The September issue of Montana NSF EPSCoR's quarterly newsletter, with articles on research activities, new faculty hires, outreach programs, and diversity initiatives, is now available.
The C2 project provided the groundwork for a recently awarded a grant of nearly half a million dollars through the National Science Foundation to support a project which will improve the University of Montana’s cyberinfrastructure. The two-year Campus Cyberinfrastructure-Network Infrastructure and Engineering Program (CC-NIE) project is under the guidance of Drs. Loey Knapp, Jeffrey Good, Anna Klene, John McCutcheon, and Rebecca Bendick. UM's ARNI project will assist in procuring a 1Gb dedicated connection at the desktop level as well as a dual 10Gb shared connection at the building level for several key sites housing active research requiring heavy bandwidth. This effort will greatly enhance the ability of researchers to actively participate in their fields, work in collaboration with other researchers at the national and international level, and broaden the impact of their research efforts. Specific areas of research to be affected by the ARNI project include studies of animal-microbial symbioses, mountain pine beetle-induced changes in forest infrastructure and hydrology (and subsequent impact on fire management), and geodynamics research in relation to earthquakes in the developing world.
Fifteen Montana University System undergraduates have received summer internships to research climate science related projects at sites throughout Montana. The Institute on Ecosystems students will work with faculty at The University of Montana and Montana State University on a variety of projects, studying everything from elk, marmots and snowshoe hares to Ponderosa pines and microscopic cyanobacteria. The students' research findings will be presented at the Institute on Ecosystems annual summit meeting in Helena on Aug. 21 to 23. “We are excited to fund these students and look forward to their findings,” said Ric Hauer, Institute on Ecosystems director at UM. “One of our institute's primary goals is to support the next generation of ecosystem scientists. These students are our future.”
Joe Fanguy, director of Technology transfer at the University of Montana (UM), is heading up EPSCoR's workforce development efforts at UM as director of the Montana Technology Enterprise Center (MonTEC), a business incubator in Missoula. MonTEC provides space, services, and support for startup businesses in Montana, with long term goals of growing and diversifying Montana’s economic base.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the worlds largest scientific society, which recognizes scientists for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. Cathy Whitlock, MSU director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and professor of Earth science, was named a AAAS Fellow this year, one of only19 inductees who specialize in geology or geography. Commenting on her achievement, Whitlock said "The university has given me the freedom to pursue questions of my choice and to go to the far ends of the planet to them. It also has provided the opportunity to pass the thrill of scientific discovery onto students, and this combination of learning and teaching is one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable."
Two Montana Institute on the Ecosystems (IoE) Research Associates have been featured on the 'Cores of Discovery' show on Montana Public Radio. Dr. Ric Hauer, director of the IoE at UM, was featured on December 7th, 2012, and Dr. Maury Valett, an IoE research fellow discussing water quality in the Flathead River, was featured on December 21st. Tune in or listen to recorded podcasts to learn more.
Four MSU Undergraduates Chosen for Applied Internship Program
In the new internship program offered through the Thermal Biology Institute (TBI), students work on campus directly with MSU faculty members, then complete an internship with industry research partners. The four students selected, and the locations of their summer internships, are Conner Bailey (Pacific Northwest National Labs), Evangaline Koonce (National Renewable Energy Lab), Daniel McDonald (Lucigen Corporation), and Laura Whitmore (Pacific Northwest National Labs). The program, supported by Montana NSF EPSCoR, is designed to promote lasting relationships between TBI and partners in industry and at national laboratories.
UM Associate Professor, Tony Ward, received a National Institute of Health Science Education Partnership Award to develop inquiry-based science lessons that will prepare middle and high school students to conduct research studies on air pollutants. Teachers who are involved in the project will receive training, curriculum and air-sampling equipment to guide environmental health science education.
UM professor Alison Perkins has received a National Science Foundation grant to enhance the quality and quantity of environmental science news reaching Montana's reservations and rural areas.
IoE focus area lead Geoff Poole has received a National Science Foundation grant to study the effects of logjams on streams. His project, entitled "Leaky River: Nutrient Retention and Productivity in Rocky Mountain Streams Under Alternative Stable States" will examine logjams and jam-associated processes across a gradient of streams, including streams in old-growth forests, unmanaged younger forests, and intensively managed forests. This work will provide the first landscape-scale assessment of the effects of jam removal on stream ecosystems.
Montana State University Breaks Record for Research Dollars in 2011
Montana State University had a record $112.3 million in research expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30. Almost $10 million more than last year and $2.8 million more than the previous record set two years ago, the record reflects the university's continued strength in biomedical sciences, energy, and the environment, administrators said. "MSU faculty have proven once again that they are players in a national arena," said MSU President Waded Cruzado. "Not only do they conduct significant research, but they win federal funding to carry out their work even when the field is crowded and the competition intense."
Montana Innovators joined Governor Schweitzer and MSU President Waded Cruzado on August 28th for a high-level panel discussion about investing in and fostering Montana's innovation-driven economy, followed by an awards dinner celebrating select Montana companies for excellence in innovation. Panelists included Dan Berglund, President and CEO of the State Science and Technology Institute, a non-profit organization that leads, supports, and strengthens efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology and innovation, Joe Fanguy, Chief Commercialization Officer at the University of Montana, and Rebecca Mahurin, Director of the Technology Transfer Office at Montana State University.
The August 10 workshop, developed by MSU's Extended University, was part of a public outreach program of Montana NSF EPSCoR called Climate In My Backyard (CLIMB). Participants learned how researchers within the Montana University System and the new Montana Institute on Ecosystems are using GPS/GIS to study everything from noxious weeds to water quality, and practiced using GPS and smart-phone apps in the field to idenfity and report noxious weed infestations. Each participant received a Garmin Montana 650t GPS receiver and several books and educational resources. They will take part in a year-long project that helps students learn about climate science- and ecology-based research by identifying and mapping noxious weeds in their communities.
Announced during the Innovate Montana Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day on June 21st, the MCA will work to support and enhance growth in the clean-technology industry in the state by increasing awareness of Montana's existing clean-tech sector. The alliance will help clean-tech companies create jobs, access capital, invest and improve their ability to compete in the global marketplace. UM’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, will help support the MCA over the next several years. The outreach and workforce development effort under EPSCoR focuses on private sector collaborations in conjunction with the Montana Institute on Ecosytems.
Recently, a team of world-class climbers summited Mount Everest in an effort to explore the effects of climate change on the region and provide education to young students through the Climate Change in my Backyard (CLiMB) program. Team member Dr. Dave Lageson, a Montana State University geology professor, provides a rigorous scientific complement to the expedition's climbing goals. Read more about the impact of this achievement in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.