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Applied Math’s Sonja Petrović and Lulu Kang, Psychology’s Mahima Saxena Receive $40,000 CISC Seed Grant

The Center for Interdisciplinary Scientific Computation (CISC) at Illinois Tech has awarded a $40,000 seed grant to Sonja Petrović and Lulu Kang, associate professors of applied mathematics, and Mahima Saxena, assistant professor of psychology. The grant is for an interdisciplinary project that combines statistics, computational mathematics, and psychological sciences to study worker experiences specific to occupational health psychology.

Specifically, the project will develop computational models to understand the changing nature of employee health and well-being. They will also address computational problems that accompany such statistical models. The substantive goal of this project is to ultimately have a deeper understanding of the experiences that impact workplace behaviors so that workers have positive daily experiences, both in and outside of the workplace. This is especially relevant given today’s highly stressed workforce.

“One goal of the CISC is to promote cross-disciplinary scientific computation research that attracts significant external funding,” said Fred Hickernell, director of the center and professor of applied mathematics. “Through our lunchtime matchmaking seminars, we connect researchers with potential collaborators. The CISC seed grant goes a step further by providing up to funding for one year to a research project that demonstrates the potential of attracting external funding.

“Last fall we received several strong proposals,” he continued. “The project selected made the best case that the funding sought would substantially increase the possibility of external funding for cross-disciplinary scientific computation research. Funding agencies often look for a track record and/or preliminary results, and the seed grant facilitates that by providing the investigators the extra resources they need to develop those. We hope to be able to award seed grants annually.”

Sonja Petrović, Lulu Kang, Mahima Saxena


From left: Sonja Petrović, Lulu Kang, Mahima Saxena