April 11, 2011

APL announces eight winners of its inaugural Ignition Grants

A tiny robot for special operations troops, a better way for Johns Hopkins experts to meet, a civilian Cyber Defense Corps and on-site child care—these are just four of the eight inaugural winners of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Ignition Grants, announced April 1.

Ignition Grants were introduced by APL Director Ralph Semmel in February as part of a new initiative to allow Lab staff to both propose and choose new ideas and research areas to receive funding. The first round of Ignition Grants attracted 190 proposals that were voted on by more than 1,300 of APL’s roughly 5,000 staffers. Eight winners were selected and funded, for amounts ranging from $12,000 to $20,000, which will allow the proposal authors and their collaborators to undertake research and spend time developing their ideas.

“This first cycle of Ignition Grants has been a great start, and one that we will learn from,” Semmel said in announcing the winners. “As part of our ‘re-ignition phase’ in April, we will conduct focus groups and discussions to gather lessons learned to define useful changes for the next Ignition Grant cycle.”

The winners of the first Ignition Grants are, in order of votes received, “Find an Expert at JHU: A Marketplace for Connecting Innovation to Resources Within the JHU Family,” “iBuoy,” “Pocket-Size Personal Surveillance Robot,” “On-Site Child Care,” “Mechanical Engineers Unite,” “Distributed Library,” “Conformal Antenna for Gun-Launched Projectile” and “Volunteer Cyber Defense Corps.”

The proposals that were not selected will automatically continue into the next round. Details about that second cycle of grants will be announced in May.