Pitt Momentum Funds awarded to 29 projects

The Pitt Momentum Fund grants have been announced for this year and will support 29 projects.

The awards were created during the 2019-20 school year by Senior Vice Chancellor for Research Rob Rutenbar and Provost Ann Cudd.

Momentum Funds support high-quality research and creative endeavors. The funds’ three-tiered structure enables funding at all stages of the research cycle: Priming Awards of up to $25,000 for one year help projects get started. Teaming Awards of up to $60,000 for one year help establish collaborative teams. Scaling Awards of up to $400,000 for two years help projects do the detailed work necessary to pursue large external funding.

Teams of faculty, coordinated by members of the University Research Council and Pitt administrators, reviewed 68 proposals to select this year’s winners. The annual competition also welcomes proposals aligned with the University-wide annual themes developed by the provost. Five of the selected projects reflect the Year of Emotional Well-Being.

All awardees will be celebrated at a funding showcase titled “Fueling our Future,” which will be held in early September.

Visit the Pitt Research website to learn more about the program and read about this year’s awardees.

Scaling Awards

Examining psychosocial correlates of loneliness and perceived isolation among marginalized youth: Cesar Escobar-Viera, School of Medicine, with colleagues Xu Qin, School of Education; Robert W. S. Coulter, Kar-Hai Chu and Patricia Documét School of Public Health; Nadine Melhem and Marta Peciña, School of Medicine; and Sophia Choukas-Bradley, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Linking university-community initiatives to promote a children’s thriving pipeline across early developmental stages: Shannon Wanless, School of Education, with Daniel Shaw and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and James Huguley, School of Social Work,

Teaming Awards

Supporting mental and physical wellbeing in autistic adults through community-based mindful movement: Rachel Robertson, School of Education, with colleagues Marissa Vogel, Open Up Pittsburgh; Caitlin Conner and Carla Mazefsky, School of Medicine; and Sally Sherman, School of Education

Testing the effectiveness of faculty as facilitators of psychological resilience interventions for students in professional and graduate programs: Ann Sinsheimer, School of Law, with colleagues Omid Fotuhi, Learning Research and Development Center and Ming-Te Wang, School of Education

Priming Awards

Reconstructing the early career of Jorge Luis Borges as a public speaker: Talks and courses from 1949 to 1955: Daniel Balderston, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Resisting racist police violence: An oral history of the Ferguson rebellion: Joshua Bloom, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

The "New" New York: race, space, and power in gentrifying Brooklyn: Amanda Boston, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Hemispheric conversations urban art project: Caitlin Bruce, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, with colleagues Oreen Cohen, independent artist; and Shane Pilster and Max Gonzales, Rivers of Steel

Measuring the prevalence of earnings manipulations: A novel approach: Nicole Cade, Katz Graduate School of Business, with colleague Joshua Gunn,  Katz Graduate School of Business

Enhancing resilience and healthspan through listening sessions with community engagement centers: Rose Constantino, School of Nursing, with colleagues Willa Doswell and Betty J. Braxter, School of Nursing, and Mario C. Browne, School of Pharmacy

Training health sciences faculty to deliver the Pitt personal wellness program to graduate students: Laura Dietz, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Toward the two-way coupling of swimmer and surface gravity waves: Lei Fang, Swanson School of Engineering

Investigating the environmental exposure risks of asthma: Peng Gao, School of Public Health

Unpacking racial disparities in the involuntary psychiatric commitment of youth and young adults in Allegheny County: Catherine Greeno, School of Social Work, with colleague Nev Jones, School of Social Work

Exploring new metallic quantum spin liquid in intermetallic compounds: Xin Gui, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Preserving fairness of deep learning under environmental changes: Xiaowei Jia, School of Computing and Information, with colleague Hassan Karimi, School of Computing and Information

War Risks: Understanding war trauma through a comprehensive study of war risk insurance claims by American veterans of the first world war: Bridget Keown, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

The geochemistry and petrogenesis of the Braganca and Morais Massifs of northern Portugal: Examining islands of rock to understand how mountains are built: Ryan Kerrigan, Pitt–Johnstown

Emission management for sustainable computing systems: Stephen Lee, School of Computing and Information

Experimental studies and kinetic modeling of co-pyrolysis of biomass and plastic wastes with the combined scheme of kinetics and machine-learning: Hui Liu, Pitt–Johnstown

The labor of commoning: Women against authoritarian populism in Hungary: Gabriella Lukacs, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Anthropocene stewardship: Linking ecological sustainability, social justice and well-being in settler-colonial Hawai’i: Tomas Matza, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Distributional equity analysis of residual risk for national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants and stakeholder engagement: Christina Ndoh, Graduate School of Public Health

Improving quantum sensing using variational quantum optimization algorithms: Kaushik Seshadreesan, School of Computing and Information, with colleagues Gurudev Dutt, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Bringing mobile health to the underdeveloped world: Longfei Shangguan, School of Computing and Information

Freshwater bivalve shells as monitors of river contaminant sources over time: Application of barium isotopes: Brian Stewart, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences'

Synthetic tuning of ligand field for precise control of molecular zero-field splitting: Wesley Transue, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Imagination PLAYce: Towards critical liberatory and digitally mediated pedagogies of higher education: Veena Vasudevan, School of Education, with colleagues Bea Dias and Tinukwa Boulder, School of Education

Archive of Pittsburgh language and speech: Daniel Villarreal, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences