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

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 25 – New Data Science M.S. program accepting applications

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

July 2 –  CLAS shares collegiate knowledge with K-12 educators nationwide

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


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