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As part of the Big Ideas Research Initiatives for the 2023-2024 year, the NDSU Office of Research and Creative Activity is holding an intensive, multi-day proposal development workshop March 4-6, 2024 in the NDSU Memorial Union.


To be considered for participation in this workshop, complete an application form. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 31, 2024.


Proposal Development Workshop | March 4-6

Through this workshop, RCA aims to foster the development of proposals that explore research questions about how North Dakotans extend the healthy, active years of life and how we effectively prevent or treat age-related diseases. We encourage faculty from the biological, behavioral, design, engineering, social and economic fields to apply to participate. In addition, we seek faculty who are interested in participating as computational core collaborators on healthy aging proposals.


Facilitated by KnowInnovation, this workshop will involve the co-creation of research ideas and development of teams that will go on to create proposals related to the theme. Participants will be expected to engage with other participants in a creative, free-thinking environment--away from everyday routines and responsibilities--and immerse themselves in a collaborative process around this important theme. Over the course of three days, KnowInnovation and a research director, Adam Davey, will facilitate the generation of ideas and proposals around the theme of Aging. Participants will be part of a multidisciplinary group who will work to build a shared understanding of the challenge, define specific research questions, and generate novel ideas for research proposals. Initiatives similar to this fostered by KnowInnovation build diverse teams that span the stages of academic careers and disciplines, resulting in high quality, productive research teams addressing the challenging, big ideas and often securing high levels of funding following other such campus initiatives.

Sparking Big Ideas

Interdisciplinary Research Planning Grants

This planning grant program seeks to initiate early-stage project development to help catalyze collaborative, interdisciplinary teams among diverse disciplines in order to pursue innovative, ambitious solutions to impactful research questions that fit within NDSU’s strategic priorities, or align with prior and/or existing research investments at NDSU. Priority will go to teams without a prior track record of collaboration, or to teams that are expanding to include new disciplinary expertise.

Team composition should be reflective of the nature of the proposed research and the team’s approach should rely on the perspective and expertise of multiple disciplines. This program is intended to help teams develop collaborations and prepare to pursue external sponsored research support for the proposed project. North Dakota has made it a priority to invest in the diversification of the state economy through research, and NDSU faculty are uniquely poised to bring their expertise together in teams to address challenges that cannot be solved by a single discipline.

BisonSpark Talks

As part of our Big Idea Research Initiatives for the 2023-24 year, the Office of Research and Creative Activity (RCA) and the Faculty Research Council presented BisonSpark Talks in October, 2023. BisonSpark Talks are 5 minute stories about the amazing research happening in various disciplines on campus. Featuring both NDSU and external presenters, BisonSpark Talks serve to spark interest, ideas, and collaborations across our research community members.

Strategic Research Priorities

Food, Energy, and Water Security

North Dakota plays an indispensable role in efforts to improve the resiliency and sustainability of the U.S. food, energy, and water systems. These systems and their security are vitally important to the state’s economy. NDSU is engaged in work across many facets towards these efforts: promoting energy sustainability and stewardship; studying the impact of human activity on water systems; supporting tribal food sovereignty and improving public health and nutrition; innovating sensors, electrification, automation and autonomous systems through connectivity and telemetry; supporting field-ready engineering technologies using artificial intelligence, data science, and other tools (especially to advance precision agriculture and ag tech); and ensuring resilient, safe and secure economic and social systems to minimize risk.

Cybersecurity, Computer Science and Software Engineering

Essential both today and into the future, NDSU’s expertise in these areas fit well within the institution’s mission of serving as North Dakota’s landgrant university. Because the agriculture and energy industries are vital to the state’s economy, their vulnerability to cyber-attacks means cybersecurity is increasingly tied to the state’s economy and a high priority for research investment. Protecting our computer systems, networks, and programs in the face of digital attacks from across the globe serves the citizens of our state while strengthening our national security.

Life Sciences

NDSU’s land-grant mission also challenges us to ensure the health of all North Dakotans by carrying out meaningful biomedical and health-related research. By building on our successes, we advance the state’s capabilities in life sciences and create economic growth through opportunities for North Dakota companies to successfully create biotechnology and biomedical devices in this space. Life sciences investments also have the potential to save North Dakota money in the long-term by creating better health outcomes for citizens that enable lower health care costs.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

North Dakota has historically been at the leading-edge of workforce development, entrepreneurship, and innovation and the state has played an essential role in encouraging the commercialization of ideas. North Dakota continues to attract top talent to the state who support established industries such as manufacturing, technology-based businesses, autonomous systems, biotechnology, and bioscience, advanced materials and manufacturing, and agricultural and energy. NDSU’s contributions in all these fields area are wide-ranging, especially in engineering. NDSU alumni have founded thriving companies like Aldevron, Phoenix International, Appareo, and Bushel. NDSU seeks to continue to drive and support North Dakota’s thriving entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by creating and nurturing the innovators and the workforce of tomorrow.


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