Signature Academic Initiatives


Signature Academic Initiatives are faculty-driven projects that build on Brown's distinctive strengths and collaborative ethos to catalyze and integrate scholarly and pedagogic energies to address issues of great importance to the campus, the community, the nation, and the world.

Scholarship, both through involving our students and in service of society, is at the core of Brown’s mission:

The mission of Brown University is to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation. We do this through a partnership of students and teachers in a unified community known as a university-college.

To pursue our mission and enhance the reputation and importance of the University, the campus plans to make large, multi-year investments in a small number of major academic initiatives with the goal of developing “signatures” of our institution—broad areas of scholarship for which Brown is widely known and respected. These initiatives can involve any combination of faculty in the arts and humanities, the social, natural, and physical sciences, mathematics, or engineering. 

The proposed signature academic initiatives may build on existing or newly proposed partnerships with organizations outside of Brown (e.g., RISD, MBL, Trinity, our hospital partners, or other local or international institutions).

Brown University is now calling for proposals outlining potential initiatives.  Details on how to engage in this process, as well as submitted proposals, can be accessed through the links provided.

Lead Facilitators:

  • Clyde Briant, Vice President for Research
  • Susan E. Alcock, Deputy Vice President for Research and Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Initiatives

To contact the lead facilitators, send email to