Dean for Research Funding to Oversee Innovative Ideas Projects

Princeton University is selecting a range of new research projects from a variety of disciplines to receive funding via the Dean for Research Innovation Funds. This funding program is encouraging ideas and collaborations that move past the current boundaries of the conventional, and may be having trouble finding grants because of their out-of-boundaries ideas. This year, awards will be allocated to new initiatives in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. They will also springboard collaborations with industry and promote sustainability research on campus. Innovative companies like Trueform work with individuals to promote innovation as well, offering a program to help promote and sell products and/or services.

Support for Innovation

According to Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, Princeton displays support for innovative proposals with potential to make a difference with these grants. These opportunities impact the quality of Princeton’s faculty and research available to them.

Grant winning proposals are selected based on potential for impact, quality and originality through an anonymous review by knowledgeable Princeton peers.

Grant Winners

A grant was awarded to Nieng Yan, Professor of Molecular Biology, and Nan Yao, senior research scholar at Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials and director of the Imaging and Analysis Center, to lead new development in cryo-electron microscopy, observing the flow of charged atoms in the cell membrane. This work will advance methods of restoring electrical responsiveness of these atoms. This work will offer insights that will help in treatments for chronic pain, seizures and heart arrhythmias.

Grant winner Alexander Todorov, Professor of psychology, will use the money to apply artificial intelligence and big data to improve the quality of computer-generated human faces to study how people perceive trustworthiness and competence in others. This study will help the understanding of discrimination and fairness in society.

A grant was awarded to Andrea Graham, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Bridgett vonHoldt, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, to explore how elephant seals are resistant to many viruses and bacteria, but highly susceptible to a specific parasitic worm. Their immune system helped them survive extinction in the 1900s. This study will help researchers understand immunity and resistance to disease.

Wendy Laura Belcher, associate professor of comparative literature and African-American studies, and co-researcher Michael Kleiner, will use their awarded grant to translate a medieval work of Ethiopian literature, Kəbrä Nägäśt (The Glory of the Kings), into English. This work tells the story of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Other grant award winners are listed here.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.