Grand Challenges Research Investments

We need your input

While we identified the thematic research areas, we need your help to develop the specific proposals that will frame and direct our investments.

The Offices of the Provost and the Vice President for Research are engaging faculty and gathering input on the specific areas for investment in several different ways. In each area, there will be virtual events and an online platform to begin gathering ideas and develop more specific areas of focus. In  first phase, the Provost and Vice President for Research are partnered with the Environmental Resilience Institute and the UVA Brain Institute to hold virtual idea generation events, form working groups and hold an in-person forum at the Rotunda. 

    Seeding Research

    Using input, the Provost and Vice President for Research, with the support of the President, co-sponsor a conference in each area later in the fall semester. These conferences, which will be open to the UVA community, will consist of interdisciplinary faculty panels focused on the future and “grand challenges” of the area, as well as the opportunities for UVA to play a leading role in solving these challenges. There will be opportunities for discussion after each panel. The ideas generated by the events will help develop specific topics and proposals for investment. The investments will be announced early in the spring semester.

    One of the key goals of our strategic plan is to enable discoveries that enrich and improve lives. We have made progress on this goalwhich you can see on our new interactive timelinebut there is still much to be done. Our investments in Environmental Resiliency and Sustainability and the Brain and Neuroscience are an important next step. We look forward to working with you on this exciting goal in the coming years.

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    Grand Challenges Research Investments

    The University’s Great and Good 2030 Plan identifies five priority focus areas for research: Democracy, Environmental Resilience and Sustainability, Precision Medicine, the Brain and Neuroscience, and Digital Technology and Society. The Grand Challenges Research Investments are intended to make a substantial difference through large strategic investments—to move the needle and not just fund business as usual. We plan to focus on opportunities that will have high impact, such as significant research infrastructure or new faculty (cluster hires or key leaders). We do not plan to support routine research expenses or replace externally sponsored research funding. This transformative new investment is designed to expand and complement our current research portfolio.


    The University’s new differentiating $100 million investment in Democracy, Enhanced by donations from philanthropic alumni Martha and Bruce Karsh, the institute builds on UVA’s strength in democracy and facilitates democracy-related collaborations across Grounds and beyond. 

    Brain and Neuroscience

    UVA launches $75M neuroscience challenge with Alzheimer's, Autism, and other Brain research Brain and Neuroscience.

    Environmental Resiliency and Sustainability

    UVA to Invest $60 Million to put climate change solutions in people's hands. Environmental Resiliency and Sustainability

    Digital Technology and Society 

    in process 2022-23 academic year.

    Precision Health

    in process 2022-23 academic year.