Catalyst and Seed Awards

Dean Fuentes and the College are pleased to announce the Seed and Catalyst Awards program will be available to faculty again this year. The Scholarship Catalyst and Seed Awards are meant to foster research and scholarship in all fields across the College and are open to full-time CHS faculty. The program includes Catalyst Awards (up to $20K) and Seed Awards (up to $5K). Please note the timeline for the awards is not the same as last year. Both Seed and Catalyst awards are being solicited in the fall semester (proposals due no later than October 15). The program is established specifically to foster the development of successful grant proposals and/or nationally or internationally peer-reviewed scholarly and/or creative works.

The College is the intellectual heart of VCU. Our educational and research environment addresses an array of technological, health-related and societal problems, as well as providing profound insights and reflections on what it means to be human and humane. Research and scholarly activity is an integral part of the education of our students and a key part of our mission. This program provides funding to support all forms of research and scholarship, with an emphasis on pilot studies that form the basis of an extramural funding application, new research/scholarship directions for established faculty scholars and funds to bring nearly completed projects to fruition.

Full details including the application process and eligibility requirements are provided in the RFP (see link below) and RAMS-SPOT.

Seed and Catalyst Award recipients from the 2017-2018 competition are not eligible to apply this year. Faculty may not simultaneously hold more than one form of College-supported research/scholarly activity funding: PeRQ, Catalyst Awards, Seed Awards or start-up funds.

The proposals are brief and will be submitted to RAMS-SPOT. Click on internal opportunities and search for OP00000168 (Catalyst Award) and/or OP00000169 (Seed Award).

If you have questions about submitting through RAMS-SPOT please email Devin Bowers at

The full RFP is available here.

Seed Award Winners 2019

Andrea Simonelli, Political Science
Saving Paradise? An analysis of how Governance Affects Climate Resilience through Human Security in the Pacific

Cristina Stanciu, English
A Place of Horror, A Place of Refuge: Archives of Survival in Four Settler States’ Boarding School Literature and Film

Gregory Smithers, History
The Riverkeepers: The Cherokees, Their Neighbors, and the Rivers that Made America

Heather Jones, Psychology
Evaluating Patient Outcomes Following Integrated Primary Care for Underserved Youth

James Turbeville, Biology
A Test for Hidden Diversity in the Cosmopolitan Hoplonemertean Emplectonema gracile (Nemertea) and Inference of the Source for a recently discovered Population on the Atlantic Coast of North America

Jason Arnold, Political Science
Uncovering the KGB’s Secrets with the Mitrokhin Archive

Matthew Scott, Kinesiology and Health Sciences
The Causes and Consequences of Poor Sleep Quality: The Impact of Physical (In)Activity

Murugeswaran Duraisamy, Physics
New Physics Effects on the Semi-Lepontic Beauty Meson Decays

Richard Fine, English
Covering D-Day: The Media and the Military in World War II

Scott Neubauer, Biology
Impacts of Saltwater Intrusion on Tidal Freshwater Marsh Metabolism and Carbon Storage

Previous Seed Award Winners


Katherine Belecki, Chemistry
Immobilization of an Engineered Biocatalyst

Lesley Bullock, Biology
Using DNA barcoding to measure diet variation of a riparian consumer

Victor Chen, Sociology
Entrepreneurial Culture and Learning in the Modern Economy

Jeanine Guidry, Robertson School
#Social4Health: Promoting College Student Social and Mental Wellbeing using Social Media

Christine Cynn, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
‘A Witness of My Time’: Visual Arts, AIDS, and the Archive

William Eggleston, Biology
Molecular analysis of loss of canalization and habituation in maize

G. Antonio Espinoza, History
Civilizers of the People: The Teachers of Lima, 1821 – c. 1921

Robert Godwin-Jones, World Studies
Reframing the Grimm Fairy Tales

Catherine Ingrassia, English
Women, Authorship, and Failure

Karen Kester, Biology
Save the wasps! Maintaining productive collaborations and nurturing future funding opportunities

Douglas Kimemia, Political Science
Organizational Culture and Ethical Practices Among NGOs in Kenya

Bernard Means, World Studies
3-D Digital Ice Age Mastodon and Mammoth Skeletal

Brooke Newman, History
Subjects of the Crown: Slavery, Emancipation and the British Monarchy, 1760- 1860

Terry Oggel, English
The Shaping of Mark Twain’s Literary Immortality

Joseph Reiner, Physics
Zeptoliter pH sensing from metallic cluster ligand dynamics

Suzanne Ruder, Chemistry
Analysis of representational competency in students’ understanding of organic chemistry

Brandi Summers, African American Studies
Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City

Scott Vrana, Psychology
Latent Semantic Analysis: A new tool to assess physician-patient communication quality

Sarah Williams, Forensic Science
Utility of optical tweezers for cell separation of forensic evidence

Dexian Ye, Physics
Development of Ion Source with Nanofabricated Nanotip Arrays for Ambient Mass Spectrometry

Catalyst Award Winners 2019

Ryan Garten, Kinesiology and Health Sciences
Age and Sex Limitations to Vascular Plasticity: Insight from Single Leg Exercise Training

Melis Hafez, History
Moral Entrepreneurs, Cultural Politics and Moral Citizenship in Late Ottoman Society

Matthew Hartman, Chemistry
Creation and Use of Structured Alpha-Helical Peptide Libraries for the Development of Inhibitors of Protein-Protein Interactions

Tal Simmons, Forensic Science
Cross-Validation of ICP-MS and LA-ICP-MS Analysis of Trace Isotope Ratios from Dental Enamel for the Geographic Attribution of Human Remains in Virginia

David Chan, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
Weak Ties, Strong Ties & Absent Ties: Developing Mathematical Models of College Students’ Social Networks to Improve Mental Health and Educational Outcomes

R. Lee Franco, Kinesiology and Health Sciences
Exercise-Induced Alteration of Postprandial Inflammatory Responses in Overweight/Obese Black Female Breast Cancer Survivors

Previous Catalyst Award Winners


Indika Arachchige, Chemistry
Low-Dimensional SiSn Alloys for Low-Cost and High-Efficiency Solar Cells

Rima Franklin, Biology
Impact of Urbanization on the Prevalence and Diversity of Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria in the James River

George Munro, History
Kirovsk: From GULag to Thriving City

Christopher Stevenson, Anthropology
The Hydration Dating of Ancient Obsidian Artifacts by Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)

Dace Svikis, Psychology
Relapse Prevention: Setting the stage for a randomized clinical trial of a computer-delivered intervention (CBT4CBT) in a residential sample of women with substance use disorders (SUDs)