When I arrived at Boston University in 2005, the potential of this large research institution was clear. And so was the path to unlocking its full power: connecting and combining in new ways our many disciplines to advance the extraordinary scholarship taking place here on a daily basis.
Over the past 13 years, we have worked deliberately to foster research across a wide variety of fields and, as a result, have established our position of authority on a broad range of topics. With 17 schools and colleges, more than 300 programs of study, and 3,000 full-time faculty members, discoveries and advances happen on our campuses with exciting frequency.
Last year, a group of our scientists and engineers was awarded a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to synthesize personalized heart tissue for clinical use. In a new model of academia-industry partnership, BU and Johnson & Johnson have teamed up to create a campus research center devoted to the eradication of lung cancer. And we began operating a Biosafety Level 4 lab at our National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, where we are already making strides in the early detection of Ebola and other life-threatening infectious diseases.
And while I’ve witnessed plenty of groundbreaking ideas spring from the unlikely exchanges between dynamic minds, we must also do more than talk to each other. We must stay relevant to the concerns of our students, of society, of humanity.
To that end, our Board of Trustees last year approved a $141 million Climate Action Plan that, among other things, aims to reduce BU’s carbon emissions to zero by 2040, ten years ahead of the City of Boston. We also launched a $20 million initiative called Innovate@BU to help our students translate cutting-edge ideas into reality, launch start-ups, and partner with the entrepreneurial sector in Boston and beyond. And our brand-new general education curriculum, the BU Hub, will transform our undergraduates into lifelong learners, able to pivot in an ever-changing world.
All the while, we’ve kept our eye on our core mission. We expanded our commitment to education by establishing the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development through the merger of our School of Education’s research expertise with Wheelock College’s pioneering work in early childhood and K–12 education.
It’s been a busy year to say the least, and these are just a few of the stories you’ll find in our 2018 Annual Report, one devoted to the limitless power of working together. I hope you enjoy it.
Robert A. Brown
President, Boston University