UW News

December 14, 2021

Millions in savings from construction of UW’s Hans Rosling Center for Population Health to fund new research

UW News

The new center on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus was built under a design-build strategy that resulted in significant project savings.Mark Stone/University of Washington

Using project savings from the construction of the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health, the University of Washington will fund dozens of new research projects through the Population Health Initiative’s interdisciplinary grant program. The new grants will fall into three tiers, with funding from $20,000 to $200,000 per award.

“We are delighted to have the funding capacity to be able to support the launch of roughly 75 innovative and interdisciplinary projects over the next two years,” said Ali Mokdad, chief strategy officer for population health and a professor in the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “We believe our new tiered approach to granting will engage a broader range of disciplines while also incentivizing the importance of community-based research partnerships.”

The tiers are:

  • Laying the Foundation — for small projects and capacity-building work with community and/or other collaborators that is intended to prepare a team for future projects seeking proof-of-concept. Awards of up to $25,000 are available per project.
  • Establishing Proof-of-Concept — for developing preliminary data or proof-of-concept needed to pursue follow-on funding to scale one’s efforts. Applications will be accepted from faculty members and principal investigator-eligible staff. Awards of up to $50,000 per project — or $65,000 per project for teams proposing meaningful partnerships with community-based organizations.
  • Scaling for Greater Impact — for impactful projects that have developed preliminary data or realized proof-of-concept and are seeking to scale their efforts and/or expand the scope of their work. Awards of up to $150,000 per project — or $200,000 per project for teams proposing meaningful partnerships with community-based organizations.

In 2016, the UW launched its Population Health Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort across the university to bring understanding and solutions to the biggest health challenges facing communities here in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. and around the world.

The Hans Rosling Center for Population Health was made possible by a $210 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2016 and $15 million in earmarked funding from the Washington Legislature, as well as funding from the university. The center opened to the public in the fall of 2021 and is home to the Department of Global Health, the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation, parts of the School of Public Health and the offices of the Population Health Initiative.

The building project was undertaken through a design-build delivery method, which resulted in a savings of roughly $6 million, and was the first and largest integrated design-build project completed on UW’s campus. The design-build team was led by The Miller Hull Partnership and Lease Crutcher Lewis.

With these new grants, the Initiative “seeks to create a world where all people can live healthier and more fulfilling lives,” as stated on its website. The grants are intended to encourage the development of new interdisciplinary collaborations for projects that address critical challenges to population health.

“Faculty are at their best when you give them an opportunity to be innovative and not tell them what to do. If you come to them and say here’s the problem, you come up with the best way to solve it and then we’ll support you to do so — that’s when you get the greatest ideas,” Mokdad said.