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Northeastern to invest $50M to recruit ‘game changers’

The "Game Changers Fund" is a university-wide initiative seeking to attract faculty who are high-impact leaders in their fields, including current and future Nobel laureates and visionary scholars who are redefining academic disciplines. Above, a look at Northeastern's new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Northeastern University is launching a $50 million initiative to recruit leading scientists and scholars at the frontiers of discovery and innovation. The “Game Changers Fund” aims to increase the impact of the university’s educational and research enterprise by expanding its faculty ranks at the cross-section of disciplines.

The university-wide initiative seeks to attract faculty who are high-impact leaders in their fields, including current and future Nobel laureates and visionary scholars who are redefining academic disciplines. The Game Changers Fund will target both individual faculty stars and interdisciplinary teams that will advance the goals of Northeastern 2025, the university’s new academic plan.

“Discoveries that change the world are brought about by those willing to break through barriers and change the rules of the game,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern. “After a decade of expanding our research impact, we are poised to go even further and attract visionaries at the vanguard of human knowledge. This investment will fuel the bold promise of our new academic plan—a strategy that has been shaped by our entire community.”

The $50 million initiative will take place over the next three years and supplement existing recruitment efforts. Since 2006, Northeastern has hired more than 600 tenured and tenure-track faculty, typically bringing more than 50 new faculty members to campus each year.

“After a decade of expanding our research impact, we are poised to go even further and attract visionaries at the vanguard of human knowledge. This investment will fuel the bold promise of our new academic plan—a strategy that has been shaped by our entire community.”

Joseph E. Aoun President of Northeastern

During this same period, Northeastern has dramatically increased external research awards from $40.8 million to $140.7 million—an 189 percent increase. Last year, Northeastern earned the highest classification in research, “R1” status, by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. And last month, the university concluded its historic Empower campaign, which raised $1.4 billion for students, faculty, and research.

“This strategic investment in exceptional faculty will deepen interdisciplinary research around our priorities, spur innovation throughout our campus, and catalyze our work to address society’s grand challenges,” said James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

New faculty recruited by the Game Changers Fund will take their place alongside Northeastern researchers whose contributions to discovery have transformed multiple fields. Professors Kim Lewis and Slava Epstein discovered teixobactin, the first antibiotic identified in more than three decades. Professors Albert-László Barabási and Alessandro Vespignani—who are among the dynamic, interdisciplinary team at the Network Science Institute—have defined the field of network science to map complex systems and predict their behaviors.

For more information, email Provost Bean at provost@northeastern.edu.