WILMINGTON, Del. — The University of Delaware is launching a new Biden Institute, a research and policy center focused on developing solutions to wide-ranging domestic policy issues, the university announced Tuesday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will serve as founding chair of the institute, which will delve into many of Biden’s passions, including economic reform, environmental sustainability, civil rights, women’s rights, criminal justice and more.

“Every day of my career in public service has been motivated by the desire to ensure that every American is treated with dignity and gets a fair shot,” Biden said in a statement. “I am proud to continue that work at my alma mater, a place that is stamped on my heart.”

The institute will be part of UD’s School of Public Policy and Administration, and will be located, for now, on campus at 44 Kent Way in Newark. With top-ranked programs in city management, non-profit management and public administration, the school offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. More than 300 public, private and non-profit institutions draw on its research expertise, according to the university.

The new effort will be supported by adding about 15 faculty members to the current 24 positions and boosting enrollment at the public policy school. The school plans to expand offerings in the areas of smart cities, environment and energy, social justice and disaster management.

UD President Dennis Assanis said the institute will capitalize on Biden’s vast experience as a public servant. In January, former President Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction — the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Biden’s “insight and experience will lend invaluable enhancement to programming, education and research initiatives as the University of Delaware helps shape the future leaders of our society,” Assanis said in a statement.

Biden remained connected to his alma mater throughout his 36-year…