Underwriting Curiosity

Underwriting Curiosity

Extended support for discovery

President Daniels has said that it’s the university’s duty to invest in our researchers’ “ability to just dream” so they can pursue the fabled aha moment from which all progress proceeds.

To that end, Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar, together with 12 deans and directors, announced in February 2018 a $15 million, three-year extension of the Catalyst and Discovery awards—doubling JHU’s commitment to the pair of awards for creativity and collaboration among faculty.

Of the $30 million committed to the programs to date, the awards have dispensed nearly $21 million has been distributed to 550 faculty members, including 137 early-career scholars and 103 cross-divisional teams working on a variety of research projects involving drones that can deliver blood samples over difficult terrain, a spray-on coating to harvest solar energy, a documentary about female orchestra conductors, and simulations of the atmospheres of exoplanets to predict their habitability. Winners have also investigated causes and treatments for depression, stroke, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, and other urgent health issues.

“I am absolutely delighted that these programs have been extended for three more years,” says Denis Wirtz, JHU’s vice provost for research. “As we looked back over the achievements of the recent awardees, we were so impressed by how our faculty and research staff have used the awards to break new boundaries, initiate new partnerships, and launch their careers. It will be exciting to see what our community dreams up next.”

Photo: Catalyst and Discovery awardees Ishan Barman, Jonathan Chrispin, and Muyinatu Bell

Cross-divisional discovery