Georgia Tech Awards Another Round of Research Seed Grants

On a crowded, vibrant planet with limited resources, the challenges facing society are increasingly complex. Whether it’s climate change, health disparities, or food security, the effective solutions will be multi-dimensional. Innovation this big requires teams of experts.

Recognizing that, Georgia Tech’s Office of the Executive Vice President for Research has awarded a third round of seed grants, advancing the development and growth of cross-disciplinary research teams. Thirteen projects involving researchers from all over campus are sharing $700,000 to help jumpstart their projects. The seed grants support teams at two stages of development: the “Forming Teams and Establishing Collaborative Expertise” program supports new collaborations and the “Moving Teams Forward” program advances existing collaborations.

“These programs continue to resonate with the faculty and enable the creation of cross-campus teams, bringing together something we really need – a diverse array of researchers to tackle complex new problems,” said Rob Butera, vice president for Research Development and Operations, and professor in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. “We are looking for teams that are not just seeking to fund a research project, but will establish a trajectory for the future of research at Georgia Tech.”

The future looks diverse. The selected proposals for this round of seed grants involve all of the colleges on campus, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and a number of research centers (including the centers for Inclusive Design and Innovation, Advanced Communications Policy, and Interactive Media Technology).

The program, which operates on a biannual cycle, was launched in 2021 when it awarded a first round of 17 seed grants valued at $1 million. The next round of funding, announced in February, went to 14 teams that were awarded about $900.000. An upcoming round will be announced in Fall 2022. As is reflected by the two-stage support, the aim is on establishing an effective and sustainable team research culture, not the kind of thing that happens overnight.

“Consider the combination of technical and social science expertise that might be needed, for example, to address climate change or health disparities,” said Rebecca Terns, director of Research Development at Georgia Tech. “Tackling grand challenges can require teams of scientists from many fields working and communicating effectively with one another.  It takes more than assembling a group of qualified individuals.  The seed grant program is designed to give teams time and resources to work together and develop the experience to be effective.”

“A track record of productive work in team research not only prepares our faculty to be competitive for external funding opportunities,” Terns said. “It also positions them to be successful in addressing large and complex societal challenges.”

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