The centerpiece of the university’s strategic plan, “Forward THINKING”, is its emphasis on building interdisciplinary initiatives. “We will establish powerful alliances and enrich our core strengths.”  The plan identified several cross-cutting areas of existing or potential strength in research and scholarship that address topics of broad importance to society and present opportunities for distinction. 

Beginnings [+]

The Alliances

The University Strategic Plan identified several cross-cutting areas of existing or potential strength in research and scholarship that address topics of broad importance to society and present opportunities for distinction.  (Click to access the alliance website.)

By working with the schools and each other, the alliances are expected to move the University from the current level of activity to one that more fully engages faculty, students and staff at the local, national and international levels.

Council of Alliances [+]


Under the leadership of Bob Miller, the university's new vice president for research, the Council of Alliances has been discussing its future and how it can be transformative and bring distinction to the university. The council's first phase of activity focused primarily on cross-school initiatives and competition for investment funding from the provost. The council is now looking at accessibility, sustainability, and new cross-alliance initiatives to add value during the next phase. If you have suggestions for the alliances, send them to Bob Miller or Chris Ash.


Robert Miller, Vice President for Research (Chair)

Culture, Creativity & Design - John Orloch (Interim)
Energy - Iwan Alexander and Kenneth Singer
Ethics - Shannon French
Human Health - Alan Levine
Infectious Disease - Robert Salata
Informatics - G.Q. Zhang
Materials - Stuart Rowan and John Lewandowski
Origins - Glenn Starkman
Social Justice - Rhonda Williams

Meeting Notes (login required):

October 1, 2012
September 24, 2012
June 20, 2012
April 23, 2012
March 28, 2012
January 12, 2012

Competition [+]

Interdisciplinary Alliance Investment Grant Proposal Competition

In 2010 the Provost held the first Interdisciplinary Alliance Investment Grant (IAIG) competition which resulted in 12 awards ranging from $35K to $700K. A second funding competition was held in 2011 with two funding tracks. One was focused on smaller ($50K), less constrained, innovative, ground-breaking pilot projects, while the other involved five larger ($250K), invited/targeted projects.
Committees of senior faculty were appointed by the provost based on the following review criteria:
  • Overall quality of the proposal

  • Extent to which the proposal supports and strengthens interdisciplinary research and/or education across the Schools/College

  • Extent to which the proposed activity is capable of achieving national/international impact and recognition

  • Extent to which the proposal builds on existing strengths and activities

  • Significance of the proposal relative to the University’s mission, vision and core values

  • Likelihood of achieving stated objectives with resources requested (feasibility)

  • Potential for long-term external sponsorship and sustainability


FY2010 Awards


FY2011 Awards

Pilot Grants of $50K each:

Controlled Assembly of Core Shell Viral Nanoparticles for Image-Guided Therapy – Anna Samia (CAS) and Nicole Steinmetz (SOM), Materials Alliance

Establishing Evolutionary Medicine at Case Western Reserve University –Eric Arts (SOM), Origins Alliance

Promoting Health Across Boundaries – Kurt Stange (SOM), Human Health Alliance

Broken Homes, Broken Dreams: What Happens to Families After Foreclosure – Cyleste Collins (MSASS), Social Justice Alliance

Collaborative Effort to Evaluate Emerging Low Cost Water Treatment Technologies for Developing Countries – Banu Yildiz (CSE) and Emmitt Jolly (CAS), Sustainability Alliance

Large Scale Synthesis and Applications of Graphene Via Plasma Processing – R. Mohan Sankaran (CSE) and Xuan Gao (CAS), Materials Alliance

The Orpheus Experience at CWRU – Mary Davis (CAS), Culture, Creativity and Design Alliance

Case Electro-Clinical Epilepsy Research Data Resources – Hans Luders (SOM) and Samden Lhatoo (SOM), Informatics Alliance

Impact of Drug Abuse on Infectious Disease – Alan Levine (SOM), Infectious Disease Alliance

Intergenerational Health Action: An Innovative Health and Wellness Practice Model – Peter Whitehouse (SOM), Sustainability Alliance

Planning the Technology and Health Institute at Case (THINC) – Jeff Duerk (CSE/SOM), Human Health Alliance

Invited Grants:

Robert Salata (SOM) and his team received $250,000 for the project “Improving Awareness and Prevention of Infectious Diseases in High Burden Cleveland Neighborhoods: A Collaborative, Community-Based Approach”

“think[box],” led by Gary Wnek (CSE), received a $100,000 award

The “Art Museum Research Collaborative” (AMRC) under the direction of Catherine Scallen and Anne Helmreich (CAS) was awarded $200,000.
Progress Reports [+]

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