaged in research bring an added element to their teaching. The freshness of ideas and discoveries creates an excitement that is hard to resist," Brand said.

"Let us establish the goal of increasing the number of undergraduate students on all our campuses who are engaged with faculty members in research, scholarship and creative activity, and let us work to increase the quality of those experiences."