$300 million gift sparks Kummer Ignition Grants program at Missouri S&T

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On January 12, 2022

Twelve research teams at Missouri University of Science and Technology have received inaugural Kummer Ignition Grants for Research and Innovation to support their efforts to attract grants from funding organizations.

“We recognize that the best ideas can start with a spark that needs a little help and that’s where the Kummer Ignition Grants come in for S&T researchers,” says Dr. Steve Roberts, chief operating officer of the Kummer Institute for Student Success, Research and Economic Development. “This first round of grants will fund S&T faculty efforts to pursue greater support from federal agencies, foundations and corporations on a broad range of research projects.”

The seed funding grant program is only one of many initiatives created by the $300 million gift from June Kummer and her late husband, Fred S. Kummer, a 1955 Missouri S&T graduate. The gift, which was received in October 2020, established the Kummer Institute to support Missouri S&T’s efforts to increase access to STEM education, strengthen the state’s economy, and establish new research and development partnerships.

Totaling $365,000, the first 12 Kummer Ignition Grants for Research and Innovation projects and principal investigators are:

  • “AI and Nanomaterials Enabled Real-Time Dynamic Electro-Chemical Sensing and Analytic System,” led by Dr. Chenglin Wu, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering
  • “An Integrated Framework to Accelerate the Design of Bioactive Glasses for Cardiac Tissue Engineering,” by Dr. Aditya Kumar, associate professor of materials science and engineering
  • “An Integrated Geophysical Investigation of Critical Mineral Resources in the Southeast Missouri Mineral District,” by Dr. Stephen S. Gao, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering
  • “Compound Flooding Risk Assessment and Hazard Resilient Building Design under the Changing Climate to Improve Coastal Resilience,” led by Dr. Grace Yan, associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering
  • “Convergent Research and Entrepreneurship towards an Aerial Transportation Ecosystem (CREATE),” by Dr. Genda Chen, the Robert W. Abbett Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering
  • “Determining Pathways of Biological Aging Using Statistical Modeling of Sleep in the Fruit Fly,” by Dr. Gayla Olbricht, associate professor of mathematics and statistics
  • “Development of Targeted Drug Delivery Systems to Treat Breast Cancer,” led by Dr. Yue-wern Huang, professor of biological sciences
  • “Missouri Water Technology and Resilience (MoWaTeR) Initiative,” led by Dr. David Borrok, Gulf Oil Foundation Professor of geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering
  • “Mitigating Fire Risks of Battery Electric Vehicles in Transportation Infrastructure,” by Dr. Guang Xu, associate professor of mining engineering
  • “Novel Biomaterials to Treat Muscular Dystrophy,” by Dr. Richard K. Brow, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of ceramic engineering and interim deputy provost for academic excellence
  • “Trustworthy Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Framework Development for Hybrid and Sustainable Energy Systems,” project led by Dr. Syed Alam, assistant professor of nuclear engineering and radiation science
  • “Working Group on Infrastructure Resilience and Adaptation,” led by Dr. Jenny Liu, professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering.

“The vision of these grants could ultimately meet stretch goals of targeting large programs, such as the NSF Engineering Research Center, the Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Initiative, and NIH Multi-Year Funded Awards,” says Dr. Kamal Khayat, interim vice chancellor for research and innovation.

The Kummer Missouri S&T Ignition Grant Initiative (IGI) is an annual planning grant created by Khayat’s office to fund new and innovative ideas that will ultimately lead to large research proposals in strategic areas for Missouri S&T. The proposals will integrate multi-disciplinary ideas and ignite teamwork and collaboration to strive toward achieving the visions of the Kummer research centers.

“This is an exciting time for faculty at Missouri S&T,” Roberts says. “In addition to these research grants, we will soon issue a call for proposals to faculty to participate in the Kummer Ignition Grants for Educational Transformation program to support their efforts to develop new pedagogical approaches to learning and instruction.”

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,200 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. S&T also is home to the Kummer Institute, made possible by a $300 million gift from Fred and June Kummer. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.

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