Innovative ideas wanted: COVID-19 Response Grant established

Contact: Paula M. Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University full-time faculty, staff and administrators who have innovative ideas to help address the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are invited to apply for a new grant program offered through the Office of Research and Innovation.

Funded by the Meader Presidential Endowment, the COVID-19 Response Grant program, designed to support small-scale research projects and creative scholarship, is open to WMU faculty at the rank of the assistant, associate or full professor, as well as to administrators and those staff who meet  the University's requirements to serve in the role of principal investigator.

"The ingenuity, innovation and caring of WMU faculty and staff have already been on full display in response to this pandemic," says Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy, vice president for research and innovation. "We're pleased to be able to fund projects that will further leverage WMU's unique resources and talented minds as part of the effort to curtail and respond to this pandemic," Goss Kinzy says, adding that many of WMU's contributions to date—including the creation of face shields using 3D printing—have aided the surrounding health care community.

Applicants can request up to $10,000 for a 12-month project. No extensions will be allowed. Allowable expenses are limited to salary support for staff, postdocs, students and other trainees at WMU as well as required materials. Funds will be distributed until exhausted through May 4, 2020.

The goal of the grant program is to stimulate small-scale research projects and creative scholarship that can potentially address risks to students, communities and the public stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.   

"We also hope to spark new research areas relating to issues created directly or indirectly from this novel virus. These grants will take WMU contributions to this national issue to the next level and work to ensure they continue into the foreseeable future," Goss Kinzy says.

The focus of this internal funding opportunity is to jump-start big ideas. Organizers behind the effort say that the recent increase in federal funding to address the coronavirus and its effects may be appropriate to advance ideas initially developed at WMU. Funding will be available through many agencies, including the National Institutes of Health,  National Science Foundation, the  National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In reviewing and awarding funding under WMU's COVID-19 Response Grants, reviewers will give highest priority to proposals that can be started immediately and remotely. Applications with participants from more than one unit are strongly encouraged.

Key points

Funding is available immediately, and proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis each week by a committee from inside the Office of Research and Innovation,  which includes ORI 2020 Faculty Fellows Amy Naugle and Lofty Durham.
Funds will be distributed until exhausted through May 4, 2020.

Proposal requirements:
•    Description of how the project will benefit the community, students and society
•    500-word description of the proposed project activities/methodology
•    Project budget

Applications can be submitted at

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