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$500K grant the result of collaboration of VUIT & research community

Dave Mathews
Dave Mathews, director of VUIT
Network Services, served as one of
three principal investigators on the
grant application project.

Throughout 2015, principal investigators from VUIT Network Services and the Department of Physics and Astronomy worked together to apply for a grant given by the National Science Foundation under its Campus Cyberinfrastructure—Data, Networking, and Innovation Program. During the first week of August 2015, Vanderbilt University received news that it had been awarded a grant of $500,000. The funded project will increase the bandwidth of Vanderbilt’s research network connection from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps and will take place during 2016.

The grant application itself represents a significant accomplishment: It is the outcome of close collaboration between Vanderbilt researchers and Vanderbilt IT. Two of the three principal investigators on the project are Drs. Paul Sheldon and Charlie Maguire of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the third is Dave Mathews, director of VUIT Network Services. The terms of the grant require that grant-seekers have the endorsement of institutional IT; however, in this case, VUIT is not only an endorser but a full partner and principal investigator. This level of collaboration is the result of developing a close relationship between IT and the Vanderbilt research community over the course of years.

“If it wasn’t for that collaboration, I don’t think this would have ever happened,” Mathews said. “The relationship created between IT and Research over the past few years has really paid off.”

Furthermore, Vanderbilt was a viable candidate for the grant because of its status as a Tier 2 site for experiments conducted on the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN—of which there are only six other Tier 2 sites in the U.S. Vanderbilt became a Tier 2 site because of its commitment to implementing the existing 10 Gbps research network; thereby, upgrading to the 100 Gbps research network is essential to maintaining this designation.

The increased bandwidth will support a broad range of Vanderbilt research projects. In the grant proposal and supporting documents, 20 projects in both the university and medical center were cited as immediate beneficiaries in the realms of basic science, clinical research, informatics, social science, education, engineering, digital learning, and the Jean and Alexander Heard Library.