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Northwestern University

The 2018 “W” Awards

The College's innovative grant program inspires faculty to take their research in new directions

By Daniel P. Smith

Eighteen Weinberg College faculty members representing 10 different academic departments and 15 distinct research projects have received 2018 Weinberg College Research and Innovation Grants.

Dubbed the “W Awards,” the annual College honors provide seed funding to help faculty members explore intriguing areas of scholarship and collaborations beyond their existing research tracks.

“The W Awards allow our faculty to pursue fascinating new lines of investigation, many of which reflect the College’s strategic research goals,” associate dean for research and graduate studies Kelly Mayo says.

To date, 41 faculty members tackling 33 different research projects in the sciences, humanities and social sciences have received a W Award since the internal grant program’s launch in 2016.

Bearing fruit

From a study of Native American homelessness in the early 20th century to global economic governance, from youth asthma rates to insights on ethnic violence, W Award-winning projects have spurred compelling lines of research, fostered new collaborations and positioned faculty to land external funding.

Earlier this year, for instance, 2016 W Award recipient Kelly Wisecup, an associate professor in the Department of English, earned a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her study of Chicago’s indigenous stories.

Meanwhile, 2017 W Award winners Matthew Goldrick, a professor in the Department of Linguistics, and Vijay Mittal, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, recently submitted a proposal to the National Institutes of Health for their project exploring links between speech, motor-control difficulties and susceptibility to psychotic disorders.

“As we look at the outcomes from the first faculty groups to receive the W Awards, it’s clear that impactful studies are being performed and that this work is stimulating applications for continued external research funding,” Mayo says.

The latest honorees

College leaders now hope the current batch of W Award honorees follow that trend. The 2018 award winners include:

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