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Academic and Research Excellence Update
January 10, 2024

Dear colleagues,

Welcome back! We begin an exciting new year by building on your many successes of last year: distinguished recognitions and faculty awards, research breakthroughs in the headlines, and world-class teaching. These are all important markers on our drive toward academic and research excellence at scale.

With these updates, which began a year ago, we will continue sharing key Purdue-led investments, programs and policies that support and reward scholarly impact and research excellence. We also look forward to your feedback as we work together in 2024 to change our world for the better.

Boiler up!

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

Notable Achievements by Faculty and Staff

1. Four projects awarded SPARK funding. The Office of Research has awarded four interdisciplinary teams SPARK funding for the fall 2023 round. The SPARK (Supporting Partnering for Advanced Research teamworK) program provides up to $100,000 for critical development activities linked to external grant proposals of $7 million or more. Projects funded during this latest round are:

  • Urban Computes: Towards an Emerging Integrative Urban Computing Expedition: Daniel Aliaga (computer science), Brady Hardiman (forestry and natural resources) and Melba Crawford (agronomy and civil engineering)
  • Quantum Science Center renewal: Yong Chen (quantum science), Sabre Kais (chemistry), Vladimir Shalaev (electrical and computer engineering) and Alexandra Boltasseva (electrical and computer engineering)
  • From Data to Knowledge to Reasoning: Wojciech Szpankowski (computer science), Ananth Grama (computer science), Simina Brânzei (computer science) and Alexandra Boltasseva (electrical and computer engineering)
  • One Health Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance: Mohit Verma (agriculture and biological engineering), Jonathan Pasternak, (animal sciences), and Rafael Neves, (veterinary clinical science).

2. Sixty-seven faculty awarded seed funding for authoring books, monographs and review articles. The Office of Research and Purdue colleges are managing a competitive grant program to provide up to $10,000 in seed funding for Purdue faculty authoring high-impact review articles, monographs, or academic books. Following an application period this past fall, 67 faculty members across 11 colleges were awarded seed funding. A full list of recipients is available on the Funding Resources webpage. Congratulations to all the awardees!

3. New NIH incentive awardees. The following faculty members have each received $50,000 to support their applications for NIH new R01/U01 or competing renewal R01 awards:

  • New R01/U01 recipients:
    • Brittany Allen-Petersen (biological sciences): “The role of PP2A-B56a in nutrient scavenging in pancreatic cancer”
    • Miad Faezipour (engineering technology): “Enhancing medical interpretability of respiration via AI-guided processing of breathing sounds”
    • Marxa Figueiredo (basic medical sciences): “Optimizing myodepot for Propep therapy by microgel gene delivery”
    • Bridgette Kelleher (psychological sciences): “Remotely monitoring clinical symptoms and outcomes in pediatric neurogenetic populations”
  • Competing renewal R01 recipients:
    • Angeline Lyon (chemistry): “Structural studies of PLCepsilon, a regulator of cardiovascular function”
    • Yoon Yeo (industrial and physical pharmacy): “Chemoimmunotherapy of androgen-independent immune-cold prostate cancer with immunoactive nanoparticles”

4. Purdue distributes $450,000 in discretionary funds for major new research awards. During 2023, Purdue provided $450,000 in discretionary funds to principal investigators (PI) of new, multi-year research awards. Part of the Researcher Recognition Program, launched by the Office of Research in January 2023, funds went to PIs for new research awards of $5 million or more. This program will continue in 2024. Full program details and a list of 2023 recipients can be found at the Researcher Recognition Program webpage.

5. Purdue faculty members publish 89 books. During the final quarter of 2023, faculty published 32 books, bringing the full year total to 89 (source: Academic Analytics). The Faculty Recognition Office lists these new books here. We congratulate all Purdue authors!!

6. Number of PIs submitting proposals rises. Sponsored Program Services reports a significant increase in the number of PIs submitting proposals. During the first six months of fiscal year (FY) 2024, Purdue set a record with 1,057 different PIs submitting proposals. This represents a 14% increase (+127) vs. the same period in FY2023 and 14% above the 10-year average. This is likely one reason for the 18% increase in number of proposals submitted and the 46% increase in proposed dollars.

Initiatives Supporting Faculty and Staff

7. Research speaker coaching platform. The Research Communications team is offering individualized and group speaker-coaching sessions. The sessions focus on fundamentals of communicating technical topics to non-expert audiences, building compelling talks, refining personal-speaking skills, and best practices for slide development. Interested research faculty are encouraged to contact Peter Shelby,

8. Business office bolsters staff to support research. In recent months, the Business Office has increased the number of research support staff positions. The increase of more than 20 individuals is designed to significantly enhance support for account management, payroll and procurement needs. For more information about these changes, contact Eva Nodine,

9. Reminder: pre-award deadline policy. A new pre-award deadline policy took effect in September to address the growing number of grant proposals made by Purdue research teams. The policy, which details strict deadlines for each stage leading up to proposal submissions, helps ensure timely and fair support from the pre-award team. More information about the policy is available here.

10. Op-ed initiative support for faculty. The Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) op-ed initiative helps faculty insert Purdue expertise into public and policy discussions. Led by PPRI faculty fellow, Kathryn Cramer Brownell, associate professor of history, faculty are guided through a process of collaborative ideation, guided writing and pitching op-eds to editors. Through this initiative, Purdue faculty have published op-eds on STEM, social science and humanities related topics in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Conversation and more. Faculty interested in upcoming workshops or one-on-one sessions should contact Brownell,

11. IRB enhancement survey results. During the fall semester, the Office of Research surveyed faculty, staff and students about the institutional review board (IRB) for human subjects and its associated processes. The team is currently leveraging the quantitative and qualitative survey results to improve IRB processes and to align the IRB’s focus more closely with simplified submission and review processes. This work aims to decrease the timeline of protocol reviews and improve consistency of reviews.

Beginning this month, IRB chairs Jeff Haddad and Dan Foti will hold open office hours to assist faculty and graduate students with submission processes and answer questions. Walk-in sessions will take place Mondays and Wednesdays 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesdays 1-2:30 p.m., and Thursdays 10-11:30 a.m. in Hovde 350. May Hamdani, an experienced analyst, is also available to help as she is serving in an advisory role prior to submission of proposals. Hamdani started at Purdue last semester and those who worked with her have found her advice very helpful. Additionally, a human research protection program (HRPP) advisory group, including faculty and staff from across campus, will be reestablished to continue vetting tactical improvements for implementation during the spring semester. For more details, contact Jamie Mohler,

12. NDA process review underway. With the increasing number of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) needed across Purdue, Sponsored Program Services and the Office of Legal Counsel are leading a review of internal processes linked to NDAs as well as material transfer agreements (MTA) and data use agreements (DUA). Several major NDA bottlenecks have been identified, and new measures are being taken to shorten the time needed to conclude an NDA. Once NDA work is complete, the review will focus on MTA and DUA procedures. For more information, contact the SPS contracting team at

13. Innovation and entrepreneurship. The Office of Research recently announced the selection of Christian Butzke as Purdue’s first senior university fellow for innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E). Together with a small network of collegiate I&E fellows and departmental I&E ambassadors across campus, Butzke will work to increase the societal impact of Purdue-led scientific breakthroughs by facilitating commercialization, licensing and enterprise creation in alignment with the Purdue Research Foundation’s new Purdue Innovates support ecosystem. To learn more, faculty can contact Christian Butzke,

14. Academic reputation survey. Between now and January 18, the Times Higher Education (THE) team is sending reminders to a sampling of recently published faculty to complete an external survey on academic excellence. This survey will inform the 2025 THE World University Rankings which is used by prospective students, researcher collaborators, and others. Closing on Jan. 30, the survey takes approximately 15 minutes, and we encourage faculty to complete it. Questions about the survey can be directed to

Spring 2024 Deadlines for Key Funding

15. Purdue NIH incentive programs. Spring 2024 deadlines for several funding applications are fast approaching. Applications for the NIH New R01/U01 Program are due no later than Feb. 19. The cutoff for the NIH Competing Renewal R01 Program is Feb. 22, while the Selected NIH Training Grant Program continues to accept applications on a rolling basis

16. BRIDGE funding. Applications for the Purdue Research Bridge Program are accepted on a rolling basis. This program helps cover short-term funding gaps by maintaining research programs at essential minimum levels. It requires a 1:1 match, and faculty must be actively pursuing external funding.

17. SPARK Awards. A spring 2024 funding round for the SPARK Program is underway with applications due by Feb. 15. SPARK provides up to $100,000 to four Purdue teams, each representing at least two colleges, to support critical development activities linked to external grant proposals of $7 million or more. SPARK funding is in addition to college and departmental support. Full program details are available SPARK webpage.

Additional Key Resources for Faculty and Staff

18. Faculty Recognition Office

19. Grant-writing workshops

20. New federal appropriation request process

21. Office of Research weekly funding newsletter

22. Purdue University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund

23. Purdue Faculty Concierge

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