Latest round of Research Forward supports cross-campus collaborations and diversity


Sixteen projects have been selected for funding under the second round of Research Forward, a program to stimulate innovative and groundbreaking research at UW-Madison that is collaborative, multidisciplinary, and potentially transformative.

The winning projects were chosen from 96 proposals submitted by applicants across campus. They range from establishing a microbial natural product discovery center to exploring the origins of the universe, to examining the negative effects of poverty on adolescent academic achievement and the development of a new type of tumor vaccine that can be used to treat cancer.

The Research Forward initiative is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Higher Education and is supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which provides funding for one or two years, depending on need and scope of the project. . Some of the funded projects have the potential to fundamentally transform a field of study.

Steve Ackerman Photo: Jeff Miller

“Research Forward encourages collaboration among campus PIs, enhances doctoral and postdoctoral training, and strengthens our external grant funding applications,” said Steve Ackerman, Vice Chancellor for Research and Higher Education. “The projects we have selected are truly future-oriented and use innovative approaches and tools such as state-of-the-art machine learning methods, 3D printing techniques and geostationary satellites.”

Amy Wendt, associate vice chancellor for physical science research, notes that second-round project teams were also asked to submit diversity, equity and inclusion plans as part of their research proposals. DEI plans submitted include gender and racial/ethnic diversity in project teams, recruitment of graduate students and community-based research participants from underrepresented and underserved groups, and support of diverse research backgrounds and interdisciplinary teams.

Amy Wendt Photo: Bryce Richter

“A lot of project teams are diverse in their academic and demographic backgrounds,” Wendt says. “Some team members have a proven track record of prioritizing and promoting DEI, including through service work in their departments and academic fields. The fact that scientists and trainees with diverse backgrounds and life experiences work together brings different perspectives to the table when we tackle complex scientific problems. When we remove barriers to increased participation by members of underrepresented groups, we build public confidence in our research.

Subject matter experts reviewed each proposal to identify those that held the most promise for achieving the goals of the Research Forward initiative. Based on the reviews, divisional faculty subcommittees then made recommendations to the OVCRGE.

Research projects and principal investigators:

See more details on the Round 2 projects.

Discover previous projects.

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