UNM turns challenges into opportunities with 10 new research teams : UNM Newsroom

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Child abuse, mental health, food and housing insecurity, and language endangerment – ​​the issues New Mexicans face every day can be seen from the streets of Las Cruces to the gates of Raton. But 10 University of New Mexico research teams are turning those challenges into opportunities, looking for long-term, sustainable solutions.

“The fact that we are here today, only three years later, looking to tackle additional challenges, is a testament to the vision and hard work of Lobo researchers around the world.” – UNM President Garnett S. Stokes

This week, UNM’s Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) hosted a launch event announcing the expansion of the University’s Grand Challenges program with 10 new Level 1 Concept Teams. UNM’s main, branch campuses and Health Sciences Center came together to discuss the revamped program and introduce the 10 teams to more than 150 people who attended the in-person event.

“By starting from the ground up and partnering with impacted communities, we hope to build enduring teams focused on research topics and challenges of utmost importance to New Mexico communities and led by researchers committed to overcoming those challenges. said Ellen Fisher, UNM. vice president of research.

Left to right: Dr. Doug Ziedonis, UNM President Garnett S. Stokes, UNM RVP Ellen Fisher, HSC RVP Richard Larson

Tier 1 Concept Teams

  1. STEM Education
  2. Sustainable space research
  3. Building data science pathways for a data-literate New Mexico
  4. child health
  5. Just Transition
  6. Housing Justice
  7. Basic needs
  8. Aboriginal child development
  9. Mental Health
  10. Culturally Appropriate Literacy

“How are we going to improve the mental and physical health of all New Mexicans? How will we transform our research into new businesses, innovation and entrepreneurship? These are the questions I think about every day and these Grand Challenges will be the answer,” said Dr. Douglas Ziedonis, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences.

In 2019, UNM President Garnett S. Stokes announced the creation of three Grand Institutional Challenges, Substance Use Disorders, Successful Aging, and Sustainable Water Resources. Stokes said the University invested an initial $2.1 million in the top three teams.

“It may not seem like much, but look what the Lobo researchers did with it,” she said. “These teams have developed pilot research programs to test ideas and generate the data needed to award larger grants. They supported graduate and undergraduate students as they engaged in research programs. From there, the research results became posters, presentations, publications and proposals. »

To date, Stokes said UNM researchers have generated a return of more than $50 million on the initial $2.1 million investment.

“The fact that we are here today, only three years later, looking to tackle additional challenges is a testament to the vision and hard work of Lobo researchers around the world,” said Stokes.

Going forward, the revamped Grand Challenges program will provide each team with funds for team development and solidifying their ideas. Next year, Tier 1 teams will be eligible to compete for Tier 2 status, which will provide additional funds to launch their projects and build capacity for larger team activities.

“We are at the start of an exciting time with interdisciplinary research at UNM,” Fisher said. “Our research teams cannot do the work they do and will not achieve the goals they have set for themselves without meaningful community engagement in the research process.”

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