Greg Fabiano readily admits that his research project using a driving simulator to test teenage drivers who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder never would have received federal funding if it weren’t for a smaller seed grant that helped lay the framework for the study.
The grant came in 2009 via an award administered through the University at Buffalo’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, and it allowed Fabiano and his team to address several important questions raised during their first attempt to secure external funding for the driving simulator project.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say we wouldn’t have received an RO1 grant if it weren’t for that smaller seed funding,” says Fabiano, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology in UB’s Graduate School of Education.
That’s the idea behind the IMPACT — Innovative Micro-Programs Accelerating Collaboration in Themes — program launched two years ago. While the name is new, the program is similar to previous seed funds UB’s research and economic development office has administered over the years.
(A brief synopsis of each project can be found below.)
The awards are intended to encourage collaboration among researchers, while serving as a springboard to external funding. The awards are open to UB researchers in all disciplines. A revolving review panel of faculty members selects the winning projects, which must be one year or less in duration. Each receives up to $35,000.
“The IMPACT program supports cutting edge research throughout the university, not just one particular discipline. We’re focused on projects that are new and innovative,” says Ken Tramposch, senior associate vice president for research at UB.
“It’s a highly competitive program with only 15 to 20 percent of submitted proposals winning awards. Our faculty reviewers always say it’s difficult to choose, but they are always encouraged to learn that their colleagues are planning such a vast array of exciting projects,” Tramposch adds.
Fifty-eight proposals were submitted for the fifth round of IMPACT awards. Ten projects were approved to receive funding from July 2016 to July 2017. Applications for the next round are due in October.