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APS Innovation Fund Reopens for COVID-19

Successful funding program calls for new round of proposals for projects to support the physics community during the pandemic.

May 11, 2020

The APS Innovation Fund (IF), the Society’s successful program to fund creative ideas to support the physics community, has pivoted to tackling problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary one-page proposals are due by May 15 with full proposals needed by June 15.

The IF, now in its second year, was gearing up for a normal round of proposals and review before the coronavirus struck.

“The 2020 IF preliminary proposal deadline was set for early March, just after APS cancelled the March Meeting due to COVID-19 related concerns,” explained Kathryne Woodle, Senior Program Manager in the APS Project Development Department.

“As APS Committee/Unit leaders and the Steering Committee reviewed applications, it was noted that some could potentially be adapted to address current issues arising from the impact of COVID-19. The IF Steering Committee discussed and ultimately recommended to the APS Board that we defer the current competition to re-open the Innovation Fund for COVID-specific proposals. This allows APS to further support and rapidly respond to the needs of our members and of the physics community as a whole,” she said.

Innovation Fund social COVID

The IF COVID projects are not intended to fund scientific research related to the virus (e.g., testing masks, infectious disease models, statistical analysis of spread, antibody tests). Instead, the goal is to fund projects ranging from innovations in meeting while social-distancing to virtual professional development to online educational tools.

“While not designed to directly support scientific research related to COVID-19, we hope to engage our community to think creatively about how APS can best support our members this fall and in the coming years,” said Woodle.

The IF was initiated in 2019 and received over 100 pre-proposals resulting in four funded projects on nuclear proliferation, diversity and inclusion, machine learning tools for navigating conferences, and condensed matter physics workshops in Africa.

“The APS Innovation Fund was conceived to enable members of the physics community to pilot potentially transformative ideas,” said Theodore Hodapp, APS Director of Project Development and co-chair of the IF Steering Committee. “Reopening this to respond to COVID-19 provides an opportunity for us to take direct action in response to the current pandemic.”

For more on the Innovation Fund, visit the Innovation Fund page.

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