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BYU kicks off largest internal grant program

Networking event this August will provide collaboration opportunities

  • The 2018 interdisciplinary Research Networking Event will be Aug. 28
  • More than 30 faculty will present at the August gathering
  • IDR Origination Awards will be awarded in March 2019

BYU’s Research Development office, in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President of Research, has recently started the largest internal grant program in the history of the university.
BYU faculty can earn up to $120,000 through the Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) Origination Awards, two-year grants that are meant to help faculty conduct research across disciplines that will lead to additional funding from external sources.

Three teams received the first ever IDR Origination Awards this past March: sociology professor Lance Erickson and a team doing Alzheimer’s research; humanities professor Troy Cox and collaborators doing second language literacy research; and plant and wildlife professor Neil Hansen leading a group doing irrigation system research.

“Sometimes it’s tough getting projects going and keeping them going,” Erickson said. “Once in a while you need some help and the IDR grant does just that.”

BYU Lab Photo

Erickson’s research is entitled “Identifying early-, mid- and later-life experiences that condition the expression of genetic propensities of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.” His collaborators specialize in genetics and psychology, specifically neuroscience.

“Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to extract DNA to continue the study that was started in 1966,” he said.

Erickson said this award is unique because it makes interdisciplinary research possible when it would otherwise be difficult to allocate funds across disciplines. But interdisciplinary research returns unique rewards.

“The level of specialization needed to make this project successful makes it so no one person could accomplish it alone,” Erickson said.

Grant awardees said the funding they received from BYU helped them gain enough traction to be strong candidates for external funding. The three winning project’s primary investigators in last year’s IDR Origination Awards will present at this year’s Research Networking Event, sponsored by BYU Research Development.

The event will feature three-minute research presentations from 30-40 faculty. This speedy networking setup will give faculty the ability to gain knowledge about research in different colleges and disciplines and network for possible collaboration opportunities with colleagues in these disciplines.

Presentations will be organized by topic and a presentation schedule will be provided for those who are unable to participate in the whole event. Presentations from previous networking events and sign-ups for this event are now available.

The networking event will be held as part of the Annual University Conference and is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, from 9:30 a.m. to noon in W111 BNSN.

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