A total of $800,000 in seed funding since 2010 for faculty research through the Chancellor's Discovery Fund has yielded a promising crop: more than $3.4 million in outside research awards.
The discovery fund grants — up to $40,000 over two years — support multidisciplinary collaborations by faculty in their early careers. At least one principal investigator must be within eight years of the first faculty appointment.
The program is designed to foster pilot research that could lead to new extramural awards.
Since the first awards were granted in 2010, the program has supported 20 campus research projects.
"Some agencies actually do use this as positive evidence of the fundability of the principal investigator," said Mitra Dutta, vice chancellor for research.
"I have been on National Science Foundation panels where such internal seed programs, when awarded to a principal investigator, gave them a few extra points which took them over the top."
Several faculty members have expanded their Discovery Fund pilot research with extramural awards - from LAS, Preston Snee, assistant professor of chemistry, was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Petroleum Research Fund for his study on "Colloidal synthesis of zinc phosphide and tantalum oxynitride nanocrystals for Solar Energy Generation."