With support from Johns Hopkins University's new Discovery Awards, scholars will bridge medicine and engineering to create artificial lymph nodes, pair music and pharmacology to better understand treatments for depression and anxiety, and combine archaeology and materials science to understand artifacts from the ancient past.
Twenty-three teams received word on Thursday that they were among the first chosen for the program, which will help them use the power of partnerships to fuel important discoveries and solve global challenges. All the teams are composed of members from at least two Johns Hopkins divisions. Three of the funded projects involve collaborators from the Applied Physics Laboratory, including a creative effort to use drones to carry laboratory samples in areas of the world with poor infrastructure.
The Discovery Awards program was launched earlier this year by JHU President Ronald J. Daniels, Provost Robert C. Lieberman, and the deans and directors of the academic divisions. It is part of a $15 million commitment to cross-university, faculty-led research over three years.
"The number of applicants and the breadth of their ideas was thrilling to see," Daniels says. "It speaks to our community's desire to transcend barriers to collaboration and find bracing approaches to research questions. It is vital that we support these ambitious, cross-divisional teams, particularly as other funding remains difficult to secure."
Teams could 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 were intended to spark new interactions among investigators across the university rather than support established projects.
Three teams were chosen for the larger project planning awards, including the broadest collaboration: an effort between the schools of Public Health, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences, and SAIS to model the effects of climate change on the global food system.
The full list of recipients and their projects is on the Office of the Provost website.
Faculty members from across the university were called upon to select the winners from 217 proposals for the awards, which are open to all 10 divisions as well as Jhpiego, the Sheridan Libraries, and CTY.
"We believe high-quality, high-impact ideas arise when people are encouraged to bring their diverse experiences and viewpoints to the table," Lieberman says. "This award program attracted many powerful examples of that, and we are excited to give these innovative scholars the support they need to move forward."