ASU researchers recognized as changemakers by MacArthur Foundation

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ASU researchers recognized as changemakers by MacArthur Foundation

April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017

Three ASU professors were recently highlighted by the MacArthur Foundation and recognized as "changemakers" during MacArthur's $100 million, “100&Change” grant competition.


ASU’s Rolf Halden, Leah Gerber and Rimjhim Aggarwal were recognized as "top 200" entries among the nearly thousand applicants in the competition.


This year’s competition was unusual in the fact that the MacArthur Foundation changed their grant making approach to have a big impact on major world issues by pooling funds to create one colossal award. The top 200 applications came from a vast array of nonprofit organizations with grand ideas to create meaningful and lasting change in public health, environmental conservation and more. No field was off limits.


At the Biodesign Institute, Rolf Halden’s proposal was to establish an international “human health observatory.” The goal of his project was to create a new worldwide observatory that can monitor daily human consumption patterns revealed from the waste found in our sewers ----as a proxy to understanding the health of our cities.

Although none of the ASU proposals were selected to be one of the eight semi-finalists, they will be featured on MacArthur’s “100&Change” website. The proposals won’t be considered for future funding, but the competition is an opportunity to receive critical feedback on proposal ideas and concepts by an independent review panel.

“The MacArthur challenge program presents a rare funding opportunity to translate the latest discoveries in science into tangible benefits for human health and our planet,” said Halden. “Partaking in the MacArthur Challenge presented a great opportunity to disseminate and vet new, promising ideas on how to create a safer, healthier and a more equitable future.”

From the proposals finalists, a grant for $100 million will be awarded to a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant societal issue. With such a large grant, the foundation wants to identify and fund a solution that might otherwise be unattainable through smaller rounds of funding.

Selection of the final award recipient will take place in the fall this year.



Written by: Gavin Maxwell