Now in its 11th year, the 2017 Innovative Seed Grant Program (ISGP)—designed to stimulate new, compelling areas of research and creative work on the University of Colorado Boulder campus—is accepting proposals through Sunday, Feb. 12.

With a focus on interdisciplinary ventures that take investigators in high-risk, high-reward directions, the program has set aside $1 million to fund grants of up to $50,000 each, with $250,000 reserved to support work connected to the campus Grand Challenge: Our Space. Our Future.

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Mark Rentschler’s robotic capsule endoscopes based on his 2016 ISGP

Since 2006, the ISGP has supported a wide range of research initiatives, all representing an investment in the future scholarly and artistic vitality of CU Boulder—including team development proposals for large collaborative research projects. Past ISGP-funded initiatives have seen tangible payoffs in terms of securing future funding and measurable impact.

In 2017, the ISGP program is seeking to prioritize funding for research relevant to the “big data” field, i.e., the generation, analysis, use and application of large and complex datasets, such as those requiring new and/or non-traditional tools for data collection, curation, analysis, transfer, visualization, querying and protection/security.

Additionally, as with last year’s program, faculty who would like to take the campus Grand Challenge in new and exciting directions have a unique opportunity, as a segment of funding has been set aside for projects that branch out and strengthen the ongoing work CU Boulder is doing to contribute to a global impact on Grand Challenge goals.

Catching up with past ISGP winners

Can you imagine a surgery involving no external incisions or pain? Mark Rentschler, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is using his 2016 ISGP to model robotic capsule endoscopes to make these minimally-invasive, state-of-the-art surgeries a reality. “We’ve been able to really leverage our early results from the ISGP to build a larger program, with additional major grants and proposals pending to carry us forward,” says Rentschler.

Abbie Liel, associate professor of structural engineering and structural mechanics, received a 2014 ISGP award to study human-induced earthquakes, such as those affected by wastewater. “The seed grant funding allowed me to secure a $2.6-million interdisciplinary grant on a cutting-edge topic,” says Liel. With a team consisting of civil engineers, geoscientists, sociologists and legal scholars, the diversity of the project leaders has proven powerful; the team recently offered a seminar examining induced seismicity from multidisciplinary perspectives during the fall 2016 semester.

After receiving a total of $850,000 in funding from CU Boulder, the 19 winning projects from the 2014 ISGP have received over $5.5 million in additional funding to date, with more reported as pending, resulting in an average of $6 in additional grant money for every $1 supplied by the ISGP.

Source: Research seed grant program accepting proposals for interdisciplinary research, creative work | CU Boulder Today | University of Colorado Boulder