Awards & Honors

Spitzer Faculty Awarded as Part of NSF Project

Join us in congratulating Spitzer’s Ahu Aydogan, who was awarded as faculty fellow on the National Science Foundation‘s Germination project “EAGER GERMINATION: TRANSPIRE – A transdisciplinary pedagogy for postdoctoral development“. She will join Linda Vigdor (PI), Rosemarie Wesson (Co-PI), and Joshua Brumberg (Co-PI) on this project.

The total award amount is $269,500 and Professor Aydogan will help mentor postdocs in conceptualizing their research.


General Information from the NSF Germination Program Page

Program Title:

GERMINATION: Germination of Research Questions for Addressing Critical Societal Challenges

Synopsis of Program:

Engineers and scientists are capable of making enormous impact when they conceive and conduct fundamental research that addresses societal needs. Our world faces many critical challenges engendered in part by the expanding and aging world population, including meeting global needs for food, energy, water, land, and other resources, while respecting and maintaining the balance of our planetary ecosystem. Other notable challenges include addressing climate change; maintaining cybersecurity, privacy, and fairness in our increasingly connected world; and providing, maintaining and protecting infrastructure. All of these represent potentially large and fertile opportunities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research to serve society.

The NSF Directorate for Engineering GERMINATION program aims to foster the development of pedagogical frameworks, platforms and/or environments to enable participants to formulate research questions and ideas with potentially transformative outcomes. The extraordinary response of the STEM research community to the COVID-19 pandemic, exemplified by the record-breaking speed of novel vaccine development, highlights the outstanding capabilities at all levels of the research enterprise. The GERMINATION program seeks to harness the immense capacities of academic researchers to similarly address other critical global challenges through supporting the development of new pedagogical approaches that train researchers to formulate and develop key research questions.

The GERMINATION program invites proposals to design, test, evaluate and implement pedagogical frameworks, platforms and/or environments that enable participants to formulate research questions and ideas that have the potential to address critical societal challenges. In order to catalyze development of novel approaches, while simultaneously expanding the reach of pilot approaches which are already exhibiting promise, two tracks will be supported in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022: GERMINATION Innovation and GERMINATION Expansion. GERMINATION Innovation awards will fund projects to design, test and evaluate previously unexplored pedagogical frameworks, platforms and/or environments that have the explicit goal of enabling the participants to formulate research questions with potentially transformative outcomes. Projects submitted to the Innovation track must use the EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposal type (see PAPPG Chapter II). GERMINATION Expansion awards will fund projects that focus on development, implementation and scaling of evidence-based strategies for achieving GERMINATION goals. Projects supported under the Expansion track should focus on scaling previously piloted approaches with demonstrated efficacy to a regional or national sphere of activity, and will likely involve development of new collaborative relationships to establish networks capable of implementation beyond the pilot institution.

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Grant Awarded:

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