Federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health are funding research that involves experts from multiple disciplines to solve complex problems. “Growing Convergence Research” is among “Ten Big Ideas” highlighted in a recent NSF report. In 2019, the agency plans to invest $30 million in each one: “The grand challenges of today—protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scales—will not be solved by one discipline alone. They require convergence: the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery.”
Back in September 2018, the College of Engineering offered seed funding to promote new collaborations between researchers focused on developing aggressively forward-looking, transdisciplinary research projects.
A team of individuals who are committed to working together to develop at least one full proposal submission within 18 months with at least one member in the College of Engineering were the only requirements. Otherwise, team members could be at Michigan Tech, across the nation or across the world.
The College of Engineering awarded ten Stage 1 seed grants in October. In November, the college received 15 Stage 2 proposals which were reviewed by a group of six faculty members representing interdisciplinary research across campus. Judging criteria included the funding track record of the PI/team, likelihood of funding and potential amount, interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity of the project and newness of the interdisciplinary team.
With the Stage 2 seed grants, the total awarded is over $200,000 this year. Stage 2 recipients are:
- Advances in Zinc Based Stent Research
Team led by Jarek Drelich (MSE) and Jeremy Goldman (BME)
- Artificial Intelligence-Driven Computed Functional Brain Angiography
Team led by Jingfeng Jiang (BME) and Zhuo Feng (ECE)
- Mobility and Autonomous Vehicles in Unstructured Environments
Team led by Greg Odegard (ME-EM) and Jeff Naber (ME-EM)
- Say NO to viruses!
Team led by Megan Frost (KIP/BME), Caryn Heldt (CHE) and Ebenezer Tumban (BioSci)
- Transdisciplinary Approach to Sustainable Remediation Technologies for PFAS-Contaminated Water and Soil
Team led by Andre R. Da Costa (CHE), Pradeep Agrawal (CHE), Michael Mullins (CHE), Tony Rogers (CHE), Judith Perlinger (CEE), Rupali Datta (BioSci), Stephen Techtmann (BioSci) and Richelle Winkler (SS)