August 2019 Newsletter
From the Vice President
I am excited to begin my fourth year at the University of Idaho and support our vibrant research enterprise. I am very fortunate to interface with our fantastic researchers, support staff and administrators who are helping develop solutions for the complex problems facing our society, directly supporting our state’s land-grant research university mission.
Many of society’s challenges today require multidisciplinary research, and our centers and institutes are an important driver for our research enterprise, pioneering programs that keep our university in the forefront as a research and scholarly institution. This month, I would like to highlight two noteworthy developments with our Level III Research Entities.
I’m excited to announce the Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation (IMCI) as a Level III Research Entity, with University Distinguished Professor Holly Wichman as director. Holly has extensive experience with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including 30 years of continuous funding, service on over 40 grant review panels, and service on the Advisory Council for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). IMCI builds on the success of the Center for Modeling Complex Interactions (CMCI) originally funded by a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant from the National Institutes of Health. IMCI’s overarching purpose is to generate and use models that provide novel insights and, in turn, strengthen interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex problems and will make modeling central to research at the University of Idaho. Please join me in thanking Holly for all her vision and leadership.
It is bittersweet to announce that Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI), Ronald Hardy will be stepping down as director and transfer the leadership of ARI to the next generation. During Ron’s time as director, ARI has become an internationally recognized leader in research and education in aquaculture, and accomplishments include many things, such as constructing new facilities in Hagerman and Moscow, establishing partnerships with the USDA-ARS and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC), and playing a pivotal role in developing the $24 million Idaho NSF EPSCoR project. Ron isn’t leaving U of I yet, but he will focus his efforts on the EPSCoR project, mentor ARI faculty and help launch the Office of Research and Economic Development’s new Industrial Affiliates program. Please join me in thanking Ron for his vast contributions over the past 23 years.
I continue to be thankful for the contributions of all our multidisciplinary centers and institutes, including our other two Level III Research Institutes: The Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST) and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI). Although I have highlighted these two particular milestones, it is all the research, scholarship and creative activity across our many disciplines that makes the University of Idaho a great research university. I look forward to the new academic year, learning more of the fantastic activities here and leading our future.
Janet E. Nelson Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
ORED News and Events
U of I Receives DOE Grant for Nuclear Power Simulator
Director of Nuclear Engineering at the U of I Idaho Falls College of Engineering Richard Christensen and colleagues received a $285,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support the installation and use of a nuclear reactor plant simulator. The simulator, built by Oregon-based company NuScale, is a virtual nuclear power plant that provides the ability to observe nuclear plant behavior and facilitates research in human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, cybersecurity and plant control room automation. It can also simulate new small modular reactor (SMR) technology, which U of I is a leader in implementing. The new simulator will be housed at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) at U of I Idaho Falls and be used for research, education, K-12 outreach and public advocacy for nuclear power and small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
U of I Boise, ORED Partner with Community to Launch Women’s Business Center
U of I Boise and ORED’s Economic Development office teamed up with the Idaho Hispanic Foundation to launch a new statewide, community-based Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Idaho. Through this new center, U of I will bring experts and educational opportunities that will help minority and underserved women across Idaho design, launch and grow their businesses. Programs have started in the Treasure and Magic Valleys and are expected to expand across Idaho at U of I Extension Offices and Regional Campuses. U.S. Senator Jim Risch has been working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to bring a WBC back to Idaho, and the formal announcement was made in July at the Idaho State Capital with Idaho Governor Brad Little and other dignitaries. ORED’s Executive Director of Economic Development, Jana Jones, will serve on the WBC board.
ORED VP Discusses Intellectual Property, Innovation in Idaho
Vice President for Research and Economic Development Janet E. Nelson represented the University of Idaho at the Idaho Technology Council’s Vision Idaho event in Boise earlier this month. The event offered a day of learning from some of the state’s biggest visionaries and entrepreneurs whose companies are advancing markets and driving economies. Nelson joined business and government leaders in a panel discussion titled “Innovative Intellectual Property Flips the Idaho Economy”. Vision Idaho is to foster positive change and cooperation among local and industry leaders in order to build a stronger, more innovative economy for Idaho.
Get to Know ORED
Putting Idaho on the Map
Claudio Berti has been working in the state of Idaho for only six months, but he sure knows his territory.
Berti is the digital mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) lab manager for the Idaho Geological Survey (IGS), a state agency associated with the University of Idaho’s Office of Research and Economic Development.
IGS is charged with collecting data on geology, minerals, energy, hazards, land resources and water resources for the people of Idaho.
“In a few words, we collect data from teams of geologists in the field, transferring it from paper to formats that can be shared with the public,” Berti said.
But like in geology, there’s more beneath the surface. On any given day, Berti prioritizes and divides a wide range of tasks among his staff to make this process seamless. Berti’s team processes all information from the field through several software programs that help digitize, categorize, standardize and encode data to nationally accepted GIS standards. Only then is it uploaded into a database for public use.
“Research institutions, governmental entities and professionals from construction, mining and engineering companies use our information,” Berti said. “But our first customer is the state of Idaho and its citizens.”
The public can peruse IGS information through a series of more than 500 geological maps and publications made available on the IGS website. Data from these maps are also synthesized into one interactive map where viewers can see oil and gas deposits, faults, hot springs, geochemistry and other aspects of geologic data. Users can even download the maps as PDF and GIS files, which can be used in combination with proprietary software or freeware to combine and view map data in layers – allowing users to compare the location of minerals with water resource data and other chosen information.
The map data is also sent to the much larger National Geologic Map Database published by the U.S. Geological Survey, which combines geologic map data across the United States.
Berti and IGS staff provide hundreds of other geology-related publications on Idaho that are freely available through the IGS website. These include historic reports on inactive and abandoned mining operations, technical reports and bulletins.
Berti, a geologist, said he enjoys the technical aspects of his work, particularly reviewing geologic maps to make sure the data is consistent, up to specification and representative of reality. He also helps colleagues who work in geology and geography validate datasets for publications and provides internships for U of I students through his office.
Scaling Up for the Future
While IGS has fully mapped Idaho on some level, only one third of the state has been surveyed in close geologic detail.
“IGS has mapped all of Idaho at least to the scale of 1:750,000. This is good for general information,” Berti said. “But a more detailed 1:24,000 scale is what you need to see the origin of the rocks, where the faults are, geologic hazards, water resource and flooding information, and other important details that the public and industries need for engaging in general planning, managing safety, developing infrastructure and accessing resources like water, energy and commodities.”
Berti, who has a passion for the outdoors and a love for unconventional work, shows excitement as he talks about the huge task of exploring the remaining two thirds of Idaho.
“Idaho is a fascinating state because there’s a lot of terrain that hasn’t been closely studied,” he said. “When a team goes into some locations, sometimes they’re going in for the very first time. It’s a frontier for geologists on the ground. Idaho is a very dynamic place for geology, too. It is so complex, complicated and diverse.“
Article by Phillip Bogdan, Office of Research and Economic Development
First U of I Chapter Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors
ORED’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) has established a University of Idaho chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Students and faculty across all colleges are encouraged to attend this first chapter meeting, which will take place, Monday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. Contact Jeremy Tamsen, OTT director, at email@example.com for the meeting location.
Learn Science Diplomacy from one of America’s top Experts
E. William Colglazier, former science and technology advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and current adviser to the UN, will visit our Moscow campus on Monday, September 9, 2019, to discuss science diplomacy practices that support international collaboration in science, technology and innovation. Learn more and register for this free event.
NAS Town Hall and Branches of the Same Tree Event
On Sept. 26th and 27th, the University of Idaho and Washington State University will co-host a local gathering of the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Branches from the Same Tree event, a convening on the integration of the arts, humanities and STEM in higher education. The event will feature a reception and town hall discussion between researchers, faculty and administrators from both institutions and will encourage integrative courses, programs and research. For more information, contact event organizer Scott Slovic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARI Global Aquaculture Meeting and Workshop
U of I’s Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) will discuss the latest research challenges of the global aquaculture industry at its first annual aquaculture research review, workshop, and industrial affiliates meeting on Oct. 29, 2019 at U of I’s Moscow campus. U of I faculty and students with ties to aquaculture and water resources management are encouraged to attend this free event. Learn more and register.
NIH Regional Seminar
An NIH Regional Seminar on program funding and grants administration will take place November 6-8 in Phoenix. Administrators, early-stage investigators, researchers, and graduate students are encouraged to attend and meet with NIH subject experts who can identify the best funding fits for research proposals. Learn more, register, and contact ORED’s Research and Faculty Development team at email@example.com to get the most out of this meeting.
NSF Fall Grants Conference
The Fall 2019 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants Conference will be held Nov. 18-19 this year in Boston. NSF program officers representing each NSF directorate will be on hand to answer questions and provide up-to-date information about funding opportunities. Registration opens Sept. 5 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific and is expected to fill up quickly. View full details.
Sponsored Funding Opportunities
- Faculty Invited to Apply for NSF’s Cloud Access Program. Deadline: Sept. 3
- Faculty Invited to Apply to the NSF Scholarships in S-STEM Program. Deadline: Sept. 9
- Faculty International Seed Grant Available. Deadline: Nov. 1
Three INL Fellowships Awarded to U of I Doctoral Students
Three doctoral students at the University of Idaho’s College of Engineering, James Derrill Richards, Amey Shigrekar, and Kevin Joe Terrill, received prestigious Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Graduate Fellowships. In total, a cohort of 12 doctoral students from across the country received this honor. The three recipients of these competitive fellowships will receive full tuition and fees from U of I during their first to third years of graduate school. INL covers tuition, fees, and a $60,000 annual salary during the final two years of their doctoral research, which will be performed at INL. ORED and INL work closely as co-leaders of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) research consortium, which helps solve regional energy challenges that have national impact. Graduate fellows were selected in degree fields that closely tie to INL’s three mission areas of innovative nuclear energy solutions, other clean energy options and critical infrastructure.
ORED Tip of the Month
Are you PI/PD of an incrementally funded or continuing externally sponsored project, but the amendment has not been received and/or executed? The advance funding process will allow the continuation of work, while your funding or extension request is processing. Your dean, finance director, or equivalent delegate just needs to send the template email, completing the project’s index or grant code as indicated, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Advance funding policy allows for expenditures of 25% of the incoming increment for up to 90 days, unless extenuating circumstances are noted and approved. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development can guarantee advance funding for direct federally funded projects, as long as if your department/college certifies that the project deliverables are up to date and all project compliance is (and will be) maintained. Contracts and non-federal agreements are not eligible for a VPRED guarantee of advance funding, but the college can provide advance funding approval and guarantee, with few exceptions.
Post Award Manager,
Office of Sponsored Programs