From March to May, the competition was fierce on the Idea Lab—Johns Hopkins' new crowdsourcing website—as members of the university community cast more than 4,400 votes for what they saw as the most inspired of 34 proposals. Now, four winners can celebrate knowing their ideas will receive funding.
Modeled after the Applied Physics Laboratory's Ignition Grants, the Idea Lab was launched earlier this year with two initiatives: the Ten by Twenty Challenge, to fund projects with the theme of One University, and the existing Diversity Innovation Grants.
A total of 557 people voted for the top proposal in the Ten by Twenty Challenge, which offered up to $20,000. With the funding, graduate students from Biomedical Engineering will invite members of different Johns Hopkins departments to form a team, identify a medical need, propose a solution, and promote that solution with an online campaign. An online voting process will determine which ideas receive funding.
The Hopkins Graduate Student Consulting Club proposed the second Ten by Twenty Challenge winner. That group will create a lecture program for graduate students and postdocs to learn practical business skills.
As for the Diversity Innovation Grant, the top vote recipient is a project to jump-start conversations around gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. A second grant will support the creation of a "human library," which will identify individuals with diverse life experiences to be available to tell their stories in person when requested.
In the coming months, additional projects from the lab will be chosen to receive funding. University leaders are discussing new challenges for the coming academic year. The Idea Lab is online at idealab.jhu.edu.
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