About three years ago we started what became known as the Transforming Research Initiative at the IU School of Medicine.
It was an undertaking — by the faculty, not by me, not by the administration — to develop a new strategic plan for research in response to the changing environment for research, particularly a growing emphasis on team science projects with multiple PIs, and the ever-tightening belt applied to NIH funding.
After more than a year of effort, a final report listed six research goals. Now it’s time to describe what’s been done to prevent the TRI from becoming just another report gathering dust. I’ll go through it goal by goal, and if you need a refresher on the TRI report, you can download the executive summary here .
Goal 1: Research Themes
The TRI planning identified seven initial research themes: cancer, cardiovascular, neuroscience, obesity/metabolism, personalized medicine, health services research, and regenerative medicine.
Cancer, cardiovascular and neuroscience continue to receive substantial attention as the initial focus areas of the Strategic Research Initiative partnership with IU Health.
We’ve seen personalized medicine initiatives develop in several areas, notably at the Krannert Institute of Cardiology (with SRI funding), the IU Simon Cancer Center and a major project about to begin at Eskenazi Health. The planned Center for Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery will support the personalized medicine theme.
Health services research and the school’s emphasis on population health is represented by the creation of the Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science, and continues to build on such strengths as the Regenstrief Institute and the Children’s Health Services Research team.
Supporting the obesity/metabolism theme is the new Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, headed by Raghu Mirmira, while the new Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health advances the regenerative medicine theme.
Goal 2: Team Science
Reflecting the increasing emphasis on team science in biomedical research, the IUSM Standards of Excellence in Research for Promotion and Tenure were updated last year to include “excellence in research through contributions that have helped shape collaborative projects.” (See the “About Promotion and Tenure” page on the Office of Faculty Affairs web site.)
Increasingly, we are also making school space allocation decisions with research themes and team science in mind — recent examples include the musculoskeletal and diabetes centers, and on a larger scale, the IU Neuroscience Research Building.
Don’t forget about ReSEARCH Connect, our powerful tool to find research collaborators.
Next time, I’ll cover two more goals: research communications and cores, centers and institutes.