Spring 2017: Seed Grant Applications Being Accepted! Deadline for submissions is Monday, March 27, 2017.
Since the spring of 2006, the Center for Insect Science has awarded Interdisciplinary Research Small Grants that focus on combining insect science with other diverse disciplines, such as engineering, optical sciences, neuroscience, and chemistry to name just four collaborating areas. This small grants program accords with the Arizona Research Laboratories' specific mission of incubating novel multidisciplinary research. Competitions for these seed grants occur at most twice per year. Many valuable collaborations among researchers in diverse departments have taken root and over time there is ample evidence showing that without this support, novel and imaginative research would not have been catalyzed. Recipients of the first seed grant competition in 2006 had this to say: "We had never collaborated previous to the CIS seed grant, and it is inconceivable to us that we would be fruitfully pursuing common (and funded) interests had we not received it. Thank you for having provided us this opportunity." Members of this team were CIS faculty collaborating with faculty and postdoctoral researchers in the Departments of Chemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Neuroscience. Their research, seeded by CIS, resulted in generous funding from the National Science Foundation.
The purpose of the Interdisciplinary Research Small Grants competition is to promote interdisciplinary research, in which insect science and another discipline or other disciplines interact in unconventional ways. The research teams comprise CIS faculty that invite alliances with faculty from other departments and their postdoctoral researchers. A committee drafted from CIS faculty reviews each application with an eye to funding projects that have a good chance of leading to a proposal submitted to a Federal or other granting agency.
Support by the Center for Insect Science of interdisciplinary research has led to unusual and exciting proposals and collaborations. They include projects such as: "Convergent evolution of the antennal lobe in herbivorous insect brains," "Harnessing RNAi for control of mosquito-born diseases," "Aedes egypti longevity at the edge of its geographical range," "Imaging insect brain activity with a novel low-cost nonlinear optical microscope," "Developing pollen-bearing robotic flowers to explore pollen foraging," "Design concepts for a high-speed stereocamera based on biologically relevant systems in arthropods," "Dendrochemistry evidence of insect defoliation of trees," and many others.
These unconventional collaborations have brought together scientists that would otherwise not have interacted. They have resulted in a number of proposals that have achieve precisely the aims for which this small grant program was designed. Since 2006, proposals submitted to Federal and other agencies, arising from CIS Small Grant funding, have brought in well over $8,000,000 amongst various research teams. This translates to a yield of $32 for every $1 awarded by the small grants program. The small grants program is, by any definition, an excellent investment with respect to its intellectual accomplishments and financial rewards.