Our education, research, scholarship and creative activities, and service are designed to accelerate solutions to humanity’s grand challenges—within our communities and around the globe.
The University of Maryland’s largest and most comprehensive program of its kind, the Grand Challenge Grants program will provide $30 Million in institutional funds to support initiatives and projects designed to accelerate solutions to the grand challenges of our time.
Grand Challenges Grants
The Grand Challenge Grants program awarded three Institutional Grants, six Impact Awards, 16 Team Projects, and 25 Single Investigator awards, for a total of 50 projects and $30 Million. 185 faculty members are participating and every college is represented with at least 2 projects. The projects address a number of different societally important topics such as climate change, social and racial justice, literacy, water safety and security, democracy, values-centered artificial intelligence, and pandemic preparedness, among others. The program received a total of 135 applications.
The Division of Research will be working with Grand Challenge Grants project leaders to track the impact of their innovative projects and share the latest news.
The University of Maryland is redoubling its efforts to fight climate change, committing to carbon neutrality by 2025 through a mix of infrastructure improvements, electric vehicle purchases and targeted investments in sustainability.
Climate Action Plan Goals
Through the public-private NextGen Energy Program, the university in 2023 will begin to modernize UMD’s aging energy system, which provides heating, cooling and electricity to campus. Under this program, the university is now committed to achieving a fossil-fuel free power plant by 2035.
Vehicles in the university fleet of light-duty trucks will be replaced with more sustainable electric models, or not at all, as they age out of service, and the administration will seek grants and other financial incentives to help replace costly vehicles like diesel buses.
Verified carbon offsets—investments that fund projects to cut greenhouse gasses elsewhere in order to compensate for campus emissions—for now remain part of UMD’s approach to reaching carbon neutrality and include building wind farms, capturing methane gas emitted from landfills and reducing emissions from freight transport.
The 120 Initiative is a consortium of universities and colleges in the Washington metropolitan area committed to the reduction of gun violence.
120 Initiative on Gun Violence Prevention
The 120 Initiative, named in honor of the average daily number of people who die from shootings, is leveraging college and university expertise to offer actionable solutions to reduce this grim toll locally and globally.
The effort will engage experts in a wide range of fields and topics, including criminology, public and mental health, polarization, business sector engagement, citizen advocacy, education and technology. After analyzing available research, the 120 Initiative will suggest evidence-based, practical steps that people and institutions can take, individually and collectively, to drive down gun violence.
The 1856 Project will provide a narrative of the University of Maryland’s history that embraces its past, stands firm in the challenges and achievements of its present, and lays the groundwork for a more equitable future.
The 1856 Project
The 1856 Project investigates the history of the African American experience on campus and in the surrounding community, analyzes documentation on The University of Maryland’s historical connections to U.S. slavery and its legacies, and publishes findings to campus stakeholders and the public with clearly defined reparative outcomes. The project is The University of Maryland’s chapter of Universities Studying Slavery (USS), a multi-institutional international consortium.
The University of Maryland is a powerhouse of quantum discovery, and is building on decades of leadership in advancing quantum science and technology to create an inclusive, regional quantum innovation ecosystem.
The Capital of Quantum
A growing collection of quantum-focused centers housed at UMD are creating a new wave of discovery, cutting across disciplines including physics, engineering, computer science, chemistry and mathematics. For example, the Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation, one of five NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes nationwide, launched in 2022 and expands research at the junction of quantum physics, computer science and information theory, enabling the full potential of quantum computing.
Others include the globally renowned Joint Quantum Institute, a longtime research partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Laboratory for Physical Sciences.
The university has invested $20 million to accelerate practical quantum computing and networking through the National Quantum Laboratory (QLab) partnership with IonQ, a company partially founded on research conducted at UMD that became the first publicly traded pure-play quantum computing company in 2021. The QLab physical space opened in September, 2023 in UMD’s Discovery District, and supports projects exploring how quantum computers can help improve machine learning and AI, materials discovery, supply chain logistics, climate modeling, cybersecurity and more.
UMD is also preparing the quantum workforce through an undergraduate quantum information specialization in computer science, training for local K-12 teachers, and summer programs for high school and middle school female and underrepresented minority students.
Regionally, UMD leads the Mid-Atlantic Quantum Alliance of partners from government, industry, academia and nonprofits. UMD’s Quantum Startup Foundry works with innovative startups to move emerging quantum technologies from the lab to commercial development.
Invest in faculty, student, staff, alum, and partner capacity to take on grand challenges through multidisciplinary and engaged research and curricular innovations.
Leverage our location near the state and nation’s capitals to advance and support evidence-based policy that addresses grand challenges at community, state, national, and global levels.
Amplify impactful research, scholarship, creative activities, teaching, and service work through communication, visibility, and translation.
FEARLESSLY FORWARD IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE AND IMPACT FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD: THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND STRATEGIC PLAN is a living document and will evolve and grow as we do. Please visit this site to follow our progress as we move fearlessly forward.