The future of KU's Higuchi Biosciences Center

From: Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 9:12 a.m.
To: HBC researchers; deans, directors & department chairs


I am writing with an update on the designated research center ecosystem on KU’s Lawrence campus. After careful consideration and extended consultation with the biomedical research community, I have decided to discontinue the Higuchi Biosciences Center at the end of this fiscal year.

The center has served KU’s biomedical research community for more than three decades, but a recent review revealed that it no longer meets that community’s evolving needs. In response, I convened a task force to radically re-envision an institute for biomedical research at KU — an intellectual nexus that would bring together scientists from across disciplines to build new relationships, generate bold ideas, boost research and training activity, and compete for additional federal funding.

Many thoughtful ideas and suggestions arose from that process. And although it’s apparent to me that there is a role for a unit focused on supporting biomedical research at KU, no clear consensus arose for how to build that unit on a foundation that isn’t constrained by HBC’s current organizational and operational structures.

I hope to revisit this conversation in the months ahead, when elapsed time and new experiences may provide the perspective necessary to create an institute that can truly transform and nurture biomedical research at KU.

In the meantime, the Office of Research will work closely with HBC investigators to shift their awards to other administrative units, providing a clear roadmap and timeline for any actions required between now and June 30. Investigators will receive individual messaging regarding their grants, accounts and personnel. We want to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Staff directly affected by the transition have been notified. I am very grateful to them and to Interim Director John Stobaugh for their service to the center and for their commitment to biomedical research at KU.

We have already shifted most of the research administration functions from HBC to the Office of Research, where an experienced Pre-Award Services team will continue to assist biomedical investigators with preparing, reviewing and submitting proposals to external sponsors, along with other pre-award tasks. Please continue to use the Pre-Award intake email,, when requesting assistance with upcoming proposals in the biomedical sciences.

To be clear, biomedical research is alive and vibrant at KU. We are committed to creating a better framework to support that research in Lawrence so that KU investigators can continue to advance knowledge that helps address human health challenges in Kansas and around the world.

Thank you for your contributions to the KU research mission. Please let us know if you have questions about this change.


Simon Atkinson
Vice Chancellor for Research