Clemson COVID Challenge emphasizes interdisciplinary undergraduate research, partnerships


There is an overwhelming desire to take part in creating solutions that address COVID-19’s impact on our lives. To answer the call, Delphine Dean, the Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation professor in the Department of Bioengineering, partnered with the University’s Creative Inquiry program to create the Clemson COVID Challenge. The virtual summer research and design opportunity is for teams of undergraduate students to work on solutions to problems related to COVID-19 and prepare for potential future pandemics.

What started as an idea has now grown into more than 80 research projects. The student teams are each required to create and submit a dynamic video pitch about their project to secure funding to continue their research projects. Faculty, staff and students are invited to watch the winning video projects at 1 p.m. on June 29 during a virtual open house, which will also include a keynote speaker. Participants can watch by clicking here and then the link to join the event page, which will be available later this week.

The Clemson COVID Challenge officially launched May 1. Since then, more than 400 undergraduate students registered to participate in 82 projects under the guidance of 126 mentors. The Challenge was also open to students and mentors beyond Clemson, with 16 institutions represented, including the University of South Carolina (Beaufort, Columbia and Lancaster campuses), College of Charleston, Furman University, Kampala International University (Uganda), the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Prisma Health, Pennsylvania State University, University of Michigan, Winthrop University, Wofford University and two South Carolina High Schools (J.L Mann and Spring Valley).

The 82 projects fall under one of five categories:

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Healthcare/Technology
  • Policy/Economy/Logistics,
  • Society/Community.

The Clemson COVID Challenge is supported by The Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation Professorship, the College of Computing, Engineering and Applied Science Dean’s Excellence Fund, the Vice President for Research, and the Creative Inquiry & Undergraduate Research Program at Clemson University. Additional support is provided by the University of South Carolina’s Vice President for Research, College of Engineering and Computing, and Office of Undergraduate Research.

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