The Cornell Faculty is a remarkable group of people.
During the past year they have continued to express their innovative dreams in proposals that address an astonishing variety of fields in the natural and social sciences. We, at Cornell, have invented hybrid studies that cross the traditional boundaries of several sciences. At the same time, we have advanced knowledge in specific disciplines with marked achievements. It is too dangerous for me to attempt a summary of all that has been achieved or all that is planned. Inevitably, something would be left off the list. Nevertheless, I offer one example, here. Cornell scientists will lead three very conspicuous space missions—two to Mars and one to study comets. The CONTOUR mission to study the center of a comet is scheduled for July 2002 (http://www.contour2002.org). What these missions have in common is risk—the risk that years of planning could be lost in accidents related to launch.
We have made significant achievements in Cornell's strategic scientific areas: advanced materials and nanoscience, genomics, and information science. For visitors to campus, the most visible realization is the construction of Duffield Hall. Duffield will house major facilities for nanofabrication, including those for the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility (CNF) and the Nanobiotechnology Center (NBTC). In a related achievement, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Cornell an additional center in nanotechnology, the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS).
In response to vigorous faculty interest in Cornell's Genomics Initiative, Cornell will initiate a several-hundred-million-dollar fundraising effort for genomics and modern life science research. In addition, more than $100 million has been committed for a new life science technologies building. Recruiting faculty for the Genomics Initiative, an ongoing project, has been successful with half a dozen new faculty recruited to Cornell during the past year.
Information science at Cornell has been a highly active area. The new group, Faculty of Computing and Information Science, has made significant appointments in recruiting faculty to Cornell. The thrust in bioinformatics, involving modern biology and information science, has been especially successful. To emphasize this new thrust, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has changed the name of the Department of Biometrics to the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology. Our expanded Bioinformatics group is very prominent in national discussions of how to apply copious genomic data to understanding biological function. The Cornell Theory Center continues to thrive with innovative linking of new parallel processing technology. One of the principal digital publishing libraries, physics, was transferred to Cornell during the past year.
A particularly important area of emphasis is technology transfer and economic development. Many Cornell scientists and engineers perform research that has broad applications in society. For several decades the Cornell Research Foundation (CRF) has assisted Cornell faculty in bringing promising ideas to market. Each year CRF invests in intellectual property that has the greatest potential for success through the expensive process of patenting. In order to encourage local and national development of Cornell's intellectual property for use, we have expanded our efforts in marketing inventions. Paul Carey has joined Cornell as the Director of the Office of Economic Development. Carey will coordinate discussions between Cornell inventors and potential investors and developers, both regional and national, in order to form companies that will create products based on Cornell's research.
Our research is always a work in progress. Each year is more progressive than the preceding year. And sometimes, at Cornell, there are advances that move the leading edge further out, creating a new benchmark.
Robert C. Richardson
Vice Provost for Research
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© 2002 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research [OVPR], Cornell University.
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