Winners of Presidential Initiative Grants for Urban and Place-Based Research Named

Winners of Presidential Initiative Grants for Urban and Place-Based Research Named

October 16, 2020

This summer, CU Denver’s seven deans announced a multiyear, $500,000 initiative meant to “strengthen research related to urban development at CU Denver through a transdisciplinary research initiative engaging all schools and colleges with a focus on enhancing life quality for all, now and into the future.” The initiative aligns with University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy’s goal of advancing the distinctive renown of each of the four CU campuses—CU Denver’s being its prime location in downtown Denver, its strong network of community partners, and its preeminence in urban research.

Nine Winners for 2020

From a request for proposals which drew 25 applications, this year’s winners have been decided. Their projects will receive grants ranging from $10,000 — $20,000, altogether totaling $150,000. Funds may be applied toward materials, equipment, salary for student research assistants, faculty, and travel.

From top, left to right: Farnoush Banaei-Kashani, Dan Connors, Todd Ely, Storm Gloor, Serena Kim, Chris Miller, Manish Shirgaokar, Bryan Wee, and Kristin Wood

The lead principal investigators for the nine winning projects, along with the titles of their projects, are:

  • Farnoush Banaei-Kashani, PhD, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Computing: “Developing Descriptive and Predictive Causal Models to Study the Impacts of Highway Construction on Ambient Air Quality in the Front Range”
  • Dan Connors, PhD, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Computing: “Using Artificial Intelligence and Sensors to Quantify Mobility in Real-Time”
  • Todd Ely, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Affairs, School of Public Affairs: “Understanding and Leveraging Philanthropic Foundations in Colorado’s Urban Areas”
  • Storm Gloor, MBA, Associate Professor of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies, College of Arts and Media: “CAMunity: A Student-Led Pilot Project to Provide Local Musicians With the Opportunity to Learn and Thrive as Leaders Within Their Community”
  • Serena Kim, PhD, Scholar in Residence, School of Public Affairs: “Integrated Solar Energy for Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Communities”
  • Chris Miller, PhD, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: “Establishing a Mechanistic Understanding of How Microbial Communities Remediate Groundwater Pollution at an EPA Superfund Site in the Denver Metropolitan Area”
  • Manish Shirgaokar, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, College of Architecture and Planning: “Learning from the Travel Experiences of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)”
  • Bryan Wee, PhD, Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: “In Support of Child-Friendly Cities: Identifying and Applying Geospatial Technologies to Represent Children’s Sense of Place”
  • Kristin Wood, PhD, Senior Associate Dean of Innovation and Engagement and Executive Director, Comcast Center, College of Engineering, Design and Computing: “Five Points to Five Notes”

Expanding upon the success of CityCenter’s Imagine a Great Region, which fosters cross-sector, regional conversations on growth, funding from the Presidential Initiative will help enable connections with public and private sector partners, as well as enact real and thoughtful change in the Front Range and beyond.

Congratulations to the winners! Learn more about each of their winning projects via the link below. A subsequent funding round will be announced in 2021.