McKelvey Collaboration Initiation Grant (CIG)

The CIG program has been temporarily suspended due to budget constraints necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call for Collaboration Initiation Grants (CIG) is issued annually at the beginning of the calendar year. CIG funds projects that facilitate collaborative research outside and among engineering departments for junior, untenured tenure-track McKelvey faculty.

Deadline: March 9, 2020

CIG aims to:

  • encourage connections across departments and schools;
  • promote an understanding of research across campus;
  • provide pilot data funding for high risk/high reward projects; and,
  • serve as a platform for external grant applications.

Only junior, untenured McKelvey faculty may serve as lead PI; however, any tenure-track or research faculty at Washington University may serve as Co-PI. Up to three $20,000 awards will be made. Cost sharing is required.

Please note that CIG awardees will be required to serve as a peer review for two cycles of the CIG program.


Proposals should be submitted via Qualtrics by Monday, March 9, 2020.


One-inch margins; Arial size 11 point or larger

Application Instructions

Using the Qualtrics link, complete the form and upload the proposal as ONE PDF File. Elements Include:

  • Project Summary (1 page)
  • Project Description (3 pages)
  • External Funding Targets (1 page)
  • References (No page limit)
  • Cost Sharing Commitment Letter (1 page)
  • Letter of Support from the PI’s Department Chair (1 page)
  • Current and Pending Support (No page limit, one Current and Pending for each PI and Co-PI.)
  • Biographical Sketches (2 pages per Bio, one Bio for PI and Co-PIs)
  • Budget and Budget Justification (1 page)

Estimated Number of Awards

Up to 3 awards per year. Co-funding from other institutes or centers may allow for additional awards per year.

Anticipated Funding Amount

Up to $20,000 for one year from McKelvey School of Engineering plus $5,000 in required cash cost sharing. Cost sharing funds are 50% or $2,500 from the PI and/or PI’s Department and the remaining 50% or $2,500 from the Co-PI’s discretionary funds. A signed cost sharing commitment letter is required as part of the proposal.

Who May Submit Proposals

PIs must be McKelvey School of Engineering untenured, tenure-track faculty. PIs may only submit one proposal per annual competition. PIs may not be awarded more than one CIG award. Co-PIs must be from a different department from that of the PI or from another Washington University school. Co-PIs may be any tenure-track or research faculty at Washington University.

Use of Funds

Funds may be used for any activity directly related to the conduct of the research (e.g. salaries and benefits for students, postdocs, or research scientists, research supplies, equipment/facility, etc.). Funds may not be used for faculty summer salaries, administrative staff, course buyouts, seminar speakers, consultants, conferences, or travel. Junior, untenured SEAS faculty are encouraged to approach their department chair and request support related to the cash cost sharing requirement.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on the following categories:

Scientific Excellence

  • Clarity and pertinence of the objectives.
  • Credibility of the proposed approach.
  • Interdisciplinary nature of the research.
  • Extent that proposed work has innovation, potential that is beyond the state of the art (e.g. ground-breaking objectives, novel concepts and approaches)

Impact and Synergy

  • Extent that proposed future work will have impact on the field and relevant research topics.
  • Whether the proposal has the potential to achieve and sustain ongoing collaboration and external funding.
  • Soundness of the future funding target and plan to utilize the results of this seed funding to win larger awards.

Quality and Viability of Project and Collaboration

  • Coherence and effectiveness of the work plan, including appropriateness of the allocation of limited tasks and resources.
  • Complementarity of the participants within the collaboration.
  • Sufficient area remaining in the research implementation for a future funding opportunity.

Scores will be assigned in a 0 – 5 range (half points may be awarded).

Interpretation of the Scores
1. Poor. The criterion is inadequately addressed, or there are serious inherent weaknesses.
2. Fair. The proposal broadly addresses the criterion, but there are significant weaknesses.
3. Good. The proposal addresses the criterion well, but multiple shortcomings are present.
4. Very Good. The proposal addresses the criterion very well, but shortcomings are present.
5. Excellent. The proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criterion. Any shortcomings are minor.

Post-Award Requirements

By accepting this award, PIs and Co-PIs agree to:

  • Complete the cost sharing requirement.
  • Submit a final progress report to the McKelvey Dean’s Office at the end of the award year.
  • Serve as reviewers for future CIG application cycles.
Collaboration Initiation Grant (CIG) Awardees

Rajan Chakrabarty
Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Data-Driven Model for Real-Time Detection, Forecasting, and Suppression of Tics in Tourette Syndrome
Co-PI: Kevin Black

Fangqiong Ling*
Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Sink and Source: A multiscale analysis of hospital sink microbiome to aid infection prevention
Co-PI: Jennie Kwon
*Funded equally by the McKelvey School of Engineering and the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences at the School of Medicine.

Chuan Wang
Electrical & Systems Engineering
Printed Soft Sensor Patch for Electromyometrial Imaging
Co-PI: Yong Wang

Patricia Weisensee
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Coupling of impact dynamics, cooling rates, and microstructure in droplet-on-demand 3D printing
Co-PI: Kenneth Kelton

Ulugbek Kamilov
Computer Science & Engineering
Data-Adaptive Imaging for Motion-Robust High-Resolution Dynamic MRI
Co-PI: Hongyu An
*Received $5,000 from the Institute of Clinical & Translational Sciences at the School of Medicine.

ShiNung Ching
Electrical & Systems Engineering
Ultraslow Network Activity as a Predictive Marker for Recurrent Seizures
Co-PI: Rejean Guerriero
*Received $5,000 from the Institute of Clinical & Translational Sciences at the School of Medicine.

Rohan Mishra
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Rational Design of Corrosion-Resistant Platinum-Group-Metal-Free Electrocatalysts
Co-PI: Vijay Ramani

Nathaniel Huebsch
Biomedical Engineering
A Microengineered System to Model Cardiac Afterload in vitro. Preliminary Data for an NIH R01 Application on Therapies for Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Co-PI: Guy Genin

Matthew Lew

Electrical and Systems Engineering
Visualizing Chemical Environments within Living Cells using Single-Molecule
Fluorescence-Lifetime Imaging Nanoscopy
Co-PI: James Buckley

J. Mark Meacham
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Microcarrier-assisted Preparation of Antibody Conjugates in a Longitudinal Acoustic Trap
Co-PI: Mikhail Berezin

Jonathan Silva
Biomedical Engineering
Applying Mixed Reality to Otolaryngology Procedures
Co-PI: Jonathan McJunkin

Xuan ‘Silvia’ Zhang
Electrical and Systems Engineering
Hardware Software Co-Design for Malleable and Adaptive Power Flow Orchestration
Co-PI: Christopher Gill

Hong Chen
Biomedical Engineering
Noninvasive, localized, and controlled delivery of gold nanoparticles for enhancing radiotherapy of brain tumors
Co-PIs: Pratim Biswas and Buck Rogers

Yasutaka Furukawa
Computer Science & Engineering
3D Echocardiography from 2D Ultrasound Images
Co-PIs: Gary Skolnick and Pirooz Eghtesady

Spencer Lake
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
A Novel Approach for Quantifying the Real-Time Microstructural Properties of the ElbowUlnar Collateral Ligament Using Reflected Light Polarization Imaging
Co-PIs: Viktor Gruev and Matthew Smith

Marcus Foston

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Novel NMR and EPR Technology for Surface Characterization of Biomass
Co-PI: Alexander Barnes

Amit Pathak
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Mechanical Characterization of Optic Glioma Development
Co-PI: David Gutmann

Barani Raman
Biomedical Engineering
Neuroplasmonics: Selective Control of Neural Activity using Plasmonic Nanoheaters
Co-PI: Srikanth Singamaneni