NSF Track-1 Award

National Science Foundation (NSF)
EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 Awards:
2014-2020 NSF EPSCoR Track-1 Cooperative Agreement, Award Number 1355466
Principal Investigator (PI): Kelly A. Rusch, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE; NDSU
Co-PIs: John Mihelich, Ph.D.; UND and Jean Ostrom-Blonigen, Ph.D., CPA; ND EPSCoR

What is the Track-1?
Innovative and Strategic Program Initiatives for Research and Education-North Dakota (INSPIRE-ND)
, ND EPSCoR’s oldest NSF cooperative agreement, in its seventh year and carries an 80/20% federal/state match.[1]

Track-1 Impact
In addition to the funding the research activities of these two centers, INSPIRE-ND faculty researchers at the 11 participating CRCS and CSMS campuses were eligible to compete for additional funding opportunities. View the INSPIRE-ND funding opportunity awardees.

Building on strategic NSF and ND investments made since ND EPSCoR began, INSPIRE-ND has:

  • developed two new research platforms through the Center for Regional Climate Change (CRCS) and the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS)
  • fostered critical research infrastructure, and
  • integrated research, education and human resources with workforce development initiatives to strengthen the state’s overall research competitiveness.

The collective impact has been active involvement in research, outreach, education, and diversity activities throughout the state.

The 11 ND EPSCoR-participating institutions include three primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI), one master's college/university (MCU), five tribal colleges/universities (TCU), and two research universities (RU). Their participation in each Center is outlined below.

[1] Unlike a grant, a cooperative agreement is “a type of assistance award which may be used when the project being supported requires substantial agency involvement during the project performance period”. As a result, shown by the documents below, NSF has been substantially involved in the technical, managerial, and coordination activities of ND EPSCoR’s INSPIRE-ND project.

Track-1 Participants

Center for Regional Climate Studies (CRCS)

  • About CRCS: Global climate impacts both regional weather and agricultural productivity. Through modeling and simulation efforts, CRCS seeks to understand how climate impacts North Dakota hydrology, land health and use, biomass production, and human behavior, related to agriculture.
  • Participant Institutions:
    • Dickinson State University (DSU, located in Dickinson, ND)
    • North Dakota State University (NDSU, located in Fargo, ND)
    • Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC, located in New Town, ND)
    • Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC, located in Belcourt, ND)
    • United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, located in Bismarck, ND)
    • University of North Dakota (UND, located in Grand Forks, ND)
    • Valley City State University (VCSU, located in Valley City, ND)

Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS)

  • CSMS faculty
  • About CSMS: CSMS seeks to advance discoveries of bio-based, sustainable materials that can replace petrochemicals in common materials and coatings. The research focuses on using ND agricultural products that can contribute to the state's economy, while finding new uses for these lower cost and renewable feedstocks that are environmentally considerate.   
  • Participant Institutions:
    • Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC, located in Fort Totten, ND)
    • Mayville State University (located in Mayville, ND)
    • Minot State University (located in Minot, ND)
    • North Dakota State University (NDSU, located in Fargo, ND)
    • Sitting Bull College (SBC, located in Fort Yates, ND)
    • University of North Dakota (UND, located in Grand Forks, ND)

Track-1 Research Programmatic Element Participants

The Track-1 Research Programmatic Element Participants include participants in:

  • Diversity
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Partnerships, Collaborations and Communications


Track-1 Strategic Plan

Track-1 Report Booklet

The ND EPSCoR Track-1 research booklet (2017) features participants and their research in the Center for Regional Climate Studies and the Center for Sustainable Materials Science under the current NSF EPSCoR Track-1 cooperative agreement.

Cover page image of the July 2017 Track-1 Research Report Booklet

Track-1 Researcher Documents

State Strategic Plan for Science & Technology in North Dakota:

Research Impacts

Year 5 (August 2018 - July 2019)

Year 4 (August 2017 - July 2018)

Year 3 (August 2016 - July 2017)

Year 2 (August 2015 - July 2016)

Year 1 (August 2014 - July 2015)

ND EPSCoR NSF RII Track-1 INSPIRE-ND External Advisory Board

The NSF RII Track-1 INSPIRE-ND External Advisory Board (EAB) is composed of seven individuals from universities and organizations outside of North Dakota who provide insight and support for the current Track-1 effort.

NSF RII Track-1 INSPIRE-ND External Advisory Board

Kathryn Uhrich, Ph.D.; Board Chair
College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
University of California - Riverside

James Kenar, Ph.D.; Board Co-chair
Research Chemist
USDA Agriculture Research Service
National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research

Ann Marie Chischilly, LL.M.
Executive Director
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals    
Northern Arizona University

Diana Dalbotten, Ph.D.
Program Director, REU on Sustainable Land and Water Resources
Director of Diversity and Broader Impacts
St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
University of Minnesota

Yannick Huot, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Applied Geomatics Department
Université de Sherbrooke

Amy Landis, Ph.D.
Professor, Endowed Chair
Glenn Department of Civil Engineering
Director, Institute for Sustainability
Clemson University

Lynn Russell, Ph.D.
Professor, Atmospheric Chemistry
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California - San Diego




NSF RII Track-1 INSPIRE-ND EMPOWERED-ND Corps is composed of individuals from across the state of North Dakota whose efforts expand diversity, enhance educational and workforce development outreach, and increase partnerships, collaborations, and communication within the current Track-1 research. Many of the EMPOWERED-ND Corps members also participate in one of the Track-1 research centers- either the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) or the Center for Regional Climate Studies (CRCS).

Scott Hanson, Ph.D.
ND EPSCoR Tribal Colleges/Universities Liaison Manager
Shireen Alemadi
Mikhail Bobylev, Ph.D.
Minot State University PI / CSMS Researcher
Professor, Chemistry
Andre DeLorme, Ph.D
Valley City State University PI / CRCS Researcher
Professor, Science, VCSU
Director of Prairie Waters Education / Research Center
Mandy Guinn, M.S.
United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) PI / CRCS Researcher
Chair and Instructor, Environmental Science

Kerry Hartman, Ph.D.
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) PI / Site Coordinator - NATURE /  CRCS Researcher 
Academic Dean and Chair, Science

Khwaja Hossain, Ph.D.
Mayville State University PI / CSMS Researcher
Professor, Biology
Lisa Johnson
North Dakota University System (NDUS) Member
Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
Aaron Kennedy, Ph.D.
CRCS Researcher / CRCS Co-lead
Assistant Professor, Atmospheric Sciences
University of North Dakota
Terri Martin-Parisien, Ph.D.
Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) PI
Academic Dean
Rachel Navarro, Ph.D.
Education and Workforce Development Co-Lead and CRCS / CSMS K-12 Coordinator
Associate Professor, Counseling
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
University of North Dakota
Mafany Ndiva Mongoh, Ph.D.
Sitting Bull College (SBC) PI
Ag/Science Faculty
Site Coordinator - NATURE
Mukund Sibi, Ph.D.
CSMS Researcher, CSMS Co-Lead
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
North Dakota State University

Chad Ulven, Ph.D.
Diversity Co-lead and CSMS Researcher
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
North Dakota State University

Brent Voels, Ph.D.
Candeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) PI / CSMS Researcher
Instructor, Science



Austin Allard, Ph.D.
TMCC Site Coordinator - NATURE / CSMS Researcher
Pre-engineering Instructor

John Mihelich, Ph.D.
ND EPSCoR Associate Project Director
Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development and VP Research
University of North Dakota

Jean Ostrom-Blonigen, Ph.D., CPA
ND EPSCoR Project Administrator
ND EPSCoR State Office



The Track-1 is a federal-state partnership to manage a comprehensive research development plan. ND EPSCoR manages the Track-1 award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Current funding is provided by the State of North Dakota and NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program Track-1 (RII Track-1) Cooperative Agreement Award OIA #1355466.