Organized by the Office of the Provost in partnership with WVU Health Sciences and the WVU Research Office, the Academic Innovation Summit brought together nearly 60 University and community members for a two-day, hackathon-style event. Teams were presented with specific challenges facing rural Appalachia and asked to develop and pitch actionable and impactful programs to a panel of reviewers.
Leaders and experts from across the University served as Challenge Ambassadors to present specific challenge statements for identified topics related to rural communities. Teams were assigned to a topic and charged with developing novel solutions leading to new in-demand curricula, cutting-edge research and impactful outreach. Facilitators from the WVU ADVANCE Center guided teams through the ideation-to-pitch process.
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A panel of University and outside experts heard the teams’ pitches and selected the top proposals that they believed showed the most promise and potential impact. They allocated more than $400,000 to three projects. Learn more about the review panel.
The “SmartAg WV” will use data and automation to improve the efficiency and capacity of small-scale farming in West Virginia and the related artisan food production industry.Read More
The “Community Engagement Collaborative” will provide mini-grants to support students who will develop and deploy community engagement projects that will provide them with real-world experience and positively impact local communities.Read More
The “Visiting Neighbor Program” will train senior citizens in sample communities to “visit” elderly neighbors to provide companionship, educate seniors on healthy lifestyle choices, and connect them to helpful resources in the community and online.Read More
Funding for the event and the awards was provided through a variety of sources, including WVU Health Sciences, the West Virginia Department of Education, the Provost’s Foundation funds, and private donors, including Nathalie and Wes Bush, who sponsored the event itself.
Panel members ultimately decided to allocate an additional $70,000 to provide planning grants of up to $10,000 to each of the seven remaining teams.