Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 11, 2022

Discovery, Catalyst awards launched

By EMILY HERMAN | January 29, 2015

To counteract decreases in the value of the University’s federal research funding, University President Ronald J. Daniels and several other administrators have launched the Discovery and Catalyst Awards to help jump-start innovative and creative research endeavors.

Over the next three years, the University will invest $15 million toward these programs.

“We expect that the awards will assist faculty who reflect the full breadth of knowledge, discovery and creativity across the University,” an email from Daniels and other officials to the community announcing the awards stated.

Teams of faculty from different University divisions can apply for one-year grants worth up to $100,000, while cross-divisional teams preparing to apply for larger external grants can apply for one-year grants worth up to $150,000.

The Catalyst Awards will grant between $25,000 to $75,000 to faculty early in their careers who have outstanding or unusually creative research ambitions. This award will help early-career researchers, who often struggle with funding.

“These pressures can be even more difficult for our early-career faculty members who are searching for resources not only to start projects, but also to launch their careers,” the email states.

The University’s Rising To The Challenge Campaign, which, according to the president’s email, has raised nearly $4.5 billion, has provided significant funds for these awards and other faculty research endeavors. This push for philanthropic funding arose as the real value of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decreased by 20 percent since 2003 and funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities has decreased by 25 percent since 2005.

“This issue has particular salience given our status as America’s first research university and as the largest university recipient of federal grant support,” the email states.

According to the email, the University has also focused on external partnerships, including ones with the State of Maryland and the Military and Veterans Health Institute.

The University also funds the President’s Frontier Award, a $250,000 prize given annually to an outstanding faculty member in an effort to support his or her promising research aims. The inaugural President’s Frontier Award was awarded Wednesday to Sharon Gerecht, an associate professor in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, who researches stem cells fates.

Additionally, the University sponsors the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Awards program, which provides $2,500 fellowships for academic credit to undergraduate students from all classes and disciplines.

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