Big congratulations to two Biology faculty members who won 2017 UW Innovation Awards! For more than 150 years, the University of Washington has been a place where the imagination thrives. New discoveries are made every day in laboratories across campus, where faculty, staff and students work together to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems. Many of the challenges confronting people today in areas such as climate, disease and health care require fundamental discovery-based research that is novel in its approach and has the ability to break open new territory in a field. The University of Washington Innovation Awards will fuel innovative research that addresses problems of humanity.
The Innovation Awards will encourage, nurture, bring together, and celebrate creative thinkers in the area. A second purpose of the Innovation Awards is to increase public awareness of academic innovation in hopes of stimulating philanthropic support for additional innovation awards.
Assc. Professor Jeff Riffell and his lab received an award for their proposal to use CRISPR/Cas9 to reveal the genetic basis of host preference in mosquitoes, using techniques in fields such as neuroscience, engineering, and chemistry (video below). Asst. Professor Bingni Brunton and her collaborator David Gire won an Innovation Award for their proposed project to implement real-time closed-loop control of mouse foraging behavior, leveraging new technology from the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Bing’s appointments in the eScience Institute and the UW Institute for Neuroengineering (UWIN) have facilitated this new collaborative effort.
Innovation Research Awards seeded through existing gift funds from the President’s office are to support unusually creative early and mid-career faculty in health, natural, social and engineering sciences. Innovative discovery-based individual research or smaller scale collaborative research projects will be supported rather than extensions of large-scale ongoing research programs. The goal is to foster high-payoff work that promises to be transformational but for which other funding sources are limited.