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Cultivating Research

Call it watering the green spots. UNLV’s Faculty Opportunity Awards program provides seed funding for faculty researchers with promising ideas and a desire to pursue additional funding from government agencies, foundations, or private industry. The program has supported a wide variety of campus research projects involving multidisciplinary teams, single investigators, and other faculty working to develop intellectual property.

Most successful Faculty Opportunity Award (FOA) recipients receive from $5,000 to $20,000 each. For the university, these investments yield impressive returns, according to Thomas Piechota, vice president for Research and Economic Development. During fiscal years 2012 and 2013, for example, the program’s $600,000 awarded generated almost $4 million in external funding, a return of $5.70 for every dollar invested, he notes. “We believe in investing in research at UNLV,” says Piechota “These Faculty Opportunity Awards are generating real results in the form of proposals for external funding as well as publication of research findings and development of intellectual property with commercialization potential. We have some very gifted researchers who need a modest investment in order to gather data or information; in turn, this can produce huge returns in the form of scholarship, grants, and industry-sponsored research for UNLV.” Below are four examples of projects that recently received Faculty Opportunity Awards.

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