Catalyst Awards

Johns Hopkins awards $75K grants to support work of 34 early-career scholars

Catalyst Awards are part of recent $15M university investment in faculty-led research

Thirty-four early-career faculty members from across Johns Hopkins University—a diverse group that includes experts in anthropology, cosmology, cardiology, and other fields—have been selected to receive 2016 Catalyst Awards.

The honor is accompanied by a $75,000 grant for their research and creative endeavors. The cohort will also participate in mentoring sessions and opportunities organized to connect these colleagues at a similar stage in their careers.

"Funding can be a significant challenge for faculty in the early years. The Catalyst Awards are a show of support for their intellect and creativity and an investment in the ideas and discoveries they will bring to light."
Ronald J. Daniels, JHU president

The 2016 awardees represent some of the most innovative thinkers from across the university. Nearly two-thirds are assistant professors, they come from six of JHU's nine academic divisions, and they represent a variety of scholarly interests.

This year's Catalyst Award recipients include researchers who are seeking to understand pancreatic cancer; obesity; neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease; and the neural mechanisms underlying attention in humans. One awardee is pursuing research on international financial liberalization. Another is exploring the cultural and psychological underpinnings of technical design by examining two centuries of Japanese fascination with humanoid robots.

More than 80 senior faculty members from across the university served on the committee to select the award recipients from more than 100 submissions.

"We are excited to provide these scholars and scientists essential financial support at a crucial moment in their promising careers," Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said. "Funding can be a significant challenge for faculty in the early years. The Catalyst Awards are a show of support for their intellect and creativity and an investment in the ideas and discoveries they will bring to light."

Daniels announced the Catalyst Awards program, which will last for three years, in early 2015 along with Provost Robert C. Lieberman and the deans and directors of the academic divisions. Together with the Discovery Awards program to support collaboration across divisions, it is part of a $15 million university commitment to faculty-led research.

The program is open to any full-time faculty member who was first appointed within the last three to 10 years.

The inaugural Catalyst Awards were granted in July 2015 to 37 early-career faculty members. Those recipients were celebrated alongside the winners of the Johns Hopkins Discovery Awards at a reception in the Peabody Library in September.

"Over the last year, the inaugural Catalyst cohort accomplished incredible feats in their research, built new collaborative partnerships, and engaged with their fellow awardees and the Bloomberg Distinguished Professors in mentoring sessions," said Denis Wirtz, vice provost for research. "We are greatly looking forward to welcoming this second cohort and celebrating their professional growth and accomplishments—of which I'm sure there will be many—with them throughout the coming year."

The full list of recipients and their projects can be found on the Office of the Provost website.

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