Research Investment Council

In the last academic year, the university community came together in an unprecedented way to make connections and create exciting opportunities for multidisciplinary projects at the four strategic initiative theme summits. The momentum continued to build over the summer as faculty submitted proposals to the Research Investment Council (RIC) for funding of multidisciplinary projects. There were two levels of grants available: Level I, for requests greater than $50,000 and Level II, for requests less than $50,000.

The first of three deadlines for Level I proposals was June 15. Ten proposals were submitted and reviewed by the Council over the summer. Based on its recommendations, the following three Level 1 proposals are being funded:

  • The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training: Phase II Expansion – The grant provides a competitive start-up package to support a new faculty line – a joint appointment in the Clinical Child Psychology Program and the Life Span Institute, in collaboration with the Pediatrics Department at the KU Medical Center – that will bring in NIH-level funding to KU as well as national standing in the area of research on the physical aspects of autism.
  • Initiative for the Arts in Collaborative Research – The School of the Arts, the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, and the Biodiversity Institute will partner with the Spencer Museum to develop a broad foundation for future funding of a center dedicated to innovative research that integrates the arts, sciences, technology, and society. The grant supports creative residencies, technology enhancements, and publications.
  • Forecasting Emerging Diseases for Communities and Public Health – The grant helps establish an open-access Virtual Vector Laboratory, integrating and enhancing existing KU research expertise in automated pattern recognition and species identification. The outcome will be a web-based early warning and response system that enables public health workers to identify pathogen-transmitting species quickly and receive information about the potential for the spread of disease.

Level II proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Two such proposals have already been awarded.

  • Tough Piezoelectric Composite Materials for Spine Implants – The grant allows for continued research and increases the chances of success for two anticipated large proposals to NSF and NIH. The project involves development of a spinal fusion implant that will provide electrical stimulation to the fusion site, increasing bone healing. Funding will help establish new relationships with a prototype manufacturer, a biologist, and large-animal test facilities.
  • Resilient Lifestyles for Older Adults: Seeding a Center on Sustainable Longevity – Researchers seek to position KU as a recognized leader in translational research that improves the quality of long life for older adults while sustaining the socio-ecological system. It builds upon current work in the Gerontology Center, the Center for Environmental Policy, the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Congratulations to these collaborative teams! These five proposals have collectively been awarded over $1.1 million across the next three years. The Research Investment Council and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies look forward to the continued engagement and commitment of faculty members to multidisciplinary projects through the year.

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