Announcing new Catalyst and Discovery Awards for faculty

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Over the last year, the president, provost, and deans and directors of the university’s divisions have been working on an initiative designed to support the research and creative professional activities of our colleagues.

We recognize, of course, the many challenges our colleagues face in securing support for their endeavors in an environment of declining federal research funding. For instance, the government doubled its investment in the NIH in 2003, but since then we have experienced a 20 percent contraction in the real value of the NIH funding we receive. Discretionary funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities has declined by 25 percent in constant dollars over the last 10 years. These pressures can be even more difficult for our early-career faculty members who are searching for resources not only to start projects but also to launch their careers.

In response to these challenges, we have as an institution doubled and redoubled our efforts to ensure support for our faculty’s research activities. Our Rising to the Challenge Campaign has been focused on support for intellectual capital in the form of program support, faculty chairs, and student financial aid, and we are well on course to securing $4.5 billion in philanthropy. We have worked to expand our relationships with a greater diversity of agencies through the innovative work of Jhpiego and APL, and collaborations such as the Military and Veterans Health Institute. We have also developed key new relationships with the state of Maryland, as reflected in the new Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative and the state’s funding of the new Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center. And we have sought to build our technology transfer and innovation capacity through major investments in new innovation hubs, accelerators, and corporate and licensing activities.

Nevertheless, we recognize that given the magnitude and duration of current funding challenges, there is a need for further support for our colleagues’ research agendas. This issue has particular salience given our status as America’s first research university, and as the largest university recipient of federal grant support.

That is why today the university is launching two new initiatives to support the inspiring work of our faculty.

The Johns Hopkins University Discovery Awards will focus on cross-university, faculty-led research and discovery. We expect that these awards will spark new interactions among faculty from across the university. A number of the awards will be reserved for faculty teams that will use the funds to get started while they seek an externally funded, large-scale grant or cooperative agreement.

The Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Awards are for early-career faculty across the university who are undertaking exceptional research or creative endeavors. The awards will help these individuals to launch their promising careers during the crucial years when startup funds are depleted and external funding or other support may be elusive.

The university will commit a total of $15 million in funding over the next three years to these new programs. We expect that the awards will assist faculty who reflect the full breadth of knowledge, discovery, and creativity across the university. You can find out more about these initiatives, including how to apply, on the Office of the Provost website.

These awards build on the momentum created by the President’s Frontier Award, which was announced in the fall to celebrate the exceptional achievements and promise of faculty who are on the cusp of transforming their fields. Through these initiatives and others to come, we will continue to do all we can to support our faculty, who form the intellectual heart of our institution.

Sincerely yours,

Ronald J. Daniels

Robert C. Lieberman
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

David W. Andrews
Dean of the School of Education

Fred Bronstein
Dean of the Peabody Institute

Patricia M. Davidson
Dean of the School of Nursing

Bernard T. Ferrari
Dean of the Carey Business School

Elaine T. Hansen
Director of the Center for Talented Youth

Michael J. Klag
Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health

Vali R. Nasr
Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

Paul B. Rothman
Frances Watt Baker and Lenox D. Baker Jr. Dean of the School of Medicine

T.E. Schlesinger
Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering

Ralph D. Semmel
Director of Applied Physics Laboratory

Winston Tabb
Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums

Beverly Wendland
Interim Dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences