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New Grants Program Aims for UMD Impact on Society’s Grand Challenges

Up to $30M Will Launch Cross-Disciplinary Centers and Institutes, Support Innovative Research

By Maryland Today Staff

Aerial of Hornbake Library

The new Grand Challenges Grants Program features two components, one of which provides funding to develop new institutional structures such as school, centers and institutes, and a second that supports innovative, impactful research to address important societal issues.

Photo by John T. Consoli

Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice and Vice President for Research Gregory F. Ball sent the following email to the campus community today:

The University of Maryland takes on humanity’s grand challenges, setting forth an ambitious agenda and vision to move our institution fearlessly forward in the pursuit of excellence and impact for the public good. Our university is a world-class institution with ideas, interests and capabilities that can profoundly impact and improve our communities and the world. This has been true throughout our history, and will continue into our future as a strategic commitment in Fearlessly Forward: The University of Maryland Strategic Plan.

We are pleased to announce the Grand Challenges Grants Program—the largest and most comprehensive program of its type ever introduced at our university. Up to $30 million in institutional investments will be available to fund programs, initiatives and projects designed to impact enduring and emerging societal issues such as climate change, social injustice, global health, education disparities, poverty and threats to our democracy.

The Grand Challenges Grants Program has two distinct components:

  • Grand Challenges Institutional Grants will provide funding to develop new institutional structures (interdisciplinary institute, major center or school; or a new public-private partnership/consortia, etc.) that catalyze cross-disciplinary collaborations around a grand challenge focus or theme.
  • Grand Challenges Project Grants will provide funding for innovative and impactful research, scholarship and creative activities designed to address grand challenges in service to humanity.

Today we are releasing the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for both the Institutional Grants and the Project Grants, and we invite applications that outline new and creative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Grand Challenges Grants Program can register at to attend an online information session scheduled for April 26 at 10:30 a.m.

We are so excited to partner with units across campus and can’t wait to see how the proposals generated through this program move our campus, state, nation and world fearlessly forward.


Jennifer King Rice signature

Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost

Gregory F Ball signature

Gregory F. Ball
Vice President for Research

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