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​Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 in Boston, about the White House's cancer "moonshot" initiative — a push to throw everything at finding a cure within five years. (Photo: Elise Amendola, AP)

After leaving office Jan. 20, Vice President Joe Biden will build on his four-decade legacy of public service by collaborating with two universities close to his heart, along with trying to eradicate cancer worldwide.

Biden will partner with the University of Delaware on domestic and economic policy matters and the University of Pennsylvania on foreign policy objectives, a Biden aide, who requested anonymity, said late Wednesday.

"The vice president has said that his heart is with his alma mater, the University of Delaware, and he is excited to partner with his alma mater to advance policy objectives that he's worked on throughout his career in the Senate and the White House," the aide wrote in an email. "He is also looking forward to working with the University of Pennsylvania to advance its global engagement efforts.

More details will be released after Biden leaves the White House, the aide said.

After months of speculation and "no comments," Biden let it slip Tuesday that he plans to launch a trust to help find a cure for cancer and base his foreign policy efforts out of the University of Pennsylvania.

Biden's "hot mic" comments were caught on C-SPAN after the ceremony to swear in the new Senate. The vice president discussed continuing his "cancer moonshot" initiative through "the Biden Trust," which would be an independent entity to encourage cooperation within the medical community. Biden's son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015.

“It’s not so much about raising money or philanthropy, though there will be some of that, but it’s more about keeping these guys cooperating and changing the culture," Biden told a guest at the ceremony Tuesday. He mentioned that he will be "based out of Penn for foreign policy," but did not elaborate.

Last summer, Biden said he was in preliminary discussions with UD about collaborating on a facility, possibly a vice presidential library. The longtime Delaware senator, a 1965 UD graduate, plans to maintain his primary residence in Greenville after he leaves the White House. Both he and his wife, Jill, have delivered commencement addresses at UD.

​Vice President Joe Biden gives remarks at the University of Delaware's inauguration of its 28th president, Dennis Assanis. (Photo: Jennifer Corbett, The News Journal)

Last month, Biden spoke at the swearing-in ceremony for UD President Dennis Assanis. He discussed how an interdisciplinary approach could bring solutions to persistent national issues, such as the opioid epidemic among working-class white men ages 40 to 55.

At the time, Assanis hinted that UD might name its School of Public Policy and Administration after Biden.

Spokespeople for UD and Penn declined comment Wednesday, as did several faculty members at both universities.

Ted Kaufman, former U.S. senator from Delaware and Biden's former chief of staff, also declined comment.

Other former vice presidents, such as Richard Nixon and Walter Mondale, have been outspoken on public policy issues while jockeying to become president. But Biden has the opportunity to be a "significant influence" in advancing a bipartisan agenda after he leaves office, according to Joel Goldstein, a Saint Louis University law professor and a leading authority on the United States vice president.

"If you're not running for president, people can't dismiss what you say on the grounds that you're motivated for personal partisan gain," Goldstein said. He added that Biden has maintained relatively high popularity among voters and "hasn't cashed in on the private sector," as have other high-profile public officials.

Biden, 74, has stated that he has no "intention" of running for public office again. Goldstein said the vice president has proved adept at juggling multiple priorities during his time as a senator and vice president. That level of discipline is expected to continue, as Biden will likely remain active in the Democratic Party and could write a book.

It's unclear what domestic and foreign policy issues will top Biden's agenda once he leaves office. In previous interviews, Biden has pledged to continue advocating for women's rights, criminal justice reform and quality education on the home front.

On the international stage, Biden could align with Penn's new Perry World House, a $17.8 million global policy research center that opened last fall. The nonpartisan center "aims to advance interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on the world's most urgent global affairs challenges," according to its website.

The 18,000-square-foot, limestone-clad building sits in the center of Penn's campus at 38th Street and Locust Walk, drawing on expertise across Penn's 12 schools and serving as a hub for international exchange and intellectual activity. Perry's inaugural director is William Burke-White, an expert in international law and global governance who trained at both Harvard and Cambridge universities. Burke-White also served in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011 as a policy planning staffer for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The center's kickoff global forum featured several distinguished public servants, including former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a harsh critic of Biden's foreign policy record.

Philadelphia is also home to the Foreign Policy Research Institute, an international policy think tank focused on security challenges. Institute president Alan Luxenberg said Biden has not approached him to discuss collaborations.

Biden will bring special expertise and visibility to Penn, said Goldstein, calling it a "real coup" for the university. Biden's son, Beau, and granddaughter, Naomi, both graduated from Penn. The vice president chose Penn's Abramson Cancer Center to unveil his moonshot initiative last year.

The university partnerships will provide Biden with the necessary infrastructure and resources while giving him an outlet to teach if he so chooses, Goldstein said. A former Widener University Law School adjunct professor, Biden has encouraged young people to take an active role in the political process.

Penn "will provide him with a platform to stay active and engaged in the critical global issues that he has been committed to for over four decades," said H. Andrew Schwartz, a spokesman for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Biden discussed the future of U.S. foreign policy at a recent Council on Foreign Relations event held in September. During the talk, Biden noted that the Obama administration pivoted sharply from its predecessor's strategy in the Middle East, realizing "that the use of force with large standing armies in place was extremely costly" and "would work until the moment we left."

As a senator, Biden voted to authorize the military operation in Iraq to go after weapons of mass destruction that never materialized.

At the CFR event, Biden referenced opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, noting that dislocated American workers need to see investment in domestic priorities, from rebuilding crumbling infrastructure to improving education.

The former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee added that no foreign policy "can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people."

The cancer moonshot is about more than just cancer, he noted. It's about convincing the American people of this country's infinite possibilities.

"It's never, never, never, never, never been a good bet to bet against the American people," Biden concluded, "ordinary people who can do extraordinary things."

Article by Margie Fishman and originally posted on Delaware Online.

Contact Margie Fishman at (302) 324-2882, on Twitter @MargieTrende or mfishman@delawareonline.com.

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