Research & Innovation

Two New Grant Initiatives Ignite, Support Faculty Research

Two newly created research award initiatives will seed-fund and spark leading-edge, interdisciplinary Stevens faculty research for more than 20 faculty members over the course of the 2014-15 academic year.

The inaugural Ignition Grant Initiative (IGI) awards, of $20,000 each, will enable 19 faculty to better develop and acquire the resources necessary to support projects in areas identified by the Stevens Strategic Plan, including healthcare and medicine, sustainable energy, financial systems, defense and security and STEM education. Successfully funded proposals include projects to price energy markets; image burn victims' wounds; assess cyberthreats; detect financial fraud; create infection-resistant biomaterials; and enable quantum computing advances.

The IGI hopes to spark faculty members and teams to create new ideas and robust proposals targeting relevant funding opportunities of $1 million or more.

"Faculty might choose to use ignition grant resources to author more fully developed research proposals, to take advantage of pre-award services or to obtain informal peer review of working proposal drafts from colleagues," explains Mo Dehghani, Stevens Vice Provost of Research. "We believe that any of these steps, alone or in combination, increases an investigator’s chances of success in an increasingly competitive environment."

A second grant series created by Stevens Provost and University Vice President George Korfiatis, the Digital Learning Ignition Grant Program (DLIGP), will create and support a research community around the area of personalized digital learning (PDL) — a major new thrust area of research at Stevens. New tools and technologies might enable students to pursue lectures, readings or multimedia materials according to their individual learning styles, for instance; other potential applications might enable remote control of laboratory facilities and experiments at a distance.

Three DLIGP awards of $60,000 have been awarded to Stevens faculty for academic year 2014-15. They will support pilot projects to replace textbooks with a new data-driven engine forwarding rich mixtures of content individualized for students and to improve undergraduate calculus instruction through use of a new 'intelligent digital tutor' that automatically assesses students' homework and problem-solving in order to recommend tailored instruction.

"Our ultimate goal is the development of at least one collaborative, multi-disciplinary, multi-million dollar proposal for submission to a nationally recognized funding organization by next spring," noted Provost Korfiatis. "And we have every confidence that, given the tremendous quantity and quality of research being performed by Stevens faculty, we will achieve or exceed this goal."