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K-State Today

July 24, 2023

2023 GRIP awards announced

Submitted by Jarrett Whitson

The Office of the Vice President for Research announces the university's inaugural Game-changing Research Initiation Program, or GRIP, awards.

This announcement follows a nine-month process to solicit, develop and review proposals from transdisciplinary teams of investigators from across the university and its campuses. GRIP stands apart from other major research initiatives because it is driven by funding from many areas of the university — the offices of the president, provost, vice president for research, KSU Foundation and academic deans.

K-State's GRIP seeks to support innovative, groundbreaking, transdisciplinary research by forming interdisciplinary teams of K-State faculty across departments, colleges and campuses to address complex challenges that require a transdisciplinary approach to finding solutions. Teams are expected to commit to developing competitive center-level grant proposals and/or contribute directly to statewide economic development. More information on the program can be found on the GRIP website.

"The goals of GRIP are two-fold," said David Rosowsky, vice president for research. "First, to enable teams of investigators that self-assemble from across the university to work together toward a major and sustained research effort in a timely, relevant and important area for our state. And second, to begin building a culture that recognizes, supports and celebrates transdisciplinary activity at K-State. We couldn't be more excited with the outcomes from this first GRIP solicitation."

A total of 36 teams submitted pre-proposals, 10 of which were invited to submit full proposals, and three of those 10 full proposal submissions have been selected for funding. Each team will receive $300,000 per year for three years, plus an additional $50,000 in on-ramp funds prior to the official start of the first year, for a total of $950,000 per project.

• Suprem Das, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; and Bala Natarajan, electrical and computer engineering: "Science and Technology Center for Greenhouse Gas Smart-Sensing and Mitigation for Kansas Climate and Agriculture (GHG SmartSense STC)."

• Pascal Hitzler, computer science; and Romulo Lollato, agronomy: "Towards a Global Food Systems Data Hub: Seeding the Center for Sustainable Wheat Production."

• Eleni Pliakoni, horticulture and natural resources and K-State Olathe: "Development of Resilient Urban Food Systems That Ensure Food Security in the Face of Climate Change."

The three awarded projects include faculty members from five colleges as well as K-State Olathe.

"These are outstanding topics led by collaborative teams who will set the stage and a high bar for transdisciplinary research at K-State," President Richard Linton said. "GRIP will help distinguish K-State as a leader in supporting and enabling transdisciplinary research that serves the needs of our state, our nation and the world."

The seven other finalist teams are receiving GRIP seed grant funding that will enable them to keep their teams together, advance their ideas and prepare for future solicitations from federal agencies.

"We recognize their research is promising, and we are excited to help these teams continue their work together and pursue major funding," Rosowsky said. 

Altogether, the 10 teams receiving GRIP funding this year include K-State faculty from seven colleges — the College of Agriculture, the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine — and two campuses, including Manhattan and Olathe.