RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— RTI International and Duke University have launched a new partnership to provide seed funding to projects that join researchers from both institutions. The Funds Launching Alliances for Research Exploration initiative aims to create new collaborations between Duke and RTI in areas not currently funded that could lead to federal or other funding.
Two projects have been awarded $100,000 each in seed funding by RTI President and CEO Wayne Holden, Ph.D., and Duke Vice Provost for Research Larry Carin, Ph.D. The request for proposal was open to all areas of research where no collaboration existed, and projects were reviewed by a panel of researchers and staff from RTI and Duke.
"By joining forces with Duke, we have the opportunity to further new areas of research," Holden said. "The original intent was to fund one research project; however, we were very impressed by the project proposals that we decided to fund two projects that we believe can make a tremendous impact."
One of the winning ideas will blend expertise from researchers at RTI and Duke's Department of Economics and Nicholas School of the Environment to create a structure for conducting air quality assessments before shale gas fracking operations begin in a local area. By collecting proper data, researchers will be able to measure the potential air quality impacts from shale gas development and its impact on health outcomes and communities.
Researchers will document the ambient pollution before fracking starts, which is critical to accurately measuring the air quality effects of the practice. The collected data will be merged with birth records, hospital records and schooling data to examine the impact of air toxics and particulate matter on fetal and child health.
The second project is a team combining Duke's Department of Sociology and School of Nursing with public health and health policy researchers in RTI's Aging, Disability, and Long-term Care program. The project will examine methods to improve nursing home care through patient-directed planning integrating resident values, choices and preferences.
The project aims to create a theoretical and an operational framework for person-directed assessment and care planning. After a year of theoretical framing and data collection, the group hopes to submit a proposal to the National Institute of Nursing Research.