Carver Mead New Adventures Fund
The Carver Mead New Adventures Fund is an IST initiative created to champion projects that are too early stage to attract industry or government support. The fund was established in Carver Mead’s honor through donations from more than 200 individuals with the goal of empowering and supporting Caltech’s scientists and engineers in their pursuit of developing innovative technologies and seeding interesting ideas – perhaps even “crazy” ideas. Too many product and service ideas in Caltech research are never realized because they are too “early stage” to attract investment from government or foundation grants. The Carver Mead New Adventures Fund gives such ideas a chance.
Applying for a Grant
The New Adventures Fund funds 6-10 seed grants each year at the level of 10-50k each. These grants are discretionary and can be used to support grad students, postdocs, equipment, workshop organization, etc. A call for applications is distributed at the beginning of the fall term each year and then the recipients are decided by the end of the fall term. Funding must be spent within two calendar years of being awarded.
The goal is for these funds to “grease the wheels” and enable faculty and emerging research groups to pursue exciting new projects in Information Science and Technology, broadly defined. The grants are available to any IST related project and so are not restricted to faculty in CMS and EE. In fact, we encourage faculty to submit white papers for projects and emerging centers at the interface of the information sciences and other areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, economics, etc.
The recipients of the Seed Grants are chosen by the IST Steering committee.
- Call will go out in fall 2018
- Andrew Stuart (CMS) and Tapio Schneider (ESE): “Multiscale Climate Modeling”
- Austin Minnich (ME/APS): “Design of Molecular Machines using Big Data”
- Frederick Eberhardt (HSS), Anima Anandkumar (CMS), Ralph Adolphs (BBE): “Causality in Psychometric Data”
- John Doyle (CMS), Lea Goentoro (BBE), Matilde Marcolli (PMA), Lior Pachter (BBE/CMS), Matt Thomson (BBE): “Architectures of Dynamic Biological Networks”
- Michelle Effros (EE): “Information Theoretic Tools for Understanding Memory”
- P.P. Vaidyanathan (EE): “Signal Processing on Graphs”
- Shuki Bruck (EE): “A Personal Mutation Index for Predicting Cancer Onset”
- Wei Gao (MedE): “A Wearable Molecular Sensing Platform”
- Yaser Abu-Mostafa (EE/CMS): “Ultrasounds via Machine Learning”
Giving to the Carver Mead New Adventures Fund
Thanks to the generous donations of the IST Council members and nearly 200 other donors, the Carver Mead New Adventures fund awarded its first grants in 2017; however, this is just the beginning. The ultimate goal is to be able to establish a $5 million endowment to support annual awards from the program. Thus, we are still actively fundraising to support this initiative. The Carver Mead New Ventures Fund will help Caltech faculty – at a critical early stage of their work – with seed funding to bridge a funding gap that relegates many worthwhile projects to obscurity (i.e., the gap between government support for basic science and the availability of private-sector funding for emerging innovations). A gift to the Carver Mead New Adventures Fund is an investment in ideas that have the potential to grow into new disciplines, technological innovations, and world-changing discoveries.
About Carver Mead
Carver Mead arrived in Pasadena in 1952 to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, and so began a lifetime of learning, teaching, inventing, and inspiring at Caltech.
Mead served on the Caltech faculty for 40 years, retiring in 1999. Today, as the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, he still visits campus to work in his lab and to engage in discussions with students, faculty, and alumni. He is as passionate about science and engineering as ever.
With an unrelenting drive to advance inquiry for its own sake, Mead is a pathfinder in modern microelectronics. Among a long string of firsts, he helped create new fields of science, such as neuromorphic engineering and the physics of computation, and revolutionized information science by pioneering VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s—conceptualizing a notion of scalability that set technology on a trajectory of exponential growth.
In addition to co-writing the landmark textbook for VLSI design, Mead has collaborated on publications with more than 200 coauthors, and he has been cited in the works of other scholars nearly 20,000 times, He holds more than 50 patents, and it has been estimated that he and his students have created 140 start-up companies.
The practical applications of Carver Mead’s innovations can be found everywhere. Today’s commerce, entertainment, and information systems depend on them.