Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

New vice president of research appointed

Fred Cate began his first year as vice president of research after his appointment was approved Aug. 14. Cate was initially asked to take the position by IU President Michael McRobbie in July after serving as a research center director and IU professor for 25 years.

“He said, ‘take the weekend to think about it,’” Cate said. “I thought about it, and I felt terrified all weekend, but I also started to feel excited about the 
things to do. We have terrific leadership in many parts of the University, and terrific leadership around research on the campuses. To have the chance to come in and take advantage of all of that and try to go to the next level, it was a huge challenge but really exciting.”

Cate joins the research team the same year the Grand Challenges initiative launches.

This is an internally funded program that will provide funding to invest in research the University believes will have the most 
opportunities.

“We’re trying to up our game,” Cate said. “This is a priority of President McRobbie, and it’s part of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, and so my immediate preoccupation is getting this launched.”

While overseeing the Grand Challenge initiative, Cate said, he hopes to achieve other goals as vice president, including diversifying the funding base for research, keeping the research department as efficient as possible and seeing if the current structure of research is the best.

“The University is really concerned about expanding, diversifying that base for research funding, so we’re not overly dependent on one source or one type of source,” Cate said. “Another area is trying to make sure we’re as efficient as possible, that we don’t put unnecessary road blocks in the way of research, that we make it easy for faculty and students to do research and to get the benefits of that research out to the public.”

Serving as the chair of the search committee for the vice provost of research, informatics professor Beth Plale, said she believes the recent appointment of both Cate and the Vice Provost of Research Rick Van Kooten will answer many questions 
faculty have.

“Both appointments will help bring clarity to why we need both (positions),” Plale said. “Cate has taken the job with that as one of his goals, and I think that’s a good thing for someone in 
that position.”

With Cate’s previous experiences as both a law professor and research center director, Van Kooten said he was pleased with the appointment of Cate as vice president.

“I think he has a vision for research across the whole IU system, and he has the experience and background to put that in place,” Van Kooten said. “He knows all the pieces of the system and what it takes to do 
the research.”

Along with his many goals, Cate said he is excited about being a part of 
research that changes lives.

“Research is, like, the way we improve the human condition,” Cate said. “We’re in a really privileged position to try to address that concern, to improve treatment, to find cures, and that will change people’s lives. I still feel like the mission that I’m part of is about not just researching in cold dark labs, but about the whole learning and discovery process. It’s really 
inspiring.”

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe