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26 interdisciplinary research teams receive Johns Hopkins Discovery Awards

Winning project teams—chosen from 188 proposals—include 86 individuals representing nine JHU schools, affiliates

Investigating the use of advanced hydrogels in post-stroke rehabilitation.

Filming the first documentary about women conductors.

Determining whether metadata from mobile phones can be used to monitor demographic trends—such as births and deaths—in low- and middle-income countries.

"Faced with a challenging landscape for federal funding, it is critical we support these cross-divisional teams and the impact of their creativity and discovery on our world."
Ron Daniels
JHU president

These are among 26 multidisciplinary endeavors that have been selected to receive support this year from Johns Hopkins University's Discovery Awards program. Each project team is made up of members from at least two JHU schools or affiliates who aim to solve a complex problem and expand the horizons of knowledge.

Altogether, the winning project teams—chosen from 188 proposals—include 86 individuals representing nine schools and affiliates.

"This year's proposals are a testament to the remarkable work of Johns Hopkins researchers across so many fields," said Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University. "Faced with a challenging landscape for federal funding, it is critical we support these cross-divisional teams and the impact of their creativity and discovery on our world."

The Discovery Awards program was announced in early 2015, as was the Catalyst Awards program for early-career researchers. Together the two programs represent a $15 million university commitment to faculty-led research by university leadership along with the deans and directors of JHU's divisions.

Teams can apply for up to $100,000 to explore a new area of collaborative work, or request up to $150,000 in project planning funds if they are preparing for an externally funded large-scale grant or cooperative agreement. The awards are intended to spark new interactions among investigators across the university rather than to support established projects.

Senior faculty members from across the university were called upon to review the proposals, which were due at the end of March. Twenty-three of the teams selected fall within the $100,000 category, while three were chosen for the larger project planning awards.

One of the largest collaborations, led by Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Steven Salzberg, brings together six experts for an effort to prove that DNA sequencing technology can be used to rapidly diagnose infections in the human body, starting with studies on the brain and the eye.

"These awards inspire our researchers to find colleagues across the university ready to work together to pioneer new ideas," said Denis Wirtz, vice provost for research. "Once again, it is exciting to see these team members clearly reaching beyond their original field of expertise to propose novel research and creative projects. We look forward to seeing what they achieve together in the coming year."

The full list of recipients and their projects is available on the Office of Research website.

The recipients of the Catalyst Awards will be announced on July 5.

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