Arthur Lupia to lead Bold Challenges initiative as executive director

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Arthur Lupia, a political scientist whose federal service spans two U.S. presidential administrations, will become executive director of Bold Challenges, leading collaborative research efforts across the University of Michigan to address societal challenges that intersect equity, health, infrastructure and sustainability.

His two-year appointment begins Sept. 1.

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Bold Challenges, launched in the fall of 2021 by the Office of the Vice President for Research, is a strategic initiative that aligns the university’s research strengths with global challenges and emerging priorities across government, industry and philanthropy.

Arthur Lupia

As executive director, Lupia will lead collaborations with research centers and institutes across U-M to generate large-scale, interdisciplinary solutions to key societal challenges.

“U-M is a global powerhouse, with incredible faculty and departments changing the world through the creativity and dedication of researchers, staff and students,” said Lupia, the Gerald R. Ford Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and professor of political science in LSA, and a research professor in the Institute for Social Research’s Center for Political Studies.

“I am in awe of, and grateful for, our public mission and the vigor with which the community pursues this end. And I am committed to doing all that I can to help the University of Michigan act with urgency and integrity to serve today’s, and tomorrow’s, generations with maximum impact and unrelenting humanity.”

He will work closely with Dawn Tilbury, the associate vice president for research who has overseen Bold Challenges since its launch. Tilbury, who recently was named inaugural chair of the Department of Robotics within the College of Engineering, will continue working with teams already engaged in Bold Challenges through December.

Lupia received a Ph.D. in social science from the California Institute of Technology, and joined U-M in 2001 as a professor of political science and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research. Lupia was the inaugural recipient of the President’s Public Engagement Award for Public Impact in 2017.

The National Science Foundation appointed Lupia in 2018 to lead its Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, where he developed a new strategy to support fundamental research in behavioral, cognitive, social and economic sciences.

He also co-chaired the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Subcommittee on Open Science, where he convened leaders from three dozen government agencies to improve equity and access to government research assets, including publications and research data.

Under Lupia’s leadership, NSF launched its Build and Broaden Program to incentivize research collaborations among historically black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions and research-intensive institutions. The program has helped empower a more diverse population to produce competitive proposals for federal research funding, creating opportunities for more than 1,000 faculty and students across a wide range of institutions.

“For the past three decades, Dr. Lupia has entrenched himself at the intersection of science and policy, collaborating with diverse groups of people along the way to help generate progress on real-world problems,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“This type of approach aligns admirably with the goals and objectives we established for Bold Challenges. I am confident that, under his leadership, we can build on the early success of this initiative, fostering unparalleled collaboration so that we can find solutions to the most serious problems facing our nation.”

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