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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.


January 27 - Despite limitations of pandemic, research and collaborations continue at Blair, School of Engineering

January 28 - Vanderbilt joins Wellcome Leap global network dedicated to accelerating breakthroughs in human health

February 3 - Despite limitations of pandemic, research continues at Peabody College, School of Nursing

February 10 - Despite limitations of pandemic, research continues in Basic Sciences, Blair

February 17 - Despite limitations of pandemic, research continues in Arts and Science, Nursing

February 22 - Curb Center and Metro Nashville Arts Commission win grant to expand Racial Equity in Arts Leadership program

February 24 - Despite limitations of pandemic, research continues in Basic Sciences, Engineering

February 27 - Women in Data Science conference set for March 8

March 3 - Despite limitations of pandemic, research continues at Peabody, College of Arts and Science

March 8 - 2020 Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card: Overall improvement, work to be done

March 12 - Vanderbilt Data Science Institute hosts AI for conservation expert Tanya Berger-Wolf in virtual event on March 19

March 15 - Unique transdisciplinary collaboration gives undergrads exposure to research experience in the humanities

March 16 - Vanderbilt Brain Institute hosts Brain Blast 2021

March 17 - Synchro Motion and PredictionHealth: Vanderbilt’s NSF National I-Corps teams are making an impact through innovation

March 24 - Very Real Help and Zeno Power: Vanderbilt’s NSF National I-Corps teams are making an impact through innovation

March 24 - Vanderbilt, AmericasBarometer cited in Ecuador’s 2021 presidential debate

April 1 - Curb Center, Metro Arts present ‘The Role of the Artist in Crisis and Recovery’ April 21

April 1 - Curb scholar convenes roundtable to discuss ‘The Role of the Artist in Crisis and Recovery’

April 9 - Student-developed machine-learning techniques make surgeries safer and easier to review

April 12 - Data Science Institute virtual event April 16 to share data used to predict elections

April 14 - Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering awarded VentureWell grant for undergraduate immersion class

April 28 - Arts and humanities faculty finding grants success with support of RDS team

May 2 - Curb Center, ArtLab studio open COVID-19 collaborative exhibit at VUMC

May 7 - Soldier-Inspired Innovation Incubator team advances to finals for xTechBOLT prize, will compete for $500,000

May 12 - Vanderbilt CTTC commercialized 25 COVID-19-related discoveries, facilitated nine startups during record-setting year

May 26 - Research community engages in testing of new Vanderbilt Electronic Research Administration system

May 26 - Office of Research enhances sponsorship and compliance support for faculty

May 27 - Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond visits Vanderbilt, laying groundwork for future partnership

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

Aug. 5 - Siciliano wins Fay/Frank Seed Grant and Alkermes Pathways Research Award

Aug. 5 - Turning Heads: The Vanderbilt Brain Institute has emerged as a hub of discovery as neuroscience’s influence expands

Aug. 7 - Alumni brothers pioneer groundbreaking method of cybersecurity

Sept. 9 - Bell siblings reflect Vanderbilt’s culture of innovation

Sept. 9 - VERA system advances to iterations phase

Sept. 10 - Vanderbilt leads $5 million project to revolutionize neurodiverse employment through AI

Sept. 11 - Griffith raising awareness about men’s health equity and structurally based risks for COVID-19

Sept. 16 - White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to speak Sept. 25

Sept. 25 - White House science and technology director urges need for research security

Sept. 30 - Vanderbilt Strong Faculty Grant Program workshop sessions announced

Oct. 7 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Mallinckrodt Scholars Program

Oct. 7 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards

Oct. 13 - New faculty Maizie Zhou: Unlocking genetic disorders through Big Data

Oct. 20 - Limited Submission Opportunity: TN Arts Commission Arts Project Support and Rural Arts Project Support

Oct. 20 - Limited Submission Opportunity: TN Arts Commission Arts Access Annual Grant

Oct. 24 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards

Oct. 24 - Limited Submission Opportunity: CLIR Recordings at Risk

Oct. 24 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2020 V Scholar Award for Black/African American Cancer Researchers

Oct. 27 - Vanderbilt biochemists reveal the cause of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease—too much of a good thing

Oct. 27 - Vanderbilt University anti-inflammatory therapy licensed to Amytrx is now in clinical trials for eczema treatment

Oct. 30 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Brain Research Foundation Fay/Frank Seed Grant Program

Nov. 1 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Conservation, Food and Health Grants

Nov. 2 - Zechmeister, LAPOP rise to challenge of conducting phone surveys on democratic public opinion during COVID-19 pandemic

Nov. 6 - Ren’s lab advances SARS-CoV-2 research and prioritizes safety during Research Ramp-up

Nov. 10 - Limited Submission Opportunity: Mary Kay Foundation Innovative/Translational Cancer Research Grant

Nov. 10 - Limited Submission Opportunity: W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program–Concept Papers

Nov. 10 - Limited Submission Opportunity: Craig H. Neilsen Foundation 2021 Creating Opportunity and Independence Program

Nov. 13 - Molly Barth and Vanderbilt Blair Community adapt to performance, teaching challenges catalyzed by COVID-19

Nov. 16 - Vanderbilt researcher wins NSF grant to decipher civil conflict with code

Nov. 16 - Engineering lab returns during Vanderbilt’s Research Ramp-up to advance research in neurodegeneration

Nov. 17 - Vanderbilt-Ancora partnership advances research for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Nov. 19 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Macy Faculty Scholars Program

Nov. 19 - Limited Submission Opportunity: National Comprehensive Cancer Network Foundation 2021 Young Investigator Award

Nov. 20 - Ridner returns to cancer patient research and care during Research Ramp-up to advance intervention studies

Nov. 21 - Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Oak Ridge Associated Universities Events Sponsorship Program

Nov. 21 - Limited Submission Opportunity: Dr. Scholl Foundation Grant Program

Nov. 25 - Kaiser’s KidTalk lab returns to early childhood language intervention research during Research Ramp-up to support kids with language delays

Nov. 30 - Friedman lab finds unexpected opportunities in COVID-adjusted research activities

Dec. 4 - Mahadevan-Jansen and Vanderbilt Biophotonics Center resume lab activity with renewed purpose during Research Ramp-up

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