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13 cross-college collaborative projects win TIPs funding

Jun. 2, 2016, 8:30 AM

(Vanderbilt University)
(Vanderbilt University)

Thirteen interdisciplinary projects, ranging from cellular processes and smart cities to global health care issues, have been selected as the 2016 awardees of the Trans-Institutional Program (TIPs) initiative. These projects, which involve more than 100 faculty from all of Vanderbilt’s 10 colleges and schools, advance discovery and learning, with many of them providing cutting-edge immersion experiences for students.

The $50 million TIPs initiative, launched by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, is in its second year. The five-year program supports trans-institutional research and teaching, which was a foundation of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. The TIPs Council received 61 pre-proposals last fall, 35 of which were invited in January to submit full proposals. From that group, the council recommended 13 proposals for funding.

“These innovative projects exemplify the unique characteristics of Vanderbilt,” Zeppos said. “We are committed to building trans-institutional ties to advance discovery and learning, and asking questions such as: What makes a city smart? What is next for Africa? How can we develop the next generation of vaccines? Our goal in asking these thought-provoking questions is to help create a better future for humankind and our world.”

The 2015-16 TIPs Council, appointed by Zeppos, evaluated all the proposals and made final recommendations on those to receive funding. The council was co-chaired by John Geer, vice provost for academic and strategic affairs and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and Larry Marnett, then associate vice chancellor for research and the Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research. After the April 30 transition of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center into separate legal entities, Padma Raghavan, vice provost for research, and Jennifer Pietenpol, executive vice president for research at VUMC, joined Geer as co-chairs of the council. Marnett assumed his new role as dean of basic sciences on April 30.

The TIPs cross-college initiatives involve collaborations across disciplines, bringing diverse viewpoints and methods together to foster creativity in both discovery and learning. Several of the 2016 TIPs initiatives feature immersive learning opportunities for students, another key theme of the Academic Strategic Plan. TIPs grants are either Vanderbilt Initiative Awards (VIAs), seed grants that serve as incubators for exciting new ideas, or Vanderbilt Re-investment Awards (VRAs), larger grants for existing initiatives, centers or institutes. Funding for this year’s initiatives will be available July 1.

“Our campus is a hotbed for innovation and creativity, so winnowing down these proposals to the final 13 was a huge task,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “I am grateful to the TIPs Council for their efforts. The quality of proposals we received is evidence of the strong connection between teaching and research that makes Vanderbilt a wonderful place for collaboration and the development of exciting new ideas.”

“Trans-institutional collaboration remains at the core of our culture and is the special ingredient that continues to make Vanderbilt distinct among peers,” said Jeff Balser, president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The TIPs initiative is an increasingly important component of these collaborations, serving as an incubator to support innovative research programs proposed by our faculty that fulfill our mission of innovation through discovery.”

Following is a list of the 2016 Trans-Institutional Program award recipients. A more detailed list is here, or you can view it as a PDF.

Vanderbilt Initiative for Smart-City Operations Research (VISOR)

Participants: School of Engineering, Peabody College, College of Arts and Science

Vocations in Racial Justice: Trans-Disciplinary Activist/Practitioner/Scholar (TAPS)

Participants: Divinity School, Peabody College, College of Arts and Science, School of Nursing, Law School, School of Engineering

Optimizing Health and Well-Being in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Participants: School of Medicine (Clinical), College of Arts and Science, Peabody College

Establishment of a World-Class Metabolomics Service

Participants: School of Medicine (Basic Sciences), School of Medicine (Clinical), School of Engineering

Africa at a Crossroads: Challenges and Prospects

Participants: College of Arts and Science, School of Medicine (Clinical), Blair School of Music, Peabody College

Understanding Digital Dominance in Teaching and Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Participants: Peabody College, School of Engineering, College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning

Vanderbilt Initiative for Intelligent Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS)

Participants: School of Engineering, College of Arts and Science

Engineering Immunity

Participants: School of Medicine (Clinical), School of Engineering

Towards a Trans-disciplinary Program on Data Science Policy

Participants: School of Medicine (Clinical), School of Engineering, College of Arts and Science, Owen Graduate School of Management, Law School

Advancing the Development of Brain-Based Measures of Treatment Outcomes in Clinical Trials across the Lifespan

Participants: Peabody College, School of Medicine (Clinical)

Vanderbilt Program for Next Generation Vaccines-Integrating Structural Biology with Big Data

Participants: College of Arts and Science, School of Medicine (Basic Sciences), School of Medicine (Clinical), School of Engineering

VINSE I³: Increasing Immersion and Innovation in Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Research and Education

Participants: School of Engineering, College of Arts and Science

The Vanderbilt International Public Opinion Project

Participants: College of Arts and Science, School of Medicine (Clinical), School of Law, Peabody College

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