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Academic and Research Excellence Update
August 15, 2023

Dear colleagues,

The start of a new academic year is always full of enthusiasm as we regroup with colleagues and friends, welcome new faculty and staff members to Purdue, and usher in a new class of students.

Having just finished a strong fiscal year, we want to congratulate and thank everybody for such outstanding work. So much was achieved across Purdue: headline-making breakthroughs in research, outstanding recognition of Purdue faculty by national and international academies, and record-setting levels of funding. For the first time, Purdue’s research funding exceeded $600 million in FY2023, reaching $613 million.

Our world-class teaching and research faculty and staff, as well as students, have made these successes possible. So, as we begin this new year, we want to share new Purdue efforts to support you as well as provide updates on previously announced efforts. Additionally, we want to invite you to join your faculty colleagues in this year’s Westwood Lectures, one scheduled for each month of our academic year to feature outstanding faculty and their research endeavors.

New Initiatives to Support Faculty & Staff

1. Seed funding for authors of high-impact review papers, monographs and academic books. High-profile journal review papers, books and monographs can raise the visibility of a faculty member’s work and the reputation of the university. To support these efforts, the Office of Research, in partnership with colleges, is managing a competitive grant program to provide seed funding up to $10,000 for Purdue faculty members who are submitting high-impact review articles, developing monographs, or authoring academic books likely to make an impact in their fields. Applications are due by September 15, 2023. Full application details are available on the Office of Research website and from assistant deans of research (ADRs) in each college.

2. Federal appropriation request process (legislative asks). We are offering a standardized process this fall to solicit federal appropriation requests. Faculty members (tenure-track/tenured, research, clinical) from all campuses are eligible to submit projects for consideration by 5 p.m. ET, September 15, 2023. Full program details are available on the Federal Appropriation Request Process website.

3. SPARK: New round of support for teams pursuing large, competitive national center grants. A new round of applications for the SPARK (Supporting Partnering for Advanced Research teamworK) program is being accepted. To support interdisciplinary teams pursuing large center research grants, the SPARK program may provide up to $100,000 to Purdue teams for critical development activities linked to external grant proposals of $7 million or more. SPARK funding is in addition to internal resources offered, including project strategy, teaming and assistance in proposal development. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. ET, September 11, 2023. Full program details are available at the Office of Research website.

4. Discretionary funds for new awards of $5 million or more. This recognition program awards $50,000 in discretionary funds to PIs of new, multi-year research awards. So far in 2023, these funds have been given to seven PIs including these recent awardees:

  • Peter Bermel, $5 million (U.S. Dept. of Treasury)
  • George Wodicka, $6.8 million (National Institutes of Health)
  • Pavlos Vlachos/Yoon Yeo/Luis Solario, $11.4 million (Eli Lilly and Company)

Other awardees and full program details are on the Office of Research website.

5. Enhanced IRB/IACUC support and IRB survey planned

We have added an advisor who can help faculty and staff navigate the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol application processes. To learn more or to schedule a virtual appointment, please visit the IRB Contact website.

Meanwhile an IRB survey will be conducted in September to gather information about the IRB and its processes. The survey will be open to all research faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students. For more details, contact Jamie Mohler (

6. Input sought on new pre-award deadline policy proposal. Sponsored Program Services (SPS) is seeking input on a new pre-award deadline policy proposal. The proposed new policy is designed to ensure that every grant proposal gets a thorough review before submission and that those submitted late do not get prioritized over proposals submitted in a timely fashion. This deadline is designed to ensure that all PIs receive timely and expected levels of support. Details of the proposed policy change can be found on the SPS website. Faculty and staff input to this proposed policy change is welcomed and should be sent to The new policy will take effect on September 15.

7. Major Capital Projects. Purdue is investing more than $1.3 billion in major capital projects that include support of Purdue’s academic and research efforts with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Some notable recent developments include:

  • Dudley and Lambertus Hall: new instructional and teaching labs, design studios and collaborative spaces to support the College of Engineering and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute
  • Hypersonics & Applied Research Facility (HARF): construction was recently completed on this new national security facility, featuring HYPULSE and Mach 8 wind tunnels, an advanced manufacturing suite and secure communications
  • Zucrow Lab-9 High Pressure Air Plant: five new propulsion test cells and a high-pressure air plant will support Purdue’s National Security and Technology Initiative and Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI); planned completion by March 2025
  • Life Science Ranges Phenotyping Greenhouse Building: this new phenotyping-enabled facility with standard and teaching greenhouse space will support Purdue’s Next Moves “Plant Sciences 2.0” initiative; scheduled for completion by May 2025
  • Birck Nanotechnology Clean Room Modernization: modernization of equipment, air handling units, controls and plumbing that supports new research in microelectronics and quantum activities to be completed by July 2025
  • Nursing and Pharmacy Education Building: Purdue Board of Trustees approved plans for a new educational facility to address the need for more skilled nurses and pharmacists and to expand laboratory animal care facilities; completion is planned for 2026.

8. Life Science Faculty Summit 2023 preview. Fall 2023 will bring the Life Sciences Faculty Summit. Building on substantial input from the Life Sciences Town Hall held in March, this summit will advance Purdue’s drive toward excellence at scale in the life sciences, including a program to catalyze pursuit of grand challenges and national leadership in key areas. More details about the summit will be shared soon.

Updates - Previously Announced Efforts

Funding Opportunities

1. Faculty Enhanced Research Appointment Program. More than 60 applications were received for the pilot Faculty Enhanced Research Appointment Program (FERAP). Eligible faculty have received offer letters for their FY2024 appointments which began on August 1 for fiscal year faculty and August 14 for academic year faculty. More information, including eligibility criteria and application process, is available online at the FERAP website. Please email any questions, comments or feedback to .

2. Support for Purdue University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund: We seek to support even more researchers by expanding the Open Access Publishing Fund. The Office of Research, Purdue Libraries and the School of Information Studies recently increased the amount of funds available to support open-access publishing at Purdue. This support is available to any Purdue West Lafayette faculty member, researcher, post-doc, staff member, or graduate student facing article processing charges. Details on open access publishing and how to apply are available at the Purdue University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund website.

3. Purdue NIH Incentive programs fall 2023 due dates. Application deadlines are approaching for faculty seeking NIH incentive funding. Applications for the NIH New R01/U01 Program are due September 18, 2023, and applications for the NIH Competing Renewal R01 Program are due September 22, 2023. Applications for the Selected NIH Training Grant Program are welcomed on an ongoing basis.

4. Purdue Research Bridge Program. Applications continue to be accepted for this program, which helps cover short-term funding gaps to maintain research programs at minimum “essential” levels. The goal is to increase the likelihood of external funding renewal. The program requires a 1:1 match and active pursuit of external funding by faculty. Details are available online at the Research Bridge Program website.

Support Services

5. Faculty Awards and Recognition Office. With a record number of Fulbright scholars this year and a new vice provost for faculty affairs overseeing operations, the office continues to expand its writing and support staff to help nominate faculty members at all career stages for external awards, and to meet with heads and deans. Awards and recognition for scholarly excellence are now recognized formally at our Board of Trustees public meetings, alongside a regular speaking slot reserved for preeminent Purdue scholars who have recently received very significant external recognition (most recently, our newly elected members of the National Academies, Clint Chapple and John Sutherland).

6. Purdue Faculty Concierge. West Lafayette faculty experiencing issues, questions, or concerns can get help from the Purdue Faculty Concierge program, a service of the Office of Research. The program welcomes inquiries from all teaching and research faculty at any stage in their careers, including new faculty starting in fall 2023. Learn more about the program at the Faculty Concierge website .

7. Trial credit card program for externally funded research project purchases. To streamline procurement of research-related goods and services, this credit card pilot program was launched in late March with 29 faculty from six colleges participating. Early results confirm that monthly- and single-transaction card limits are sufficient.

This trial program will be extended through December 2023 to allow more time to assess the level of card participation and transaction activity. Meanwhile a survey of all the participating faculty is being conducted to gain further insights.

8. Purdue Excellence in Research Administration (PERA). In April, the Purdue Board of Trustees approved a $9.9 million investment for an innovative electronic research administration system. PERA (Purdue Excellence in Research Administration) is a next generation system that will automate most processes involved with applying for research grants, managing research funding, and performing regulatory, ethics, training and compliance practices. Currently the Purdue PERA project team is documenting existing processes and planning the two-year phased rollout which begins this fall.

Meanwhile, research faculty and staff are invited to join a PERA User Group to help optimize PERA’s introduction by testing and providing feedback on various components. If interested, please contact Jessica Lawrence ( ).

9. Increased Sponsored Program Services (SPS) staffing by 25%. Since announcing in January an investment to bolster SPS staffing by 25% to improve faculty services and response times, 20 of 22 new positions (91%) have been filled. Aside from ongoing recruitment of two new roles in the non-financial contracting team, expansion of the following faculty support areas is complete: pre-award, post-award, research quality assurance, data & support, marketing & communications, training and SPS administration.

With best wishes for the year ahead,

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

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

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