To accelerate the collaboration between VinUni and Illinois (UIUC) in conducting research on novel sensing and informatics to provide widely accessible health monitoring, screening, and diagnostics for people all over the world. The VinUni-Illinois Smart Health Center “VISHC” will be formed and funded by about ten selected projects, each led by at least one faculty member from VinUni and one faculty member from Illinois. Each selected project will include the faculty from VinUni and Illinois jointly recruiting and advising Ph.D. students, Postdoc, and Master students. With this program, VISHC will seek to become a hub of groundbreaking collaborative research on digital health, forging vital connections among researchers, students, staff from two institutions, and external partners. This research funding aims to bring ideas and powerful innovations that positively impact healthcare for people worldwide.
II. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The VISHC Research Funding Program will support VinUni research in meeting the following outcomes. Accordingly, the decision to award funding for a research proposal will be guided by the extent to which submitted proposals meet these considerations.
- Foster a long-term academic and research collaboration between VinUni and Illinois by leveraging the strengths of both institutions. In particular, this collaboration aims to develop low-cost smart health technologies to improve public healthcare systems, including but not limited to early disease prediction solutions, which are accessible to all people worldwide. Also, build new and lasting interdisciplinary research collaborations across VinUni and other collaborators and partners.
- Form and provide research funding for about 10 selected projects that focus on smart healthcare and biomedical research with meaningful impact and intellectual advancement. Each project will be led by at least one faculty member from VinUni and one faculty member from Illinois, jointly advising about 5 Ph.D. students, 1 Postdoc Scholar, and some Master students.
- Through 10 funded projects, training 50 Master students at UIUC, 25 PhDs with degrees from UIUC and 25 PhDs with degrees from VinUni, and 10 Postdoc Scholars. The Ph.D. students can optionally seek master’s degrees from either institution during their Ph.D. studies. Each VISHC Ph.D. student will be co-advised by faculty at both institutions. Typically, a Ph.D. student will be admitted and spend the first two years at the degree-seeking (home) institution, then the next two years at the other (host) institution, and then the final year back at the home institution to defend their thesis.
- Publish about 200 papers on top tier-journal and conferences, co-authored by VinUni and UIUC faculty and researchers.
- Create about 50 patents, co-ownership by VinUni and UIUC, in which VinUni has the right to negotiate for commercialization.
- Create a sustainable research collaboration between VinUni and UIUC with strong future external funding potentials.
The VISHC Research Funding Program is expected to launch annually in January and July between 2022 – 2026. Research projects funded through this program are expected to be completed within five years. However, longer projects and extensions will be allowed as needed.
- From 2021 – 2023, total ten projects will be selected.
- From 2022 – 2026, recruit additional 10 Ph.D. students and 2 Postdoc Scholars each year.
- From 2024 – 2028, recruit additional 10 Master students each year.
IV. BUDGETING AND BILLING
Budgeting requirements are following the principles and guidelines below.
- The VISHC Research Funding Program, through the 1.1000 Vingroup scholarship program, will provide full scholarships for Master, PhD students involved in 10 selected projects.
- The program provides a comprehensive salary and other benefits for Postdoc Scholars.
- In addition to scholarships, each selected project will be awarded $260K ($130K for each site). These findings may be used by the faculty advisors to support the research of the PhD student and the project, in which 5 PhDs x 20K, 1 Postdoc x 10K and 20K will be reserved for traveling and other logistic activities.
- $20K will be made available to the faculty thesis advisor when each PhD student enrolls at the home institution, and then another $20K to the faculty co-thesis advisor when the student visits the host institution.
- Payment guidelines: The payment will be performed periodically three times per year. UIUC sends an invoice to VinA including tuition fee, research grant, and operating fee at the end of each semester according to the actual number of students recruited. VinA will make the payment within 30 days from the date of receipt of the invoice and supporting documents. For Master and Ph.D. students, VinA will pay directly.
V. PROJECT SELECTION
The VISHC Scientific Committee is responsible for establishing the policies and procedures of the VISHC Research Funding Program. The project selection and reporting will be managed jointly by the Illinois Grainger College of Engineering (UIUC Scientific Committee), and VinUniversity (VinUni Scientific Committee). These policies and procedures are based on criteria agreed between VinUni and Illinois. General review criteria include:
- Intellectual merit and quality of research plan.
- Potential impact on the wellness and health of people all over the world.
- Number and quality of PhD students and their theses that would be recruited and graduated with VISHC scholarships as a result of the UIUC faculty – VinUni faculty partnership.
- Pathway for a suitable research collaboration between VinUni and Illinois with strong future external funding potential.
The submission, review, and approval processes are summarized as follows:
- The faculty from both institutions are invited to submit three-page collaborative proposals via our Online Submission System.
- The VISHC office will review the proposals and ensure they are complete and meet the program’s requirements.
- The VinUni Scientific Committee will review and rate specific attributes of the proposals and provide written comments supporting their ratings. The committee has members who individually score each proposal according to the 4 listed criteria above and then meet to discuss ranking and overall recommendation.
- The UIUC Research Office then uses the overall scores and ranking and makes final recommendations. VISHC then combines the recommendations from 2 university scientific committees and only selects proposals that both universities recommend.
- Based on the review and recommendations from the Scientific Committee, the VISHC Director will make the final decision.
- The VISHC office will communicate the final decision to the PI. If the project is funded, the PI is responsible for following the necessary steps (TBD).
Details of proposal guidelines are provided in VISHC Call for Proposals. For questions about the proposal process, please contact Don Takehara (email@example.com). For questions about VinUni-Illinois Smart Health Center, please contact Prof. Minh Do (firstname.lastname@example.org).
VI.CHANGES TO THE APPROVED RESEARCH
Should the PI see the need to make significant changes in the scope of work, design, objectives, or research approaches, the PI must contact the VISHC office, describing the changes and the rationale and getting approval for the revised scope of work and research approach.
- The PI will submit the required technical and project update reports once a year
, using the template provided (TBD). PIs have to provide reports benchmarked with 4 listed criteria with corresponding metrics (e.g., number of joint papers, patents, PhD students, or external funding).
- Fundings may be stopped if the PI does not report or does not conduct the project as committed in their research proposal.
- At the conclusion of the project, the PI will provide a complete report of the expenses, research outcomes, publications or manuscripts or working papers, and plans for future work.
- In addition to written reports, the research team may be invited to present the outcomes in a workshop, symposium, or conference organized by VinUni, UIUC, or VinFuture Prize Foundation.