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5th Round of CUSE Grants Awards $510,000 to 31 Projects
The Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE grants) program is dedicated to growing the Universitywide research enterprise, enhancing interdisciplinary collaborations and increasing both extramural funding and high-quality faculty scholarly output as well as boosting the University’s national and global research reputation.
A total of $510,000 was awarded to this year’s selections. The 31 projects funded this year include the following:
- Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grants: 16 projects; awards are capped at $30,000 per grant.
- Good to Great Grants: Four projects; grants are capped at $30,000 per grant.
- Interdisciplinary Seminar Grants: Four projects; grants are capped at $10,000 each.
- Seed Grants: 17 projects; grants are capped at $5,000 each.
The full list of recipients can be found on the Office of Research website.
Grants Jumpstart External Funding
“CUSE grants fund faculty to conduct early inquiry to establish further value and credibility for more comprehensive studies that can be funded by external resources,” says Gretchen Ritter, vice chancellor, provost and chief academic officer. “CUSE Grants support the important initial proving-ground and inquiry phase, allowing researchers to test early thinking with the goal of expanding their research.”
That objective of the awards is aptly illustrated by a pair of research faculty whose CUSE grant work helped them earn subsequent National Science Foundation (NSF) project funding. Dessa Bergen-Cico, professor in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Asif Salekin, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and subsequent success in securing four more years of research activity supported by a $736,000 grant from the NSF. Salekin, as principal investigator of the subsequent NSF grant, and Bergen-Cico are conducting extensive examination on recovery from opioid use disorder through the development of wearable physiological sensing technologies. These NSF-funded technologies will help identify predictors of craving and relapse risk while teaching participants to use mindfulness-based practices to manage cravings and reduce stress and relapse responses.
Ramesh Raina, interim vice president for research, says, “Importantly, faculty from all degree-granting schools and colleges in the University are represented in the funded projects this year as either principal investigators or co-principal investigators. It is also significant that almost half of the awarded principal investigators are assistant professors, reflecting the program’s goal of supporting the research agendas of junior faculty members.”
CUSE grants fund research and scholarly projects in a variety of disciplines and span applied sciences, social sciences, physical and life sciences, engineering, liberal arts, humanities, professional schools and creative arts. A new priority research area was added in 2022 recognizing the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility for projects that support, catalyze or promote research and scholarship on those issues and having societal impact.
One of those projects awarded was the inter-school and interdisciplinary grant proposal, “Toward Social Justice Informatics: Transdisciplinary Approaches, Research Frameworks and Critical Pedagogies for Emerging Information Professionals in a Datafied World.” Its principal investigator is Jasmina Tacheva, assistant professor in the School of Information Studies. Co-principal investigators are Elizabeth Carter, assistant professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Studies, whose discipline is civil and environmental engineering; and iSchool assistant professors LaVerne Gray and Beth Patin, whose fields are library information science.
The CUSE grant application and merit review process emulate practices of leading external sponsors. Each year, Syracuse University faculty serve as volunteer peer reviewers of submitted applications. This year, the program benefited from 44 peer reviewers vetting awards across 11 University units and 43 departments, centers and institutes.
Participation in the peer review process can be as rewarding as applying to the intramural grant program, according to Raina. He cites feedback from one volunteer reviewer who indicated how the experience provided “a great way to gain an introduction to colleagues in different units across campus and the innovative and inspiring work they are doing.”
For more information on the program, the application process or to express interest in serving as a future peer reviewer, visit the CUSE Grant Program webpage.