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Sophia Brueckner and Kentaro Toyama: $100k NAFKI Grant for Global Heartbeat Project

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Global Heartbeat, a project by Stamps Assistant Professor Sophia Brueckner and School of Information Professor Kentaro Toyama, has been awarded a $100,000 Keck Futures Initiative Award.

The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, a project of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, announced today the recipients of 11 grants awarded to support interdisciplinary projects related to art and science, engineering, and medicine frontier collaborations, the subject of the 13th annual Futures conference, held last November.

These competitive seed grants aim to fill a critical gap in funding for bold new ideas. Major federal funding programs do not typically provide support in areas that are considered risky or unusual. The Futures grants allow creative practitioners to start recruiting students and postdocs to the research effort, purchase new equipment, acquire preliminary data, develop prototypes of exhibits, or create new collaborative teams and modes of inquiry — all of which can position the project to compete for larger awards from other public and private sources.

The committee considered 43 proposals, totaling $3.65 million in requested funds, and judged the proposals based on interdisciplinarity, relevance to the conference topic, the level of riskiness/​boldness, importance and potential impact, and overall quality.

Kentaro Toyama, School of Information, University of Michigan
Sophia Brueckner, Stamps School of Art and Design, University of Michigan
Global Heartbeat: Toward a planet-wide shared experience – $100,000
Digital networks connect people physically but alienate people emotionally. Even as individuals plug into a single communication platform, they fracture into virtual communities. Global Heartbeat aims to be an intermittent mobile phone signal that plants a small seed of global unity through a synchronous common experience.

Keck Futures Initiative Awards $1 Million for 11 Projects