Skip to main content

Purdue Academic and Research Excellence Update

March 9, 2023

Sixty days ago, we announced six new investments to support, incentivize, and reward scholarly impact and research excellence at Purdue. Today, we write to provide you with updates on those initiatives and to share some additional news. 


1. Increased Sponsored Program Services (SPS) staffing by 25%. Following this announcement, SPS leadership has been actively recruiting candidates to fill 22 new FTEs and has onboarded some already. The goal of expanding the SPS team includes improving faculty services and response times by focusing on: 

  • Supporting proposals for large centers with pre-award interdisciplinary tiger teams.
  • Creating a post-award launch team to ensure new awards are parallel processed during negotiations to reduce award set-up time.
  • Reducing contract negotiation time by restructuring contracting and adding staff with targeted expertise.
  • Supporting replacement of our Electronic Research Administration systems and ensuring successful transition to a single new, integrated research administration system.
  • Fulfilling overall research administration communications and training needs, and, 
  • Adding staff to address workload issues. 

2. A dedicated Faculty Recognition Office. We have invested over $750,000 to create a dedicated Faculty Recognition Office within the Office of the Provost and begun searches for an executive director, a five-person support team and a senior faculty lead. This complements ongoing efforts to assist, recognize and reward faculty at all career stages who are competing for prestigious national and international awards that reflect their scholarly excellence. We invite, and indeed strongly encourage, all our faculty to attend our Early Career Awards celebration at 4 p.m., March 20 in the Purdue Memorial Union. It is important that together we recognize and celebrate our early-career faculty members who have recently received prestigious awards. 
3. A trial credit card program for externally funded research project purchases. Our purpose is to streamline procurement of research-related goods or services by increasing available payment options for faculty. Since January, 30 faculty across 12 departments in 6 colleges have been identified to participate in a pilot that will run through June. We anticipate this pilot will be a success and that the credit card program will become available to additional faculty during fiscal year 2024. 
4. Salary supplements and other support for faculty pursuing large, competitive national center grants. Purdue is leading a new strategic effort, SPARK (Supporting Partnering for Advanced Research teamworK), to support interdisciplinary teams pursuing large center research grants. SPARK will provide up to $100,000 to four Purdue teams, representing at least two colleges, for use with critical development activities linked to external grant proposals of $7 million or more. The deadline to apply is April 14, 2023. Full program details are HERE. Additional support at college and department levels will be forthcoming.
5. $50,000 in discretionary funds for PIs with new awards of $5 million or more. We have launched a new recognition program to award $50,000 in discretionary funds to PIs of new, multi-year research awards. To qualify, awards must total at least $5 million in directly supporting expenditures at Purdue and have a start date after Jan. 1, 2023. Details about allowed expenditures and how discretionary funds may be used are on the Office of Research webpage. Qualifying awards and PIs will be announced each month. 
During the first two months of 2023, three Purdue faculty have received $50,000 in discretionary funding after being awarded major grants. Congratulations go to professors Jen-Yi Huang in food science ($10 million), Songlin Fei in forestry and natural resources ($10 million), and Anand Raghunathan in electrical and computer engineering ($5.5 million). 
6. Enable faculty members to apply for increased total compensation from external awards when permitted by the sponsor. Program details and eligibility criteria will be shared in April, in time for faculty to apply for fall 2023. 


To provide further targeted support, we are pleased to announce a new concierge service for faculty, renewal of Purdue support for faculty with NIH grants, and funding gap support. 

  • Purdue Faculty Concierge. This is a new service to assist faculty facing administrative or internal hurdles that risk causing research delays. The goal is to help faculty address issues so they can lead their research work as efficiently and effectively as possible by connecting them with internal support and resources. 
  • Purdue NIH Incentive Programs. Purdue renewed three incentives for 2023 to help researchers with NIH grants and to increase Purdue’s overall competitiveness in receiving NIH funding. Through the renewed and expanded NIH New R01/U01 Program and NIH Competing Renewal R01 Program, funding support of up to $50,000 is now available for faculty who anticipate submitting a new R01/U01 proposal or competitive renewal proposal within 12 to 18 months. In addition, the Selected NIH Training Grant Program has been renewed with matched funding from The Graduate School to increase submission and success rates of NIH T32, T34, or T37 training grants. 
  • Renewed for 2023, the Purdue Research Bridge Program helps cover short-term funding gaps by maintaining research programs at “essential” minimum levels. The goal is to increase the likelihood of faculty successfully renewing external funding. It requires a 1:1 match, and faculty must be actively pursuing external funding. 


In addition to the actions in the above two sections, we seek to reduce paperwork and streamline internal processes to “return an hour a day” to faculty to pursue their teaching, research and engagement activities. Two examples are cutting in half the number of steps needed to launch new degrees, majors, certificates and more, and launching an enhanced academic IT support infrastructure for faculty.   
Throughout the year, we will continue to provide you with updates on these investments and programs for Excellence at Scale, and we remain eager to receive your thoughts and feedback.    
With warm wishes on behalf of the university leadership team, 

Karen Plaut, Executive Vice President for Research 
Patrick Wolfe, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity 
Chris Ruhl, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer 

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

© 2024 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Research

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Office of Research at