SIF 143 Virginia Initiative on Cosmic Origins (VICO)

Project Manager: Eric Herbst

Establish an inter-disciplinary and international research program in Cosmic Origins science.

BoV Approved: December 2017

Project Dates: 4/01/2018 – 6/30/2021

Funding Awarded: $1,000,000

Executive Summary

Among the most important questions in science are those that relate to the origins and prevalence of life in the universe. A $1,000,000 Strategic Investment Fund award approved by the Board of Visitors in December 2017 supports the establishment of the Virginia Initiative on Cosmic Origins to foster collaborations that will transform understanding of the key physical and chemical processes involved in the formation of habitable planets. This investment leverages the University’s close ties to the federally-funded National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and funding matches from the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany and the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Based at the University of Virginia, the interdisciplinary research center will be led by faculty from the departments of astronomy and chemistry and will involve colleagues from computer science, environmental sciences and materials science and engineering. Their work with partners outside the University will help to establish UVA’s preeminence in the emerging field of cosmic origins.

Current Status: Active