Research and Graduate Education
Upon recommendation of a faculty committee, two years ago the Graduate School was significantly reorganized. Under the leadership of Laura Carlson, Vice President and Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, a significant change was made to allocate directly the majority of funding for stipends to colleges with Ph.D. programs, and to allow the dean and faculty of each college to allocate those funds as they thought best. A $10 million gift—the largest ever made to the Graduate School—enabled us to enhance graduate stipends, healthcare, and support services.
Under the Graduate School Office, a new Office of Postdoctoral Scholars has been established in order to ensure greater uniformity in the quality of training provided by different faculty and laboratories, as well as to provide advanced professional development programs for postdoctoral students.
Provost Tom Burish created in 2007 Notre Dame’s first Vice President for Research, and appointed Bob Bernhard to that position. Under the leadership of Bob and the Deans we have seen a significant increase in the investment in, and success of, our faculty’s efforts in research, scholarship, and creative expression. This has been made possible by the implementation of new Strategic Research Initiatives, new tranches of funding made available through the “Advancing our Vision” (AOV) program, and especially the talent and hard work of you, the faculty. Funds made available through AOV will make possible the hiring of approximately 80 new faculty members, and help with the renovation of the Hesburgh Library.
"Externally funded, competitively allocated grants and contracts.....have gone from $73 million in 2004 to a record of almost $134 million this fiscal year"
The investment in research has had an impact. Externally funded, competitively allocated grants and contracts—which are not only important sources of funding, but also a measure of the quality of the research work of you, our faculty—have gone from $73 million in 2004 to a record of almost $134 million in the most recent fiscal year. Indeed, the increase in research activity has led to an urgent need for more space, and so we are excited about the construction of McCourtney Hall—an interdisciplinary facility that will provide a home for some of Notre Dame’s most ambitious research collaborations.
Our younger faculty are our future, and, as you may know, CAREER awards are the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award given to junior faculty. And so we are particularly pleased that in the past two years 12 members of our faculty have received this award, and we have recruited four young faculty members who received CAREER awards at their previous institutions.
And we continue to have great strength in the humanities. Last year, Notre Dame faculty received more fellowships from the National Endowment of Humanities than any other university.
We have also seen in the last ten years the development of a number of new programs related to technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. There has been noticeable new energy on campus among faculty and students attempting to form new start-up companies stemming from their research and bring ideas to market, and we have tried to encourage and support these efforts.
"Innovation Park has significantly helped Notre Dame faculty develop marketable applications from their own research [and resulted] in at least 200 new jobs created in this region alone."
Innovation Park has significantly helped Notre Dame faculty develop marketable applications from their own research. It has assisted clients to secure approximately $50 million of equity investment in 12 companies, resulting in at least 200 new jobs created in this region alone.
This complements a number of other ways we are bringing our talent and creativity out into the world through multi-institutional collaborations, such as the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility, and the Energy Frontiers Research Center, designated by the U.S. Department of Energy, to name a few.
We have also sought to expand opportunities for collaboration with entities such as IBM, GE, and the Army Research Lab. These partnerships have helped faculty and students, and they have also benefited the region by creating new industries and new jobs.