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The Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions announces its newest grants

The​ initiative is dedicated to fostering university-wide interdisciplinary research that takes on significant global challenges.

The Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions announces its newest grants

June 18, 2018
Catalyst Director Mark Horowitz, left, and funding recipient Jen Dionne, watch presentations at the May research symposium.

Catalyst Director Mark Horowitz, left, and funding recipient Jen Dionne, watch presentations at the May research symposium. | Photo by Saul Bromberger

The Stanford Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions, an initiative dedicated to fostering university-wide interdisciplinary research that takes on significant global challenges, announced today the recipients of its second round of funding.

A team led by Scott Delp, professor of mechanical engineering and of bioengineering, conducting research on “Motivating Mobility and Health on a Global Scale,” will receive $2.4M in grant funding over the next three years.

The project, which brings together faculty from 16 departments across the schools of Engineering, Medicine, and Humanities & Sciences, is focused on finding ways to increase physical activity “to combat cardiovascular disease and obesity, prevent diabetes, and reduce pain.”

Also receiving funding will be a team co-led by Sarah Billington, professor of civil and environmental engineering and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and James Landay, professor of computer science.

The project, “Hybrid Physical + Digital Spaces for Enhanced Sustainability and Well-Being,” includes researchers from the schools of Education, Humanities & Sciences, and Engineering. It focuses on human well-being through exploration of human interactions with living and work environments. The project seeks to advance “both the research and the practice of sustainable, human-centered building design and management.”

In addition, the Catalyst will continue to provide multi-year funding to two recipients from last year’s round of grants, including Jen Dionne, professor of materials science and engineering, and her co-investigators working on “A Microbial Culture Shift: Rapid Screening of Bacterial Bloodstream Infections”; and a project on “Effective, Scalable, and Affordable Strategies for Mental Health” led by Zhenan Bao, professor of chemical engineering and senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy.

A third finalist project from last year, “Harnessing the Data Revolution to Secure the Future of the Oceans,” led by Fiorenza Micheli, professor of biology and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will receive additional funds as well.

Proposals this year came from 33 project teams, comprising 130 faculty from across all of Stanford’s seven schools. A number of these teams were formed in Catalyst faculty workshops held earlier in the year to facilitate cross-department dialogue around early research ideas. Four finalists presented their research proposals at the Catalyst Symposium in May. Videos of these projects and the three funded projects from last year will be available shortly on the Catalyst website.

“The Catalyst has clearly brought together outstanding groups of scholars from throughout the university,” said Mark Horowitz, Catalyst director and professor of electrical engineering and of computer science. “The proposals are precisely the kind of bold ideas the Catalyst was designed to encourage. It was incredibly exciting, and challenging, to select awardees, and we are inspired by these researchers’ innovative approaches to improving our world.”