4-VA’s collaborative research increases Virginia’s research competitiveness for external funding

“Without a doubt 4-VA scale-up funding made it possible to continue our work and fund key members of our team while we pursued additional external funding opportunities.” – Kenn Barron, Professor, Psychology, JMU

It’s no secret that research grants are highly selective and competitive. To strengthen Virginia’s competitive edge, 4-VA provides small-scale grants to pilot research teams collaborating across 4-VA universities. With access to this funding, teams can build evidence to show that their projects will make valuable, impactful contributions to their fields, thereby increasing their chances of winning larger external grants.

“I learned that we have endless resources… when our institutions join together around the table. We are stronger in numbers when we band together and tackle a common cause/problem. As we birthed ideas and shared stories, it was amazing to watch how at one institution a concern/problem could be solved using another institution’s resources.” – Michelle Hesse, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, JMU

4-VA collaborative research grants establish unprecedented partnerships between faculty and universities, building rich research communities across the Commonwealth. The collaborative nature of the research maximizes university resources and leverages faculty expertise. Highly specialized laboratory equipment at one 4-VA university can be shared to advance the research at a partner university. Undergraduate and graduate research opportunities can support mentorships and build a pipeline for graduate programs. As a result, Virginia has generated new research topics, stronger proposals, and increased submissions to external granting agencies.

The thriving 4-VA collaborative research grant program at JMU yielded almost $2 million in external awards as a result of their pilot research, despite declining federal support. Granting agencies included the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, Luna Innovations, and the Commonwealth Health Research Board, just to name a few.

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