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KU research grants program supports Bold Aspirations strategic themes

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas’ five-year strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, calls for a commitment to invest resources strategically around four research themes. KU created a Research Investment Council to turn that commitment into funding, and faculty and staff have responded to the opportunity by launching 20 new theme-related research projects.

The council, made up of eight faculty members from the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses, solicits, reviews and recommends action on Strategic Initiative Grant proposals. With four grant review competitions now completed, KU has committed $3.4 million to nine multiyear Level I awards. These involve requests of more than $50,000 but are typically in the $100,000 to $300,000 range. Using a separate process, KU also has committed more than $400,000 to 11 Level II awards, involving requests of less than $50,000. Altogether, nearly 50 researchers are participating in grant-funded projects.

“Bold Aspirations encourages everyone at KU to envision ways to transform our university,” said Jeff Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “KU has recognized research strengths in our strategic initiatives in energy, the environment, human health, public policy, the humanities and information technology. The grants awarded to date enhance existing strengths and stimulate new collaborative teams.”

Vitter noted that the next deadline for Level I proposals is Friday, Nov. 1, while the final deadline for the academic year is March 1. Proposals consist of a detailed narrative description, a budget, letters of support, a sustainability plan and other documentation. More information about the program is available online, where proposals are submitted using a secure online system.

“KU is constantly striving towards our vision of recognition among the top tier of public, international research universities,” said Vitter, “by being strategic, building synergies, living our core values and taking action. The grant program embodies all of these elements.”

All but one of the projects involve researchers in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Those with College researchers are listed in bold below.

Research Investment Council Level I commitments to date:

  • The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training: Phase II Expansion ($250,000 annually for three years)
  • Initiative for the Arts in Collaborative Research ($92,000 annually for three years)
  • Forecasting Emerging Diseases for Communities and Public Health ($150,000 annually for two years)
  • Continuing Discovery of Novel Biomedical Leads from Kansas Plants ($400,000 over three years)
  • Establishing a Multi-Disciplinary Data Science Research Team at the University of Kansas ($282,000 over two years)
  • Chemical Biology Team Science Approach to Cancer Drug Discovery ($400,000 over two years)
  • The Discovery and Development of New Antifungal Agents ($203,763 over two years)
  • Establish a KU Center for Antimicrobial Discovery and Development ($291,687 over three years)
  • Determining the Effects of Rising CO2 and Temperature on Flowering Time: Scientific and Social Implications ($328,867 over three years)

Level II commitments to date are:

  • High-Fidelity Numerical Modeling of Glacier Science ($39,500)
  • Phylogenomics of Vertebrate Adaptive Radiations in Island Archipelagos of the Southwest Pacific ($49,976)
  • A Mobile Collaboratory for Civic Engagement ($29,000)
  • I-70 Interdisciplinary Aging Research Network ($50,000)
  • Kansas Anti-Human Trafficking and Slavery Initiative: KASHTI ($39,809)
  • Investment in the Kansas City Area Education Research ($32,354)
  • Tough Piezoelectric Composite Materials for Spine Implants ($28,500)
  • Resilient Lifestyles for Older Adults: Seeding a Center on Sustainable Longevity ($49,557)
  • Neuroimaging of TBI-associated Alzheimer’s disease in the KU Wounded Warrior Program ($27,285)
  • Anti-Bullying Intervention Development Initiative ($32,029)
  • Community Based Development of Pilot Program to Promote Health among Urban Latino Youth in a School Based Setting ($24,562)

Brief descriptions of each project, and the names of participating KU researchers, can be found online.