A Major Investment for Research and Discovery in the Physical Sciences

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Last November, the University announced a new investment of $750 million in science, engineering, and medicine at Penn that includes major commitments in support of key priorities at the School of Arts & Sciences.

This investment will launch a reimagining of the David Rittenhouse Laboratory (DRL) complex and construction of a new multi-use Physical Sciences Building for the School. The Physical Sciences Building will be located strategically between DRL and the Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2024. The new Physical Sciences Building will provide research space for both Arts & Sciences and Engineering faculty and will expand opportunities for undergraduate research. Occupancy of the Physical Sciences Building would be strategically staged to allow the renovation and modernization of DRL, the renewal of which is critical to successful faculty recruitment and retention.

Funding of an Energy and Sustainability initiative, to be led by the School, will enhance academic excellence in three critical areas of energy research: diversifying energy sources and storage; improving energy efficiency and sustainability; and monitoring, sequestering, and transforming climate-changing pollutants. The new investment will provide resources to recruit 10 faculty and provide associated infrastructure to enable their research programs, placing Penn at the vanguard of the transformation of our energy ecosystem.

The investment also includes support for a new Innovation in Data Engineering and Science (IDEAS) Initiative, to be led through Engineering but which will significantly leverage research activities by Arts & Science faculty and will provide new opportunities to advance the School’s Data Driven Discovery (DDD) strategic priority.

Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, says, “This investment represents a sweeping commitment to the future of science at the School, and Penn, at all levels: from undergraduate education, to the basic science needed to lay the groundwork for major advances, to applications that will have the potential to solve major problems in society. I am thrilled that this investment recognizes our existing excellence and supports continued growth, leadership, and innovation.”