The Rice University COVID-19 Research Fund Oversight and Review Committee has awarded nine final grants to faculty working to mitigate the effects of the new coronavirus.
Researchers at Rice, some with collaborators at other institutions, will study social, political, psychological and epidemiological aspects of COVID-19, as well as the development of genetic tools, a new ventilator design, a method to efficiently schedule nurses and social distancing performance protocols for musicians at the Houston Symphony and elsewhere.
The grants are part of the third and final round to be backed by the fund, which announced its first round on April 20 and second round on May 7. The committee is led by Marcia O’Malley, the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of computer science. O’Malley is a special adviser to the provost on educational and research initiatives for collaborative health.
The winning proposals from CAAM faculty are:
Andrew Schaefer, Illya Hicks and Joseph Huchette of Rice and Nicole Fontenot of Houston Methodist Hospital will use optimization models to plan nursing schedules during times of uncertainty, when a hospital’s needs are highly variable. Their proposed approach will use stochastic programming (a modeling under uncertainty framework) to allow for improved and dynamic decision making using forecast demand.
Schaefer is the Noah Harding Chair and a professor of computational and applied mathematics and of computer science. Hicks is a professor of computational and applied mathematics. Huchette is an assistant professor of computational and applied mathematics. Fontenot is an instructor in nursing at Methodist.