Pillars of Excellence

Life Sciences: Request for Concept Papers

Register your team by: April 6, 2015
Proposals Due: May 12, 2015

The goal of the “Pillars of Excellence in the Life Sciences” investment is to strengthen the reputation of Purdue Life Sciences, by improving our national/international rankings. Rankings of particular interest are those “core” to fundamental biology: biochemistry/biophysics/structural biology; cell biology; ecology/evolutionary biology; genetics/genomics/bioinformatics; immunology/infectious diseases; microbiology; molecular biology; and neuroscience/neurobiology. The investment is expected to coalesce faculty with synergistic research interests into one or more identifiable and cohesive groups and provide significant resources to enable a high national impact. Coupled with Purdue’s ongoing NIH-targeted Initiative, the effort is expected to significantly strengthen Purdue’s national/international recognition in the Life Sciences.

Successful Pillars are envisioned to substantively represent multiple colleges on the West Lafayette campus. Teams forming Pillars must “register” and provide contact information for the launching leader to Perry Kirkham by April 6. This information will be shared with the Associate Deans for Research to facilitate multi-expertise group organization. Available support for new Pillars of Excellence will depend on the strength and breadth of the proposed Pillars, but it is expected to be at least equivalent to a major NIH-funded Center. The template proposed below should be followed:

  • Proposed Pillar of Excellence (Title)
  • Launching Group Leader (one)
    • (This could be a temporary position if a new hire into this position is anticipated.) Name, professorial rank, department and college, NIH Biosketch (including current, pending, and completed project information; use new form)
  • Launching Group Co-leader(s)
    • (These could be temporary positions if new hires into these positions are anticipated.) Name, professorial rank, department and college, NIH Biosketch (including current, pending, and completed project information; use new form)
  • Participating Faculty
    • Name, professorial rank, department and college, NIH Biosketch (including current, pending, and completed project information; use new form)
  • Represented Colleges (list)
  • Vision Statement for the Pillar of Excellence (limit 0.5 page)
    • (Briefly describe the overall vision for the Pillar of Excellence incorporating a summary of its goals.)
  • Description of the Scientific Discipline/Area (limit 1 page)
    • (Discuss the state of the scientific discipline/area represented by the proposed Pillar of Excellence and Purdue’s current and potential future national/international position in that discipline/area. Address the Pillar’s potential for external funding.)
  • Goals for the Pillar of Excellence (limit 2.5 pages)
    • (Discuss the goals for obtaining high national/international recognition for the proposed Pillar of Excellence and detail the group organization, activities and any national or international partnerships that will support achieving the goals. Describe plans and timeline for increasing external funding.)
  • Resources for the Pillar of Excellence (limit 1 page)
    • (Discuss what resources are currently available and how they will be leveraged, and what new resources will be needed to achieve high national/international recognition for the Pillar of Excellence. Resources could include, but are not limited to: faculty lines, core facilities, instrumentation, graduate student support, support for seed grants and workshops. New buildings are not envisioned as part of this effort.)
  • Cited Literature (limit 2 pages)

Review Process:

Each proposed Pillar will make a 5 minute “pitch” to a panel of distinguished faculty leaders followed by a 5 minute Q&A in an open session for life sciences faculty, students and staff. The panel will make recommendations to the EVPRP and Provost regarding which teams should move forward. A second and final round will allow 10 minute presentations and 10 minutes for Q&A in the open session format. The panel will include distinguished faculty external to Purdue. The panel will make recommendations to the EVPRP and Provost for the final selection of the Pillar(s) to be supported. This model has been successfully used in the College of Engineering’s “Preeminent Team” competition.

Selection Criteria:

Final decisions will be based on: 1) the clarity and vigor of the vision; 2) the depth, breadth and proposed integration of the scientific expertise in the proposed Pillar; and 3) the potential to reach national prominence.

Contact Marietta Harrison with questions. Concept papers should be submitted to Perry Kirkham by 5 pm, May 12.

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