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Washington Research Foundation grant brings new faculty

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 11:15

With the grand opening of the new $171 million Life Sciences Building just months away, it’s time to fill the building with faculty.

That was the idea behind a $3 million Washington Research Foundation (WRF) grant to hire four biology professors. It’s called a cluster hire and will help maintain the University of Washington’s leading reputation in primary research and life sciences.

“WRF has been assisting UW Biology for more than a decade with recruiting and retaining key faculty.  We wanted to support (Department Chair) Toby Bradshaw’s plan for a cluster hire because we believe it will lead to great collaborations and research with significant impact.  We look forward to getting to know the new investigators and their areas of research,” said WRF CEO Ron Howell.

The Department of Biology has been planning for the hires for about six years, said Bradshaw. It’s important to enhance the region’s research capability in integrative and collaborative biology. The new faculty, recognized as Washington Research Foundation Distinguished Investigators, will help train the next generation of life scientists in what is already the largest STEM undergraduate degree program in Washington.

And the new hiring process will reinvent the way faculty at the UW are recruited by explicitly seeking faculty who will foster connections with other academic departments at the university.

UW’s Biology Department is known for its integrative approach. The new facility will play to that strength, Bradshaw said.

“The best ideas are generated and pursued in collaboration,” he said. “There are key features in this building designed to promote social interactions and vital collaboration.”

“We would like to be the hub for basic life sciences research,” Bradshaw said.

Read the entire article in UW Today.