The University of Nebraska–Lincoln selected 13 projects to fund through the first Grand Challenges Catalyst Competition, with a total investment of $10 million.

The Office of the Chancellor and the Office of Research and Economic Development have committed up to $40 million over four years to invest in strategic, goal-based solutions that leverage Nebraska’s strengths and expertise to solve some of society’s greatest problems. The Grand Challenges initiative aligns with the university’s N2025 aims to increase the impact of research and creative activity, and to foster interdisciplinary endeavors.

The 2022 awards portfolio encompasses all seven thematic areas: anti-racism and racial equity; climate resilience; early childhood education and development; health equity; quantum science and engineering; science and technology literacy for society; and sustainable food and water security. 

More than 180 members of the university community are involved in the funded projects, and all nine colleges are participating in at least one project. The funded projects and principal investigators are as follows.

2022 Catalyst Awards

Funded catalyst award projects were selected with input provided through a rigorous external review process coordinated by The Implementation Group, a research development firm specializing in competitive proposal development and team science. The average amount of a catalyst award was $2,959,840.

2022 Planning Grants

Planning grants were selected through an internal review process. Review panels were composed of 18 volunteers that included current faculty, emeriti faculty, and additional staff. The average amount of a planning grant was $138,948.

“These awards reflect our university’s commitment to doing big things. I applaud each of our faculty who participated. You have opened doors to new possibilities, coming together to leverage individual strengths and solve big, overarching issues that are important to Nebraska and the world.” 

Chancellor Ronnie Green