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Proposals may lead to wider national funding for unique research

The Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR) at Stony Brook University has awarded seed grants for 21 projects encompassing research from a wide range of disciplines such as biomedical engineering, pharmacology, computer science, microbiology, astronomy and linguistics. This funding cycle from Fall 2023 totals $1 million to faculty leading these projects and is only the second time the OVPR has awarded $1 million in a single funding cycle. The first time occurred in Summer 2022.

All cycles of the OVPR Seed Grant Program, including special initiative cycles, are managed by staff in the Office of Proposal Development in OVPR. Since 2018, the OVPR has invested approximately $6.4 million in promising research by Stony Brook faculty.

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Miguel Garcia-Diaz, interim vice president for Research, talks with OVPR seed grant recipient Marine Frouin in her Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory. Credit: John Griffin, Stony Brook

The OVPR Seed Grant Program gives Stony Brook University faculty a competitive edge in securing external research funds by offering support for preliminary work that will lead to larger and more impactful research projects. A team of faculty reviewers assess project proposals from faculty to determine a proposals’ likelihood of success in acquiring extramural funding. Typical proposals include projects as proof of concept, feasibility studies or the development of interdisciplinary collaborative research.

“Research is at the core of Stony Brook University’s identity, and the seed grant program represents an investment in our University’s future,” said Miguel Garcia-Diaz, interim vice president for Research. “It is a key engine to fuel the progress of our research enterprise and has historically resulted in a return of upwards of seven dollars in external awards for each dollar invested by the University.”

These seed grants provide faculty with the resources they need to transform their ideas into groundbreaking research. Selected by their peers, the awardees must demonstrate exceptional talent, dedication and excellence in their fields. For this cycle, 21 of 66 proposals were selected for funding, resulting in the second highest acceptance rate for proposals for a single cycle (32 percent).

The diverse recipients for this seed funding cycle include a chemist developing a new molecular catalyst platform to lessen the environmental impact of both commodity and specialty chemicals, a psychologist exploring how government policies are impacting the health of individuals in the sexual and gender minority, and a paleontology team assessing early dinosaurs and their kin at a Late Triassic Site in Northern New Mexico.

“The OVPR seed grant will represent a crucial milestone in my career, making a substantial contribution to the advancement of luminescence dating methods for application across various disciplines such as geoscience, archeology, paleoanthropology, and evolutionary biology, where chronological accuracy is paramount,” said Marine Frouin, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, and one of the new recipients.

She reflects other recipients’ thoughts by adding that the “internal seed program not only provides a competitive advantage but also cultivates an environment conducive to innovative scientific research.”

Applications were received from Stony Brook colleges, including, but not limited to, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Renaissance School of Medicine, the School of Communication and Journalism, the School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Health Professions. Projects were selected for funding with an award start date of January 12, 2024.

See a list of all 21 funded proposals, the projects and faculty involved.

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