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Research and Graduate Education:
Discovery with Impact

Goal

Create and support a community of engaged, productive, and collaborative scholars who are world leaders in their respective disciplines, pushing back the boundaries of science, and addressing society’s most pressing opportunities and challenges through creative and high-impact disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research.

scientist in field
INITIATIVE 1: Drive interdisciplinary research by creating a culture of “we” in approaching our science.

Actions:
  • Develop a process for envisioning and creating the next “Big Thing(s)” in the College, including soliciting ideas regularly from all College faculty members, being mindful that both translational and basic science are essential to creating short-term and long-term impacts.
  • Foster innovative research and interdisciplinary collaborations that jointly benefit the faculty, the College, and society, emphasizing informal, bottom-up, team approaches.
  • Establish a competitive, well-funded, internal program attractive enough to fully engage interdisciplinary teams.
  • Build strategic partnerships with other Purdue Colleges, universities, industry, and governmental and nongovernmental agencies to enhance the science of the College.
  • Pursue strategic and targeted hiring of mid-career faculty members to advance thrust areas of research and to maintain a diverse faculty.
  • Work with the Purdue Foundry to enhance entrepreneurship and pursue commercialization of research discoveries and with departments to facilitate release time for faculty members who wish to translate their discoveries into the marketplace.

INITIATIVE 2: Enhance research facilities by building new facilities and improving existing facilities both on and off campus to promote world-class, interdisciplinary research. Create functional and attractive spaces that draw faculty members, staff members, and students to the workplace.

Actions:
  • Create a coordinated plan to maintain research space integrity, especially in older buildings and facilities, both on and off campus.
  • Identify and prioritize facilities (such as those related to food safety, insect/disease, isolation quarantine units, etc.) that make us unique.
  • Require that all new and renovated buildings have research space allocated for cross-departmental, interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Create and implement a balanced in-house and outsourcing plan for services to eliminate any perceived need to own all equipment or facilities.
  • Involve the faculty in development activities for new facilities; tap into existing relationships between faculty and staff members and potential donors; build linkages with Development and Agricultural Communication to support relationships and find imaginative ways to help sponsor research.
  • Create a mechanism for industry sponsorship of facility upgrades.

INITIATIVE 3: Enhance shared resources by creating and supporting infrastructure that spans departmental boundaries.

Actions:
  • Provide full and uninterrupted access to state-of-the-art equipment to support basic, translational, and social sciences; field facilities; and trained personnel to enable and expedite research that otherwise is not possible within the confines of an investigator-managed laboratory.
  • Create a multidisciplinary, shared-facilities working group that monitors and makes recommendations on the optimal use and management of shared facilities.
  • Provide clear and easy access to information on the training requirements, access, and technical expertise available at all core facilities, and on a cost structure for the facilities.
  • Institute a mechanism for upgrade and replacement to keep equipment and technologies current and state-of-the-art.
  • Ensure that core facility managers and professional staff have access to professional-development opportunities.

INITIATIVE 4: Invest in the future of science through holistic graduate and postdoctoral training programs that prepare our students to be successful leaders in their chosen fields.

Actions:
  • Emphasize creative opportunities unique to Purdue that both attract graduate students/postdocs and make them highly valued in the marketplace.
  • Establish a small number of universal learning outcomes in all graduate programs, including written and oral scientific communication, teamwork, and the competencies necessary to function in our “big data”-driven world.
  • Increase the incentive to train graduate students by helping accelerate their learning curve and easing the fiscal constraints on graduate education.
  • Recruit and retain underrepresented minorities by investing in their success.
  • Increase professional development and networking opportunities that enhance international, industrial, and teaching career paths for graduate students and postdocs.
  • Create travel scholarships for graduate students and postdocs that allow every trainee to attend a national meeting to present his or her research.
  • Take advantage of the resources offered by Extension, including linking graduate students with Extension contacts, making graduate students aware of careers in Extension, and utilizing Extension expertise to help communicate our science to a general audience.
  • Develop an external advisory group of graduate alumni who can help provide insight into graduate education and guide graduate students and postdocs as they prepare for careers outside of academia.
  • Facilitate the global reach of the College by creating a focused effort to maintain College connections with international students after they graduate and return to their home countries.
  • Develop clear metrics (productivity, time to degree, job placement, etc.) to evaluate the impact of graduate and post-graduate education, and use those metrics to develop future goals for programs and in developing training-grant proposals.
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