More than 75 ideas submitted for UAB’s Grand Challenge

grand challenge insoideUAB Vice President for Research Chris Brown, Ph.D. (left) and Grand Challenge program manager, mechanical engineering professor and director of Engineering and Innovative Technology Development Lee Moradi, Ph.D.Grand Challenge program manager Lee Moradi, Ph.D., and UAB Vice President for Research Chris Brown, Ph.D., wanted your good ideas, no matter how big or off-the-wall.

UAB delivered.

Seventy-seven two-page concept papers involving hundreds of individuals — faculty, staff, students and community members — and representing dozens of departments, schools and organizations were submitted by May 1 and are posted on the Grand Challenge website.

“These big ideas have the potential to bring together UAB researchers with people from the city, the county, the state and other institutions nationally to see them realized.”

Moradi, mechanical engineering professor and director of Engineering and Innovative Technology Development, said paper topics ranged from hyperlocal to national and global issues. Examples include plans to make Birmingham a more sustainable city and solutions for health disparities and urban food deserts, among others.

In August, concept paper authors will gather for a two-day workshop to refine their ideas, then submit planning grant proposals later this fall. It was encouraged but not mandatory to submit a concept paper; any student or employee may submit a planning proposal in the fall. In spring 2019, full proposals will be submitted, and a final decision and announcement will be made in by summer 2019.

“These big ideas have the potential to bring together UAB researchers with people from the city, the county, the state and other institutions nationally to see them realized,” Moradi said. “We are looking forward to exploring the concept papers further and using the Grand Challenge to help UAB grow and further its world-changing mission.”

“This indicates we are a community with a desire to help and the ideas to solve the seemingly intractable issues of the day for Alabama.”

Brown said he is both excited and encouraged by the level of interest shown in the Grand Challenge, and said it speaks volume about UAB and the role it plays on the world stage.

“This indicates that we are a community with a desire to help and the ideas to solve the seemingly intractable issues of the day for Alabama, such as improving health delivery and health outcomes, mitigating the opioid crisis, ending homelessness and healing racial, religious and cultural rifts, to name a few,” he added.

To read more about the Grand Challenge and review submitted concept papers, visit uab.edu/plan/Grand-Challenge.