Five interdisciplinary teams have been awarded seed funding to pursue innovative research projects.
The recipients of the 2019 Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives awards, known as I3 awards, were announced by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. The program will award up to $50,000 to the following UO research teams:
- Heidi Kaufman, English, with Faith Barter, English; Leslie Alexander, history; and Thanh Nguyen and Thien Nguyen, computer and information science, for “Rebellions in the African Diaspora Project.”
- Christina Karns, Center on Brain Injury Research and Training, with Kevin Nute, architecture, and Nicole Swann, human physiology, for “Physiological Responses to Natural Indoor Animation.”
- Heidi Huber-Stearns, Institute for a Sustainable Environment, with Hollie Smith, School of Journalism and Communication; Michael Coughlan, Institute for a Sustainable Environment; and Branden Johnson, Decision Research Institute, for “Smoke, Sediment, and Science Communication: Redefining scope and scale of wildfire hazard and risk management.”
- Peter Ralph, mathematics, with Andrew Kern, biology, and Boyana Norris, computer and information science, for “Scaling up Genomic Computation.”
- Lucas Silva, environmental studies, with Heidi Huber-Stearns, Institute for a Sustainable Environment; Krista McGuire, biology; Trudy Ann Cameron, economics; and Henry Luan, geography; for “Interdisciplinary Science for Environmental and Social Security.”
The I3 award program is open to faculty members from all academic disciplines and puts a priority on ideas with high potential to lead to future external funding. Applicants must clearly and convincingly demonstrate that the proposed project represents a new and highly interdisciplinary research direction in an area likely to generate funding.
Proposals were evaluated by a faculty committee, and final funding decisions were made by David Conover, vice president for research and innovation.
Two of this year’s projects, “Interdisciplinary Science for Environmental and Social Security” and “Smoke, Sediment, and Science Communication,” were funded through a recently announced research initiative focused on resilience, environment and climate change. Another project, “Scaling up Genomic Computation,” will be supported by the new Presidential Data Science Initiative Seed Funding Program. Funds that were gifted to the UO support all three of these projects.
Much more seed funding is still available this fall through the resilience and data science initiatives. Both programs have submission deadlines of Oct. 15; the resilience initiative requires a letter of intent be submitted by Sept. 19.
“We had a total of 21 applications for the I3 program this year and it was very challenging to make the final selections,” Conover said. “We congratulate all of this year’s recipients and we look forward to seeing what kinds of grants, training programs and other new initiatives result from this critical, early stage funding.”
In recent years, Conover said, seed funding initiatives have proven to be an effective means of supporting interdisciplinary research projects, encouraging the submission of large grant proposals and inspiring innovative new areas of research and scholarship at the UO. Past recipients of I3 awards have been successful in follow-on external funding from the National Science Foundation, the Keck Foundation, the Templeton Foundation and the National Security Agency.
The success of the I3 program, which launched in 2014 and quickly generated a return of $5.9 million in research funding on an investment of $500,000, has led to other seed funding initiatives.
In addition to the resilience and data sciences initiatives, the UO also co-funds the OHSU-UO Collaborative Seed Grant Program, which builds on the strengths of faculty members at the UO and Oregon Health & Science University, deepens partnerships and significantly increases the number of externally funded UO-OHSU collaborative projects.