Students and faculty who want to hear about exciting new research underway at UCF can get updates about several projects during the SEEDing Research Forum, a new addition to Student Research Week.

The presentations are available online.

Making the world’s first color infrared camera, creating a compatible diagnostic platform for detecting multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and connecting with people who become homeless during disasters are among the projects that will be presented during virtual sessions on Monday, March 29 and Friday, April 2.

More than 140 projects competed for a total of $1 million in funding as part of a pilot SEED program launched in 2019. In January 2020, 29 projects were selected. The Office of Research and the Provost Office funded the program with the goal of enhancing the visibility and recognition of faculty members and helping them be more competitive in attracting external funding.

“Although is early to say, after only one whole year coinciding with the barriers arising from the COVID crisis, the quality of projects funded in the first two solicitation calls is amazing,” says Enrique del Barco, an associate dean in the College of Sciences — who along with Debra Reinhart, the associate vice president for Research and Scholarship, led the funding initiative.

All proposals had to meet specific requirements depending on the category, but in generally they all had to be relevant to Florida and national priorities, demonstrate a high level of technical and scientific merit, be engaging and impactful, and have a likelihood of getting external funding.

Presentations scheduled for Monday cover optics, sensors, quantum sciences and energy and include faculty from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, CREOL, Nanoscience Technology Center, and College of Sciences. The first talk is at 1:30 p.m. and participants must register to gain access.

Presentations scheduled for Friday cover human behavior, healthcare, biomedical, ecosystems and disaster preparedness and learning sciences and include faculty from the College of Business, Institute for Simulation and Training, College of Community Innovation and Education, College of Nursing, College of Nursing, and College of Engineering and Computer Science. The first talk begins at 9 am., with online registration required for those interested in attending.

“Groups of researchers from multiple colleges are working together as a result of the program in projects that aim at establishing new lines of research within the hottest topics out there,” del Barco says. “I believe that it has surpassed expectations. Although we feel positive, only time will tell us if these exploratory efforts by our awardees will translate into an increased extramural funding and scholarship activity. What is clear is that it has already served to ignite exciting interdisciplinary research efforts across campus.”

The projects represent some of the most advanced research directions at UCF and illustrate novel collaborative efforts across disciplines, del Barco says.“There was tremendous interest in the seed funding opportunity,” Reinhart added.  “UCF faculty and students have great ideas that will ultimately have significant impact on local and national economic development.”

A second round of SEED funding worth $1 million was awarded in early 2021 and the researchers involved in those 37 projects are scheduled to present at next year’s Student Research Week.InI