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Impact and Outcomes


Throughout the research networking luncheon series, faculty have presented to their colleagues, using their presentations as vehicles to share recent projects; to solicit new ideas, approaches, and methods for works in progress; to explore research challenges faced; to pose complex technical as well as philosophical questions; and to find new collaborators.

Groups also engage in activities to foster networking, to initiate and build collaborations, to brainstorm new ideas, to look collectively across presentations to identify larger themes for future pursuit, and to identify potential grant and publication opportunities for further exploration.

The sessions also provide an ideal venue for announcing and promoting upcoming events on both Northwestern campuses and in the Chicagoland area. Each group generally includes representatives from the Office of Research Development, Foundation Relations, Corporate Engagement, INVO, University Libraries, the Buffett Institute, and other administrators who routinely share upcoming calls for proposals for funding and who use their vantage points to suggest faculty connections across disciplines.

Based on the results of end-of-year feedback surveys, it is clear that faculty value this type of collaboration mechanism and view it as a differentiator for Northwestern:


Over the past six years, faculty participants have reported that connections and collaborations made during these luncheons have led to guest lecturing in other group members’ classes, designing new interdisciplinary undergraduate course modules, submitting graduate cluster proposals, co-advising graduate students, co-hosting workshops and conferences, submitting research grant proposals, and co-authoring publications.

Group members have been energized to collaborate beyond the luncheons to bring research concepts to the larger community through symposia on topics such as micro-grids across the United States and water in Israel and the Middle East; a Domain Dinner on neuroscience; a Domain Dialogues on data-informed and community-engaged research in Chicagoland; and participation in an international conference on computational social sciences.

A subset of faculty from the 2019-2020 Food-Energy-Water Nexus and Addressing Climate Change groups was selected to receive funding after participation in the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs Idea Incubation Workshop with their project entitled “Disproportionate Effects of Environmental Challenges.” 

Additionally, several faculty were involved with One Book One Northwestern for 2021-2022 – The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here, by geobiologist Hope Jahren.

On a larger scale, research collaborations fostered through the luncheons have led to at least 16 external grants totaling nearly $12 million, including the following:

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