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Three EE Faculty Honored with UW Innovation Awards 

Of 14 researchers recognized with 2015 UW Innovation Awards, three Electrical Engineering Faculty are honored for their innovative work: Shwetak Patel, Payman Arabshahi and Vikram Jandhyala. The UW Innovation Awards recognize outstanding researchers in engineering, health and social sciences and are divided into two categories: research and education. The researchers will receive funding to pursue cutting edge projects that show promise, but may not yet qualify for external grants.

Shwetak Patel, who has a joint appointment in Computer Science & Engineering, and his team are honored with one of five Innovation Research Awards. Funding their research project, together with four others, $1.3 million in funding will be distributed during the next two years. Patel’s team, comprised of six faculty, is working to create a mobile device that allows patients to enter information related to health problems, with the goal of making it easier for doctors to diagnose and treat ailments. Other members of the team include James Fogarty from Computer Science and Engineering, Julie Kientz and Sean Munson from Human-Centered Design and Engineering, Jasmine Zia from UW Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Roger Vilardaga from Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Payman Arabshahi and Vikram Jandhyala, who is Vice Provost for Innovation at CoMotion, together with their team, were honored with the sole Innovation Education Award. During the next two years, $200,000 will help fund the creation of a web-based program to help students, regardless of their major, learn entrepreneurial thinking skills. A new entrepreneurial thinking course will be developed for students who are outside the business and engineering fields and sustained advising will be provided for a select group of Undergraduate Innovation Fellows. The program aims to create stronger problem-solving skills and provide mentoring and a support network to students to make them stronger innovators. The idea originated as a way to address a learning gap for education related to innovation, which is primarily based on traditional curricular models and does not adequately provide students with the skills needed to pursue entrepreneurship. The project will leverage the collective experience of faculty from various departments to pilot the groundbreaking educational initiative, which will have campus-wide impact. Other team members are Gina Neff from the Department of Communication and Vipin Kumar from Mechanical Engineering.

Congratulations to Shwetak, Payman and Vikram!

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