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Grand Challenges Research: Forum Summaries and Next Steps

The following is a reprint of an email sent to selected Twin Cities faculty and staff by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost on November 19.

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you participated in the series of recent Grand Challenges Research Forums to help shape core components of the University's scholarly future. In all, the five forums drew about 600 faculty, staff, and students to discuss our wide-ranging research strengths. The discussions brought into sharper focus the 130 ideas submitted by faculty during our Call for Ideas process — and potential opportunities to integrate and expand the impact of work to address critical societal challenges.

Recorders captured key elements of these invigorating conversations. We have posted summary notes online, alongside the overviews and discussion questions posted in advance of each forum. The notes capture ideas and insights across multiple table discussions. For those who were unable to make it to one or more of the forums, we hope the trove of online information (along with a comment form) will provide a way to join the continuing conversation.

Your ideas and perspectives continue to be important to the work of the Provost's Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team. Over the next few weeks, this team of 30 senior faculty will carefully review all that we have learned from the forums, the submitted Grand Challenge ideas, and additional consultations. In mid-December, we will provide recommendations to Provost Hanson for a small number of Grand Challenges that exemplify the eight criteria in the Twin Cities Campus Strategic Plan. Provost Hanson has also asked our team to identify strategies to continue to expand interdisciplinary research connections and opportunities across the University.

Thank you for engaging with this campus-wide process that is so important to the future of our University.

Raymond Duvall, Chair
Provost's Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team

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