Excellence in Research

Maximize IU’s full capacity for research, scholarship, and creative activity that is recognized as excellent through national and international peer comparisons.

  • Increase research and scholarship. Increase external funding and other support for research and scholarship in all areas of inquiry, and ensure that these activities are strongly supported both academically and administratively.
  • Stimulate the arts and humanities. Expand and enhance IU’s renowned traditions in the creative arts that enrich the lives of Hoosiers and reach around the globe.
  • A commitment to outstanding professional education and research. Build on IU’s superb professional education programs to continue to meet the present and emerging needs of Indiana, the nation, and the world.
  • Expand intercampus collaboration. Leverage the combined intellectual resources of the IU campuses through broad-based, interdisciplinary research and other collaborations internally and externally.

Indiana University is a national leader in research, a long-standing member of the select Association of American Universities, and the home of scholars of outstanding international recognition. Like all great research universities, it draws strength from the breadth of its activities: although there are selected areas of particular focus, its essence is a gathering of scholars from across all disciplines and creative fields, providing a rich environment for faculty and students alike.

The benefits to the people of Indiana from having great research universities in the state are profound. It is well documented that university research and creative activities are associated with increased growth and incomes in their surrounding regions through students who have received their education in a research-rich environment; through new enterprises and new ideas brought into existing businesses; through a pervasive culture of innovation; and through openness to new ideas in applied science, business, the professions, the nonprofit and public sectors, and in the creative industries.

Although there are great opportunities to be seized in the coming years, the environment for research universities is increasingly competitive and challenging. The past few decades have seen a significant increase in the research activity and reputation of universities around the globe. The United States has traditionally been far and away the leading home of the world’s great research institutions, but universities around the world have been rising in what have become ubiquitous international rankings of universities.

Students in a research situation

In many ways, the globalization of university research is a great benefit. Just as findings generated by IU faculty benefit researchers internationally, so are we able to build upon international scholarship. But it also implies a healthy but increasingly intense competition for scholarly and creative talent, and for funding and recognition. IU must rise to meet this challenge. Nationally as well, there is increased competition for scarce funds from public agencies and foundations, with success rates for grant proposals to some agencies falling to below 10%. Hence, it is essential that Indiana University take an active and vigorous role in supporting faculty and graduate students in achieving success in securing grant funding.

Addressing Grand Challenges

Research and scholarship fundamentally rely on the inventiveness, innovation, and creativity of the individual investigator or scholar, yet research has become increasingly multidisciplinary and based on teams of investigators. The funding of research across the humanities and social and natural sciences has shifted in the direction of team-based research focused on major and large-scale problems, and away from the solitary investigator. These major and large-scale problems—often called grand challenges—are chosen because of their potential to advance a discipline or address some major problems of humanity and because they can only be addressed by multidisciplinary teams of the best researchers.

All of this has a number of important implications for Indiana University:

First, IU faculty and academic administrators must take the lead in identifying grand challenges where IU has the greatest potential to make the most significant contributions. Faculty will be invited to identify major issues facing society and possible means of searching for solutions through teams of scholars.

Second, IU faculty and academic administrators must take the lead in assembling teams and clusters of researchers most able to address these grand challenge problems.

Third, the university must provide support to catalyze faculty efforts to seek major long-term grants and gifts to fund their work in attacking these grand challenges.

Fourth, select hires and appointments should be made, including cluster hires of senior scholars and their research groups who have outstanding records of funded research to lead or greatly strengthen research efforts focused on these problems.

Fifth, IU must work to remove barriers to collaboration that might exist between researchers in different schools and campuses to maximize the ability to form teams and clusters of investigators.

The future success of IU’s research enterprise will depend on such institution-wide collaboration.

Stimulating and Supporting Creativity and Cultural Enrichment

The environment that has just been described applies to research in the life, health, physical, social, and technological sciences, as well as in the humanities. In the arts, the emphasis remains primarily on the individual creative artist or scholar, though of course music and theatre are almost always based on the performances of groups of artists, often with dynamic and complex facilities and equipment.

The arts are an enormous strength of Indiana University. The Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington is consistently ranked among the best in the world. The programs in studio art and design at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, at what is expected to be the new School of Art, Architecture + Design in Bloomington (see Bicentennial Priority Eight), and in vibrant programs in these areas on the regional campuses, such as the Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend, are all highly regarded, as is the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance in Bloomington.

Jacobs School of Music students practicing in class

For nearly a decade, the work of creative artists and scholars of the arts and humanities have seen their work supported by New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities, one of the most generous funding programs for humanities and the arts at any university. New Frontiers has funded hundreds of successful projects on all of IU’s campuses—literary works, experimental works in new media, works of art, and new musical compositions and performances. Many of these successful projects have gone on to further recognition, including receiving additional funding for their development.

The expansion and provision of new facilities to support the arts and humanities over this ten-year period has also been quite remarkable. The university, generous donors, and the State of Indiana have invested well over $200 million in a range of such facilities, including:

  • The East Studio Building and the Musical Arts Center Percussion addition for the Jacobs School of Music
  • The IU Cinema at Bloomington (rated by the acclaimed actor Meryl Streep as the best of its type in the country)
  • Renovation of Franklin Hall at Bloomington to house the new Media School, including the Film Studies Program
  • Renovation and expansion of the Theatre and Drama Building at Bloomington to form the Movement Studio and Studio Theatre
  • The Global and International Studies Building at Bloomington that will house nearly all of IU’s language and international studies program
  • The Black Film Center Archive Expansion at Bloomington
  • The Wells Library Film and Media Archive
  • Installation of the Webb-Ehrlich Organ in Alumni Hall (also renovated) at Bloomington
  • Eskenazi Hall to house the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI
  • Eskenazi Fine Arts Center expansion for the Herron School
  • Cavanaugh Hall classroom renovation at IUPUI
  • Joshi Performance Hall at IU South Bend
  • New Arts and Sciences Building at IU Northwest to include performance spaces
  • Establishment of the Indiana University Center for Art and Design Columbus
  • Establishment and renovation of art galleries on all regional campuses, which with other facilities on these campuses, enable them to play a major cultural role in their regions

It is no exaggeration to say that the last decade has been a golden age for support of these disciplines at IU, despite a general environment in higher education that too often ignores or marginalizes this part of the core of a liberal education.