Science

Overview

The College of Science continues to advance its leadership role in research, teaching, scholarship, and service because it pursues excellence in every aspect of scientific endeavor. This vision impels faculty and students to combine their zeal for innovation with an instinct for solidarity and seize opportunities to collaborate on the world’s most complex problems to yield meaningful results.

Notre Dame’s commitment to become a preeminent research university with a distinctive Catholic character provides a key benchmark for measuring progress, and the College of Science is already contributing powerfully to this purpose. For instance, from 2008 to 2012 the college’s research awards grew from $34 million to $47 million. Every department within the college strives to rank in the Top 10 percent among its peers by 2018.

The college’s vitality is reflected in its inclusionary environment composed of world-class talent and diverse stakeholders as well as in its burgeoning infrastructure promoting synergy across scholarly fields, such as Innovation Park, the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics. New ventures build upon Notre Dame’s foundational strengths in undergraduate education, interdisciplinary approaches, international engagement, virtue-driven service, and continuous improvement.

In addition, the College of Science strategically supports campus-wide priorities, including the study of energy, the environment, global health, nanoscience, and debilitating diseases. These efforts carry forward the proud legacy of contributions to scientific understanding made at Notre Dame throughout its history.

Such an agenda produces holistic leaders who adopt best practices and best principles. Exhibiting compassion that enhances competitiveness, the researchers, teachers, and scholars who find a home in the College of Science pair big ideas with an abiding attention to detail and, in so doing, further the University’s timeless aspiration to be different and to make a difference in the world.

The college’s vision impels faculty and students to combine their zeal for innovation with an instinct for solidarity and seize opportunities to collaborate on the world’s most complex problems to yield meaningful results.

View Strategic Plan News

  • Fighting to Stop Tuberculosis

    Fighting to Stop Tuberculosis

  • Notre Dame astrophysicists produce the first age map of the Milky Way halo

    Notre Dame astrophysicists produce the first age map of the Milky Way halo

News

Goals

Science has identified five overarching goals as part of its strategic planning process, each of which advances two or more of the five University-wide goals:

1. Enhance and expand the basic research enterprise

Fighting to Beat Breast CancerIn the United States, one in every eight women will face breast cancer at some point in her life.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Strategies

  1. Recruit faculty in areas that build upon past investments, target senior hires that complement research strengths, and steward Advancing Our Vision (AOV) resources in mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics, analytical chemistry, nuclear physics, and stem cell biology to build top programs and to enhance departments as a whole
  2. Engage and support research relevant to the University’s mission, broadly defined, addressing both enduring and fundamental problems as well as those that impact pressing global issues
  3. Determine on a periodic basis the salary structures of top quartile-ranked departments and perform equity analyses for the college’s own departments, ensuring that its salaries are competitive with peer institutions
  4. Be cognizant of spousal hiring needs and the value and opportunity they bring to the broader University community
  5. Develop and foster programs that enable tenured and tenure-track faculty to pursue periods of intensive research, proposal development, curriculum development, or other justified professional development through sabbaticals or other mechanisms
  6. Build upon strategic investments in state-of-the-art core facilities and ensure those facilities have a sustainable operational plan

2. Promote and expand interdisciplinary research

Integrated Biomedical Sciences ProgramThe Integrated Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame is a cross-departmental Ph.D. program for research and training in a range of fields in the biomedical sciences.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Ensure interdisciplinary scholarship is recognized appropriately in the tenure and promotion process
  2. Implement appropriate support structures with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) to increase the number and competitiveness of interdisciplinary proposals related to awards with multiple principal investigators
  3. Continue to co-invest with multiple departments, both within the college and in other colleges, in joint and concurrent hires
  4. Develop a space and resource plan, in conjunction with OVPR, to facilitate both short- and long-term interdisciplinary projects
  5. Promote external collaboration, resource-sharing, and investment with other universities, national laboratories, and industry, enabling the college to diversify the funding portfolio beyond federal investment
  6. Sponsor fundraisers and events where the college’s scholarship for the common good overlaps with the goals of internal and external organizations

3. Offer the most distinctive undergraduate science education

The Undergraduate Research ExperienceFor undergraduate students in the College of Science, learning goes far beyond coursework, thanks to a thriving undergraduate research program.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Strategies

  1. Work extensively with Admissions to help in the process of selecting students genuinely interested in science and play a more informative role in the admission process
  2. Collaborate with the First Year of Studies to improve retention of those students with an intent to study science while promoting greater interaction between faculty and first-years
  3. Foster the development and integration of competence, conscience, and compassion in teaching, mentorship, and research
  4. Create a pilot Faculty-Student Mentoring Program centered on informal settings, such as dinners or small group gatherings at houses, and develop peer-advising mechanisms
  5. Pilot innovative course experiences that enable new approaches to teaching and pedagogy and allow students and faculty from various departments and colleges to focus on major problems of our time; such courses—team-taught by faculty with peer instruction, multidisciplinary, technologically supported, Socratic-based, and research-oriented—should draw on existing strengths in teaching, research, and engagement among the faculty
  6. Expand the resources available for undergraduate research and engaged scholarship, advance the growth and fundraising of the research honors programs within departments, and fully support the student-run research journal, Scientia

4. Increase the college’s visibility internally and externally

Fighting to Restore VisionResearch by David Hyde, the Rev. Howard J. Kenna, C.S.C., Memorial Director of Notre Dame’s Center for Zebrafish Research, uses adult stem cells in zebrafish to study how neurons regenerate.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Promote the efforts of the college’s top faculty through national and international award nominations
  2. Implement a strategic communications plan that includes a distinctive set of messages to clarify and project the college’s brand, impact, and accomplishments and convey its mission, vision, and strategic goals
  3. Develop materials articulating the role of a college of science within a Catholic university
  4. Encourage faculty, staff, and students to share the college’s messages during events and off-campus engagements and faculty who present seminars at top universities to do the same by meeting with chairs, deans, and provosts
  5. Utilize seminar budgets to invite chairs and deans from preeminent universities to present not only on research but also their models of excellence, their strategic and academic plans, and top programs at their universities
  6. Enable department chairs to make benchmarking and learning visits to top universities around the country to meet with other university leaders
  7. Increase alumni involvement in efforts to enhance the college’s visibility and reputation, both by featuring alumni and their accomplishments in marketing materials and by leveraging the formal and informal communication resources of alumni as individuals and as employers
  8. Support faculty participation in programs and activities administered by the top international research centers
  9. Showcase Notre Dame Science via conferences and workshops organized on campus
  10. Interact with the wider Catholic community to increase scientific literacy, awareness of science’s impact on global health and society, and understanding of the role that pure basic research plays in the search for the truth

5. Create an outlet where the college’s discoveries, inventions, and innovations benefit society

Edison Innovation Postdoc Program‬‬The Edison Postdoc Program at Notre Dame is bridging gaps in the research and development process.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Expand upon the Innovation Postdoctoral Program, which supports dedicated research effort that brings discoveries to maturity so that they can spin out a nascent startup company
  2. Increase faculty and staff engagement as mentors in professional master’s programs—such as ESTEEM, the master of science in patent law, and the master of science in global health—that translate campus discoveries into commercial or societal good
  3. Develop more connections to small startup companies to provide more undergraduate students with work opportunities across the nation and with alumni
  4. Enhance the undergraduate entrepreneurship experience while integrating more fully with science-business majors and the efforts of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship
  5. Work with the vice president for research, the Office of Technology Transfer, and Innovation Park to develop a sustainable mechanism for the identification of experienced entrepreneurial leaders to mentor faculty and shepherd research discoveries into initial business ventures

Learn more about the College of Science by visiting science.nd.edu.