Illinois faculty attend final National Academies interdisciplinary conference


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Toussaint, Grigsby-Toussaint, and Dankowicz.
Toussaint, Grigsby-Toussaint, and Dankowicz.
Associate Professor Kimani Toussaint and Professor Harry Dankowicz, from MechSE, along with Associate Professor Diana Grigsby-Toussaint (Department of Kinesiology and Community Health), were among just 150 people selected by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) to attend the final conference hosted by the program.

Toussaint was one of nine attendees asked to give a keynote presentation about his research and to discuss the role that the NAKFI program has played in shaping his work. All three Illinois faculty had opportunities to present their work during interactive poster sessions.

This year’s conference, “Beyond Boundaries: 15 Years of Exploring Intersections in Science, Engineering, and Medicine,” took place in Irvine, California, last month. The NAKFI program is overseen by the presidents of the thre National Academies. The focus of this final NAKFI conference was to explore themes of Health and Medicine; Human-Technology Interfaces; Environments and Systems; and Education and Outreach.

“The NAKFI conferences are always so different from the traditional technical conferences that we typically attend. NAKFI likes to specifically bring people from different disciplines to brainstorm on very big-picture, futuristic ideas. It’s too bad it was the last conference,” said Toussaint. 

The Keck Futures Initiative, launched in 2003 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with the support from W.M. Keck Foundation aims to stimulate new modes of scientific inquiry and break down barriers to interdisciplinary research in funding agencies, academic and other research settings, publication and academia.

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This story was published December 19, 2017.