Over the past three years, the JHU Idea Lab helped 33 teams of students, staff, and faculty secure funding to turn their plans into real-world projects: a program that helps Baltimore ex-offenders acquire vital forms of ID; an installation highlighting the accomplishments of women associated with Johns Hopkins; an effort to help students recycle dorm room essentials.
All told, 173 creative ideas have been pitched via the online crowdsourcing platform that launched in the spring of 2015.
On Feb. 12, the Idea Lab will begin accepting submissions for a new round of funding. All three challenges share a theme: Ideas Bridging Divides.
President Ronald J. Daniels chose the theme for this year's Ten by Twenty challenge, which was created in support of the priorities of the Ten by Twenty vision for the university.
"In the United States and around the world, the rise in division, distrust, and alienation is palpable," Daniels said. "With this year's challenge, we are seeking ways that our university community can model the practice of open, rigorous, and thoughtful dialogue that forms the core of our academic enterprise and, indeed, healthy democracies."
As in previous years, Ten by Twenty challenge winners—some chosen by online vote, others chosen by a committee—will receive up to $20,000 to implement their proposals.
In addition, the Idea Lab will accept proposals for the Diversity Leadership Council's annual Diversity Innovation Grants and the Office of Sustainability's Hopkins Eco-Smart Acorn Grants.
The DLC has been awarding grants since 2012 to foster diversity and inclusion at the university and in the health system. This year, the council seeks programming that fosters inclusivity when people exchange ideas.
"Our work has always sought to cultivate a shared understanding among people from all of the diverse backgrounds represented here at Hopkins," said Ashley Llorens, chair of the Diversity Leadership Council. "We're excited to help leverage this Idea Lab cycle to support President Daniels' plan to look creatively at how we can best engage with each other, regardless of our points of view."
This will be the third year for the Eco-Smart Acorn Grants and, in keeping with the theme, the Office of Sustainability will be looking for ideas that improve the often-polarizing conversation around climate change.
"Global environmental issues affect all people, so being able to bridge divides and share information and ideas is critical," says Jason Mathias, strategic initiatives coordinator for the Office of Sustainability.
Students, faculty, and staff can sign into the Idea Lab website with their JHED IDs to submit their ideas between Feb. 12 and March 12. Online voting will take place from March 27 through April 16 and is open to all members of the Johns Hopkins community.
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