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Provost’s Initiative to Enhance Research and Scholarship (PIERS)

Infographic explaining how the mission of PIERS involves facilitating research, developing new research, and engaging the VU community Vanderbilt faculty conduct exceptional, world-renowned research and scholarship in many thematic areas that span Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Our Academic Strategic Plan provides the vision to aspire to even greater levels of achievement. Moreover, through Opportunity Vanderbilt, our undergraduate students are first-rate and bring a diversity of rich perspectives to campus, with plans for the pending Immersion Vanderbilt initiative providing them with further engagement with our world-renowned faculty for collaborations “to engage, question, and forge change.” New investments in the Graduate School and graduate and professional student experiences are also being made to ensure excellence across all aspects of our discovery and learning landscape.

By planning, organizing, and supporting the research and scholarship efforts of our faculty and students, Vanderbilt will advance as outlined in the Academic Strategic Plan. To support this, a new multi-year initiative will be organized under the auspices of the Provost’s Initiative to Enhance Research and Scholarship (PIERS). PIERS will create a virtuous cycle of “vision-action-impact” to drive growth and recognition of Vanderbilt research and scholarship that are resourced by a diverse and sustainable matrix of sponsorship. Advancement activities will be undertaken to enrich research strengths and further build capacity to lead, planning activities will be informed by measured outcomes to adjust and refine action, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research will enable effective implementation. The inaugural Vanderbilt University Research Council (VURC) has been established; and, through it and other working groups, PIERS will build a shared vision, a sense of community, a special emphasis on facilitation of research collaborations across VU-VUMC, and streamlined research operations and processes, including those for various forms of internal funding, research cores, and research support functions. Additionally, through the PIERS consultative process, the longer term goals are to establish Vanderbilt’s preeminence in bold and overarching trans-institutional themes, such as the brain, that span strengths and priorities at VU schools and colleges.

Recent PIERS News


January 24 – Vanderbilt Software Carpentry boot camp set for March 5–6

February 18 – New website to engage VU community in electronic research administration system implementation

February 19 – Rafat receives Young Investigator Grant from Breast Cancer Alliance

February 28 – Data Science: Next Generation Committee to advance computing at Vanderbilt

April 27 – Huron selected as new electronic research administration system vendor

April 29 – New COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund engages community in Vanderbilt’s fight against coronavirus

May 22 – The Open Dore: Leading through Research 

May 22 – Chemistry Professor Steve Townsend Wins Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

May 27 – VU Data Science Institute takes on challenge of COVID-19 readiness for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

June 16 – Vanderbilt University partners with ACADIA Pharmaceuticals to develop novel treatments for central nervous system disorders

June 18 – ACCRE launches experimental technologies program ‘ACCREx’

July 6 – Vanderbilt ranks 36th on NAI’s Top 100 list for U.S. patents

July 8 – Summer webinar series to discuss federal funding opportunities for faculty

July 9 – Faculty webinar: ‘Federal Funding for Health Disparities Research’ July 14

July 9 – Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization breaks records in rapid facilitation of COVID-19 related agreements

July 14 – Vanderbilt bioengineer’s trailblazing cancer research receives $1M W. M. Keck Foundation grant

July 14 – Vanderbilt receives NIH award to enhance student diversity in biomedical sciences

July 17 – Faculty webinar: ‘COVID-19 federal funding opportunities and guidance’ July 30

July 24 – New faculty at Data Science Institute engage in data science for the social good

July 27 – 16th annual Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology Symposium set for Aug. 6

July 31 – Faculty webinar: ‘Department of Defense 101’ Aug. 12


February 1 – U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center chief scientist to give Parker Lecture Feb. 5

February 26 – Ancora Innovation proposal submissions open March 14

February 27 – Rosenthal to step down as VINSE director; planning for institute’s future begins

March 8 – New working group to assess environmental health and safety at Vanderbilt

April 7 – Webinar on engaging with federal government for early career researchers is April 15

April 11 – Army Futures Command, Vanderbilt ink partnership to encourage innovation, education for both

June 7 – New leadership announced for the Wond’ry

June 14 – VU engages Lewis-Burke to connect faculty with federal sponsors

June 16 – ‘Opportunities in Defense Health’ webinar set for June 28

June 26 – Weiss to lead VINSE starting July 1

August 14 – Two-part Department of Energy webinar on federal funding Sept. 12, 26

November 18 – New VURC Subcommittee for International Research and Engagement formed

December 4 – LAPOP Receives $10 Million USAID Grant to Support AmericasBarometer Survey

December 16 – The Open Dore: Advancing research, scholarship and innovation at Vanderbilt


January 8 – Vanderbilt signs licensing, research agreements to develop new approach to schizophrenia treatment

February 22 – Competition announcement: 2018 NIH S10 Shared and High-End Instrumentation Grants

March 8 – Vanderbilt professors visit Army lab

March 14 – Boehringer Ingelheim and Vanderbilt University expand partnership to develop novel treatment approaches for cancer

March 13 – Lisa Monteggia to lead Vanderbilt Brain Institute

March 28 – Deerfield Management, Vanderbilt University announce launch of Ancora Innovation

April 6 – Faculty input requested at Research IT town halls April 16 and 25

May 10 – Slides can help faculty with Ancora proposal submissions

July 3 – Oak Ridge and Vanderbilt come together to explore cellular processes

July 5 – Working group releases recommendations to advance research and scholarship through technology

July 12 – Doug Schmidt named associate provost for research development and technologies

August 13 – Vanderbilt Data Science Institute launched

August 16 – New committee advances research through limited submission opportunities

August 16 – New leaders appointed to enhance research support, development

September 7 – Faculty invited to fall research proposal development workshops

September 17 – ‘Proposals 101’ workshop covers basics of applying for funding at VU

September 19 – L-POD program takes faculty research to new heights

September 25 – Leadership expansion announced at Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy

October 7 – CTTC to host session on funding opportunities for physicians, scientists developing new therapies

October 9 – New faculty advisory committee to develop research IT services and resources on campus

November 2 – Vanderbilt continues in top 10 of ‘World’s Most Innovative Universities’

November 26 – Ancora announces major funding awards to support Vanderbilt drug discovery research

November 30 – Research software engineer-for-hire core service available

December 7 – Vanderbilt Data Science Institute launches new master of science program

December 19 – Therapeutic Antibody Discovery and Development event is Jan. 23


March 17 – New working group to assess and prioritize opportunities for enhancing research IT resources on campus

August 30 – Lopez named Vanderbilt’s liaison to Oak Ridge National Laboratory

September 7 – Revised, enhanced limited submissions process launched

November 3 – New program provides support for faculty for grant proposals and funding opportunities

November 13 – Forensic science comes to Vanderbilt

November 29 – New proposal development program hosts visit from Army Research Lab’s chief scientist to explore faculty partnerships


May 9 – Search launched for director of Vanderbilt Brain Institute; Emeson to serve as interim

August 24 – New webpage answers FAQs about research collaborations post-separation

June 22 – Blake, Winder to lead national search committee for Vanderbilt Brain Institute director

November 7 – New interdisciplinary university research council created

December 12 – PIERS to further excellence in research and scholarship


December 10 – Vanderbilt names Padma Raghavan as vice provost for research