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A popular seed funding program designed to make it easier for UO faculty members to launch multidisciplinary projects is back with a new emphasis on helping researchers and scholars connect with one another.
The 2019 Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives, or I 3, award program will kick off with a Feb. 4 information and “speed networking” session.
“We are excited to connect with our academic community and help foster new partnerships between our faculty,” said Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni, director of strategic research initiatives in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. “This event will be an opportunity for new faculty to meet peers outside of their department and allow them to share their research activities and brainstorm ideas for collaboration with other participants.”
Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, the I 3 initiative awards up to $50,000 to promising UO research teams. The 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. The award has been a catalyst for collaborative efforts tackling new research areas.
The Feb. 4 info networking session takes place from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Erb Memorial Union Gumwood Room. The session will kick off with a talk from Petcosky-Kulkarni about the I 3 award program, detailing program goals, application requirements and processes.
It will offer an overview of past awards that will be followed by a Q&A session and a networking activity in which faculty members will have eight to 10 minutes to talk with other scholars and investigators about their research and explore potential avenues for collaboration. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Feb. 1.
Past I 3 recipients have included faculty members from biology, computer science, chemistry, physics, geography and other disciplines, and teams have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Keck Foundation, the Templeton Foundation and the National Security Agency.
The program empowers interdisciplinary teams and helps them to navigate the challenges they face, including leaving their familiar research territory, learning to communicate in new ways with colleagues in other fields and developing novel approaches.
Past I 3 recipients have successfully leveraged their awards to secure the foundations for long-term progress and new areas of research. Many were able to attract new scholars to the UO, file intellectual property and create new curriculum, demonstrating the broad impact of the award. In addition to fostering intrauniversity collaborations, past research teams developed partnerships with outside institutions, including international nongovernmental organizations and local companies.
Past I 3 awardees include the following:
- In 2016, Michael Wehr, a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Neuroscience, led a research team to behavioral model for speech processing in mice. The team developed both the hardware and software for a new modernized behavioral system and secured a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant and a $138,000 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to continue research.
- In 2015, a research team composed of Michael Raymer, a professor in the Department of Physics, and Andy Marcus, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, leveraged an I 3 award to win a $3.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to work with an international team to explore the role of coherence in electronic transport processes that occur in the biomolecular machines responsible for energy transduction in living organisms.
- In 2014 a UO team successfully parlayed its I 3 award into a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to study the effects of climate change and better inform the response to the mountain pine beetle epidemic in Western mountain states.
“I 3 awardees have demonstrated great success developing projects and securing a funding path for future development,” Petcosky-Kulkarni said. “They are an asset to our academic community and are a testament to the potential of I 3 collaborative partnerships to further creative pursuits and research here at the UO.”
I 3 proposals are evaluated by a faculty committee and final funding decisions are made by the vice president for research and innovation. The I 3 Award is administered by Research Development Services, which offers services for faculty members seeking support for research, performance, public service and scholarly projects.