Three engineering faculty proposals earn Discovery Grants

Vanderbilt University’s Office of the Provost has recognized three engineering faculty proposals with Discovery Grants, one of Vanderbilt’s primary means of investing in advancing the discovery of knowledge in its core disciplines and strengthening the university’s scholarly profile. A total of 13 faculty proposals have received funding.

Discovery Grants are designed to support new ideas, cutting-edge research and infrastructure development and serve as a catalyst to significant external funding. The engineering projects funded this year are Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Webster’s needle robots for lung cancer interventions, Assistant Professor of Computer Science’s Maithilee Kunda’s new explorations in visual object recognition, and Professor of Computer Engineering Akos Ledeczi’s sounds of nature research.

“Discovery Grants support faculty pursuing new areas of knowledge and discovery,” Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Susan R. Wente said. “These grants also advance the goals of our Academic Strategic Plan by funding research with the potential to help solve complex problems faced by our global society.”

The Discovery Grants program has awarded more than $16.5 million to Vanderbilt researchers since its launch in 1998. Previous Discovery Grants projects include MagRide, which is developing a magnetic levitation vehicle, and the Coffee and Capabilities program, which focuses on discovering ways to increase direct trade opportunities for impoverished small-scale coffee farmers in Guatemala.

Discovery Grants are open to VU-employed faculty in all schools and colleges. Proposals for the next cycle of Discovery Grants will be accepted beginning this fall, with the 2018 awards announced next spring.

A full list of 2017 Discovery Grant programs is available here.