Tufts Institute for Innovation Seeks Research Proposals

Research teams have until Jan. 5 to submit projects for second round of funding

With its official launch this semester, the Tufts Institute for Innovation (TII) began funding interdisciplinary teams of researchers as they seek real-world solutions to mitigate waterborne illnesses, infectious diseases and other intractable public health problems.

Now TII is seeking proposals for a second round of projects. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2015, and decisions will be made by March 31. Like the four TII-funded investigations underway, the next crop of projects also should address the institute’s inaugural research theme, “Microbes: Improving the Environment and the Human Condition,” and TII is encouraging research teams to submit project proposals within one of the four related focus areas:

-- Food and Nutrition

-- Water and the Environment

-- Infectious Disease

-- Social Science/Policy

TII is especially encouraging proposals that encompass social science and policy perspectives.

“We expect to fund three to five projects in this second round,” says Lauren Linton, deputy director of TII. Anticipated first-year budgets for the selected research teams will range from $50,000 to $100,000, she said.

Details about the submission process and the application form are available at http://provost.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/TII-RFP_Round-II.pdf.

The projects should have both social value and outcome potential, seek to solve a specific problem and include a plan to implement the solution.

“With our expertise in human and animal models of disease, international business and policy, engineering, the environment, the humanities and humanitarian issues and geopolitical contexts and challenges, Tufts is uniquely positioned to produce discoveries that improve the human condition,” says Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco.

The four research teams funded initially are working to develop a surveillance system for detecting waterborne infectious disease; vaccines to stop the spread of Lyme disease and another infection, Clostridium difficile, which kills nearly 30,000 people in the United States alone each year; and a test to diagnose tuberculosis within minutes.

A major aim of TII is to bring together multidisciplinary teams of researchers from across Tufts to approach problems in new ways: collaboratively, across disciplines, with an implementation focus. Research teams selected for funding in the spring will begin work on May 1.

Jacqueline Mitchell can be reached at jacqueline.mitchell@tufts.edu.

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