Penn Announces Five-Year, $750 Million Investment

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The University will spend $750 million over five years to advance its work on novel therapeutics and health-related initiatives, energy and sustainability, and data engineering and science, and to develop infrastructure to support physical science research.

“These game-changing investments allow Penn to move forward rapidly on longstanding priorities in key medical and scientific areas,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann when she announced the plan in November. She pointed to the University’s “skyrocketing innovation ecosystem,” record-breaking Power of Penn campaign [“Gazetteer,” Nov|Dec 2021], and “enormous success” in faculty recruitment and retention as key factors in creating “the perfect opportunity to elevate Penn’s eminence in science, engineering, and medicine in a manner that will resonate through decades.”

Among other things, the money will fund:

• A 400,000-square-foot expansion of research space at the Perelman School of Medicine to further advance work on mRNA biology, vaccine development, immune health, cellular engineering, gene therapy, and other strategic priorities, as well as faculty recruitment with an emphasis on women and other groups underrepresented in science and medicine.

• Creation of the Eidos LGBT+ Health Initiative in the School of Nursing to serve as a social innovation hub facilitating public health science focused on sexual and gender minorities.

• The recruitment of 10 faculty in each of six areas targeted for research in energy and sustainability (diversifying energy sources and storage; energy efficiency and sustainability; and monitoring, sequestering, and transforming climate-changing pollutants) and in data engineering and science (scientific discovery and experimentation; design and engineering of autonomous systems; and methodologies to understand the human brain).

• Targeted faculty recruitment and growth in the physical sciences, focused on Penn’s strengths in the areas of quantum information science and soft and living matter, combined with a “wholesale revisioning” of the David Rittenhouse Laboratory (DRL) complex and construction of a new physical sciences building to be located between DRL and the new Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology.

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