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Five Teams Earn Vandal Ideas Project Grants

April 18, 2016

Proposals for neural modeling for brain research, enhancing education in a digital world, integrating evolution principles into video game design, improving scientific research through statistics, and uniting art and science rose to the top of a diverse field of projects to win the University of Idaho’s inaugural Vandal Ideas Project (VIP) grants.

Five teams of scholars and researchers from across colleges and disciplines have been awarded grants of between $40,000 and $80,000 through VIP, a competitive, university-wide grant program aimed at stimulating new research, creativity and scholarship.

The VIP committee reviewed proposals with an eye for those that seemed most innovative, feasible and likely either to have a lasting impact within the university or to position UI to have an impact on a topic of regional or national relevance. President Chuck Staben made final decisions, based on committee recommendations.

The selected proposals are:

  • Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning (CDIL): Building Capacity Through Collaboration: $80,000. The CDIL will provide space, technology and support to help faculty develop new understandings and techniques for analyzing data, understanding and interpreting the resulting information and knowledge, and distributing these understandings in ways that take advantage of digital connectedness.

    • Principal investigators: Devin Becker, Library; Stacey Camp, Anthropology and Sociology; Patricia Hart, Journalism and Mass Media; Ben Hunter, Library; Rochelle Smith, Library; Adam Sowards, History.

  • Hydrodynamic Simulator for Brain Therapeutic Development: $75,000. This project will create an anatomically realistic 3D model and computer visualization system of the fluid spaces that surround the brain and spinal cord, a region occupied by the cerebrospinal fluid. This model will help researchers and clinicians understand solute transport within the cerebrospinal fluid system and ways to use it for delivery of therapeutics to the central nervous system to treat neurological disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, brain cancer and others. 

    • Principal investigators: Bryn Martin, Biological Engineering; Brian Cleveley, Virtual Technology and Design; Tao Xing, Mechanical Engineering

  • Polymorphic Games – An Interdisciplinary Game Design Studio for Vandals: $65,000. This project will create a studio that brings together teams of students from science, engineering, humanities and education to develop video games based on principals of evolutionary science.

    • Principal investigators: Barrie Robison, Biological Sciences; Terrence Soule, Computer Science; Jodie Nicotra, English; Diane Kelly-Riley, English; Brian Cleveley, Virtual Technology and Design; Cassidy Hall; Doceo Center; George Tanner, Idaho Entrepreneurs; Denise Bennett, Journalism and Mass Media.

  • Theory, Practice and Social Aspects of Reproducible Science: $40,000. This project will use research, education and outreach to promote the practice of reproducible research and to inform research practices by advancing a theory of nonreproducibility.

    • Principal investigators: Berna Devezer, Business; Erkan O. Buzbas, Statistical Science; Bert Baumgaertner, Philosophy;  Annie Gaines, Library.

  • Visualizing Science: $40,000. This project will pair UI artists and visual designers with UI scientists to visualize their scientific research, resulting in a professional exhibition, catalogue, education program and relationships for further art and science collaborations.

    • Principal investigators: Sally Machlis, Art and Design; Roger Rowley, University Galleries.

“We are excited and honored to invest in these projects that leap beyond the traditional boundaries of academia to create new knowledge, advance groundbreaking ideas and provide tangible benefits to our students, state and world,” Staben said. “These projects illustrate the intent of the Vandal Ideas Project and capture the spirit of creativity and innovation the University of Idaho seeks to foster.”

Media Contact:

Tara Roberts
University Communications

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