New Projects

Funding for projects focused on smart-city development, the impact of university research, and best practices and train staff to address the needs of refugees.


The National Science Foundation recently announced that it will make available millions of dollars in grants related to projects focused on smart-city development. The foundation wants to bring together community stakeholders and academic researchers to come up with more sustainable strategies for urban growth.

As examples of projects of interest, the NSF cites an effort in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to test an urban network of connected, autonomous vehicles, and another in several cities in Maryland to integrate sensor data and social media posts to provide better advanced notice of flash flooding.

In addition to US$24.5 million of investments already planned for 2017, the NSF will allocate funds in the following ways: $8.5 million to support integrative research into future urban design; $10 million to develop next-generation internet technologies; $7 million to support academic-industry collaborations focused on emerging technologies; $4 million for projects involving the Internet of Things; $2 million for projects involving big data; $1.5 million to develop next-generation health solutions; and $1 million each in “high-risk” research and new research into lifelong learning.

The grants are part of the U.S. White House Smart Cities Initiative launched in 2015. Read more at


The European University Association (EUA) will partner with higher education institutions throughout Europe in a two-year project called Higher Education Supporting Refugees in Europe (inHERE). The purpose of the project is to develop best practices and train staff to address the needs of refugees, including helping them learn new languages, access funds, and have their academic credits and qualifications recognized in absence of documentation.

The project is inspired by the EUA’s Refugees Welcome Map, which outlines best practices in refugee support. inHERE is funded by the European Union, through Erasmus+, a program that supports education for young people. Participating universities include Unione delle Univerisita del Mediterraneo and Sapienza University in Italy; the University of Barcelona in Spain; and Campus France, an organization that helps international students plan their study at French institutions.

The website for inHERE is at To read about practices highlighted in the EUA’s Refugees Welcome Map, visit


Novo Nordisk Foundation has provided 20 million krona (more than US$2.2 million) for two studies at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Both four-year projects will study the impact of university research, including the connection between research funding, research output, and learning and business outcomes.

The first project will be led by Anders Sorensen, professor of economics. His team will examine whether college students taught by research faculty contribute more to innovation within companies than those who graduate from programs that are not research-based. This project was inspired by recent financial cutbacks at universities in Denmark. “There are multiple opinions concerning the effect of cutbacks, but we don’t actually know what the factual consequences are,” says Sorensen.

The second project will be led by Hans Christian Kongsted, professor of innovation and organizational economics. Kongsted’s team will look at the impact of university research on innovation in private companies—for example, the effect of university researchers on the number of patents in the biotech industry. Says Kongsted, “We want to understand how universities, companies, and researchers interact; how they jointly produce knowledge and innovation; and what the socioeconomic effects of research are.”