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Taylor Geospatial Institute Awards $1.7 Million in Seed Grants to Advance Collaborative Research

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
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ST. LOUIS – The Taylor Geospatial Institute today awards its first $1.7 million in Geospatial Institute Seed Grant Program to stimulate Collaborative Research (GISCoR) grants to research faculty across its partner institutions. These seed grants are designed to encourage collaborative research and provide researchers with resources to advance geospatial science through innovative research projects. 

Each proposal brings together researchers from multiple institutions across the consortium. 

The TGI consortium includes Saint Louis University, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Harris-Stowe State University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Missouri University of Science & Technology, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Washington University in St. Louis. Collectively, these institutions encompass more than 5,000 faculty and 100,000 students.  

TGI’s mission is to advance geospatial science through multi-institutional, interdisciplinary collaborations to create innovative, real-world solutions to societal grand challenges. It supports a collaborative research and training environment. 

TGI builds on St. Louis’ significant geospatial assets and is funded by a legacy investment by Andrew C. Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings, Inc. and Founding Chair of Greater St. Louis, Inc. with supporting investments from each of the eight member institutions. 

Beyond creating new connections to strengthen the consortium, the exploratory research projects are expected to lead to multi-institutional research grants from external funding agencies.  

The seed grants awarded by the Institute will support research projects that use geospatial science and tools to address real-world problems in areas such as digital agriculture, digital twins, climate change, public health and developing artificial intelligence tools. These projects span the Institute’s research focus areas of core geospatial science, food systems, geospatial health and national security.  

“We are excited to support the innovative research projects of our partners and foster collaborations among researchers across different institutions,” said Vasit Sagan, Ph.D., Taylor Geospatial Institute acting director. “These seed grants will provide the necessary resources to jump-start promising projects that use geospatial technology to address critical societal challenges.”

The GISCoR grants support two types of research projects – four $200,000 development grants designed to create large-scale multi-disciplinary research teams and smaller exploratory grants designed to investigate innovative ideas. 

The development research projects and principal investigators are as follows: 

 The exploratory research projects and principal investigators include:

“I am grateful to the Taylor Geospatial Institute for this early career support of my research with this seed funding,” said Aydin. “The funds will enable my lab to kickstart efforts to build an urban sensing IoT framework for post-consumer waste, the 'internet-of-waste,' which, powered by geospatial artificial intelligence, will be the backbone of a digital nervous system for sustainable cities.”

Saint Louis University 

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.