The Texas A&M College of Science has big plans for its participation in a university-wide collaborative research initiative in 2018 with goals to provide up to $600,000 in support for teams participating in the Strategic Transformative Research program.
The program, which began earlier this year and offered $504,882 in funding to 11 research concepts, has already selected seven proposals to receive seed funding totaling $344,155 in fiscal year 2018. It is jointly funded by the College of Science and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Other colleges — including the Colleges of Medicine, Engineering and Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences — participate through a cost-sharing partnership.
James D. Batteas — who serves as director of the Strategic Transformative Research program, associate dean for research and a professor of chemistry — said in a statement the program will be accepting a second round of 2018 proposals in March.
“We view fundamental science as central to so many areas,” Batteas said in a statement. “The STRP provides a critical bridge toward building interdisciplinary research teams at Texas A&M University by supporting the innovative concepts of our faculty, both in the College of Science and across the university, and providing a pathway to foster translational research.”
Batteas added that he has been particularly pleased with the response the program has drawn from junior faculty. He said the cohort’s engagement has been helpful in the “process of building interdisciplinary research efforts.”
Funding awards for the 18 individual projects supported thus far have ranged from $25,000 to $50,000.
Batteas said the goal of the program is to provide an “influx of funds at the critical development phase of a project to help our researchers greatly enhance their competitiveness for higher level funding” as the faculty members test and develop new ideas for potential future expansion.
As part of the program’s requirements, projects that receive support must develop and submit new grant applications to an appropriate agency — such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Department of Energy — within the 12-month timeframe of the award.
According to university officials, each of the 11 teams from the 2017 round of funding have complied with this stipulation.
The seven projects already selected for the first round of 2018 funding are researching topics including how circadian rhythms play a role in certain infections and disorders, the mapping of Milky Way halo structures, biomolecule synthesis and more.
Previous projects funded in 2017 focused on subjects including data-driven simulations of large power systems, anti-cancer drug vehicle efficiency, applications of novel directional neutron monitors, the relationship between galaxies and their central black holes and more.