Building STEM Capacity and Competitiveness

Our current NSF Track-1 (INSPIRE-ND; #1355466) has helped support two centers that tie to our state’s strong agricultural focus and build statewide capacity in research:  

  • Center for Regional Climate Studies (CRCS) has resulted in innovative weather, hydrology, and economic models that are available to agriculture and other related industries. In their recent annual report, there have been 112 peer-reviewed articles, 61 submitted research proposals (with $8.25M awarded to expand research efforts), and the creation of a stakeholders’ advisory group to provide valuable input for the research and outreach efforts, and
  • Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) has developed innovations in using ND commodities, such as wheat, corn, soybeans, etc., in creating biobased materials, coatings, and polymers, several of which are now under review for potential commercialization. Their research work has resulted in 103 peer-reviewed articles, 88 research proposals (with $3.5M awarded to further their research), and three awarded patents. To further the research efforts, the Track-1 investment also provided four new faculty hires that are expanding these critical discoveries.

Through this research, 16 junior researchers have received support through workshops, seed funding, and faculty start-up funding, helping to build statewide research capacity and STEM competitiveness for added federal funding at the following institutions:

  • three Primarily Undergraduate Institutions: Dickinson State University (DSU), Mayville State University (Mayville), and Valley City State University (VCSU);
  • one Master's College/University: Minot State University (Minot)
  • five Tribal Colleges/Universities: Candeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC), Sitting Bull College (SBC), Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), and United Tribes Technical College (UTTC); and
  • two Research Universities: North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the University of North Dakota (UND).

View the previous solicitations for faculty, or look at the various awards below, which outline some of the opportunities provided to faculty:


Advanced Undergraduate Research Award (AURA) Awardees

Advanced Undergraduate Research Award (AURA) provides upper-division undergraduate students from UND with an opportunity to participate in faculty-mentored research projects during the summer, fall semester, or spring semester. The goal of AURA is to encourage undergraduate students to consider a research career in Science, Engineering, or Mathematics.

Year, Name
Department
AURA Advisor
    2016
David FehrBiologyManu
Ifrah IfrahBasic SciencesArchana Dhasarathy 
Lane KashurPhysicsWayne Barkhouse         
Elijah MathewsPhysicsTimothy Young
Jenna Puttkammer               ChemistryQianli Chu
Lucas StanleyMechanical EngineeringCai Xia Yang



    2015
Joseph AymondElectrical EngineeringNaima Kaabouch
Nathan CarlsonPhysics and Astrophysics            Wayne Barkhouse
Jessica FairleyBasic SciencesLucia Carvelli
Jeffrey GendreauElectrical EngineeringReza Fazel-Rezai
Ejazul HaqueBiologyManu
Jasmine KreftChemistryAlena Kubátová
Tristan PlanteMechanical EngineeringCai Xia Yang
Alexandra PtacekBiologyBrian Darby

Emerging Areas Seed Awardees

During 2016/2017, in an effort to respond to a recommendation made by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Reverse Site Visit panel in March 2016 to increase collaborative research efforts between North Dakota's two RII-Track-1 research centers, ND EPSCoR made the following six Emerging Areas Seed awards. To ensure collaboration, prior to being funded, each seed award proposal was reviewed by the Leads and Co-Leads of ND EPSCoR's two RII Centers (regional climate studies and sustainable materials science). Status reports on these six awards were given to NSF's Site Visit panel in August 2017.

1.  Ali Alshami (UND), Khwaja Hossain (Mayville) and Sima Noghanian (UND)
     Bio-Based Dielectric Substrate Based On Sunflower Seed Shells For Radio Frequency Antenna
($40,000)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the proposed project targets measuring environmental parameters (agri-material moisture content and atmospheric humidity) using new antennas and wireless sensors that built on bio-based dielectric substrate. The sensor can be used along this objective of CRCS.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project aims at developing a dielectric substrate material from sunflower seed shells, a waste by-product of the edible oil industry, in a low cost method and evaluate its durability and efficiency in various environmental conditions.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a functional sensor and external publication.

  
2.  Dilpreet Bajwa (NDSU) and Kerry Hartman (NHSC)
     A Sustainable Approach for Improving Performance Characteristics of Biobased Poly (lactic acid)

     Polymer via Incorporating Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals
($25,000)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project explores the possible impact of using biobased and sustainable feedstocks on the climate changes. Results of the project will determine how the use of biobased cellulosic materials can help to reduce the use synthetic polymers which are tied to greenhouse gases that impact the climate.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project determines how the use of nano-sized cellulosic materials can improve the performance characteristics of biobased polymers. The resultant biobased composite materials are expected to be environmentally friendly, biodegradable, safe and strong. The information gained from this project will also help to design strategies that enable nano-sized material to uniformly blend with biopolymers and expand the product portfolio of sustainable materials.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a conference presentation, peer reviewed publication or an external grant proposal.

  
3.  Surojit Gupta (UND), Khwaja Hossain (Mayville) and Yun Ji (UND)
     Collaborative Sustainable Materials Research Program in the University of North Dakota
($40,190)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: identify crop biomass yield using the data from CRCS researchers and select end use crop(s) in North Dakota for fundamental Materials Research.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project aims to create a “green design paradigm (GDP)” for a sustainable manufacturing initiative in North Dakota; and, in particular, to explore methods for synthesizing novel precursors and composites from selected crop feeds in ND.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be: fabrication and design of fibers and composites; peer review papers, presentations, and other derivatives; and proposals.

  
4.  Eakalak Khan (NDSU) and Andre DeLorme (VCSU)
     Fate of Biobased Materials in Aquatic Environments: Impact on Physical, Chemical, and Biological

     Characteristics of Receiving Waters ($25,000)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project explores possible impact of climate changes on the quality of feedstocks and in turn the characteristics of biobased materials. Results of the project will determine whether there is a linkage between climate variations and fate of biobased materials in surface waters.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project determines the fate of biobased materials in surface waters focusing on potential impact such as solubility, toxicity, and harmful product precursors. Knowledge gained from the project will expand on the benefits of biobased materials or will unveil their environmental drawbacks.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a peer reviewed publication or an external grant proposal.

      
    5.  Long Jiang (NDSU) and Mafany Mongoh (SBC)
         Novel Energy/Resource-Efficient Building Material Derived from Rapidly Renewable Materials ($25,000)

    • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project links climate change induced variations in crop  availability and suitability to the production of an agricultural residual based building material. Results of the project will determine the suitable crop(s) whose residuals can be utilized for the  production of the material under changing climate.
    • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project develops novel energy- and resource-efficient building materials using agricultural residuals as the feedstock via an environmentally friendly production method. The knowledge and products gained from this project will produce a new concept/prototype of building materials, expand the use of agricultural residuals, and reduce energy consumptions of buildings.
    • CRCS and CSMS Output: the project output will be peer reviewed publications, an intellectual property and external grant proposals.

      
    6.  Feng Xiao (UND), Eric Brevik (DSU) and Khwaja Hossain (Mayville)
         Development of A Novel Porous Carbonaceous Material Enhanced for Control of Nitrous Oxide

         Emissions from Agricultural Soils
    ($39,988)

    • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: 1) study the effects of biomass char and the porosity modified OSA on the emission of the greenhouse gas (N2O) from soil, and 2) investigate the effects of water moisture and soil humic matter on the adsorption of N2O on char and OSA.
    • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: 1) develop an innovative carbonaceous material (OSA) from biomass with superior N2O adsorption capacity, and 2) identify the specific porosities for which effective adsorption takes place.
    • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a new material, peer reviewed publications, external grant proposals.

    Infrastructure Improvement Program (IIP) Seed Grant for Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs)

    Year, NameInstitutionDepartmentEPSCoR Research Center
    2016
    Joshua SteffanDickinson State University       Natural Sciences   Center for Regional Climate Studies
    Eric BrevikDickinson State University       Natural Sciences   Center for Regional Climate Studies
    Paul BarnhartDickinson State University       Natural Sciences   Center for Regional Climate Studies




    Khwaja Hossain         Mayville State UniversityBiologyCenter for Sustainable Materials Science




    Mikhail Bobylev               Minot State UniversityScience - Chemistry             Center for Sustainable Materials Science




    Andre DeLorme Valley City State University           ScienceCenter for Regional Climate Studies
    Casey WilliamsValley City State UniversityScienceCenter for Regional Climate Studies

    NDUS Awards - Equipment Awards

    ND EPSCoR provided faculty and students from the North Dakota University System the opportunity to request funding for select projects, such as equipment purchases.

    Year, NameDepartmentInstitution
    2019
    Eric BrevikNatural SciencesDickinson State Univeristy
    Tristan DarlandBiologyUniversity of North Dakota
    Ned Dochtermann Biological Sciences North Dakota State University
    Abby GoldPublic HealthNorth Dakota State University
    Ademola HammedAgricultural and Biosystems EngineeringNorth Dakota State University
    Christopher HethChemistryMinot State University
    Michael KjellandDivision of Science and MathematicsMayville State University
    Bethany KlemetsrudChemical EngineeringUniveristy of North Dakota
    Ganapathy MahalingamArchitecture and Landscape ArchitectureNorth Dakota State University
    Joshua SteffanNatural SciencesDickinson State University
    Dongmei WangGeology and Geological EngineeringUniversity of North Dakota
    Ravi Kiran YellavajjalaCivil & Environmental EngineeringNorth Dakota State University- Collaborative with
    Gedafa Daba, UND
    Alexa Axure, UTTC
    Austin Allard, TMCC

    NDUS Awards - External Review

    ND EPSCoR provided faculty and students from the North Dakota University System the opportunity to request funding for selected projects such as external review of planned proposals.

    Year, NameDepartmentInstitution
    2019
    Mafany Ndiva Mongoh  Environmental Science  Sitting Bull College

    NDUS Awards - Preliminary Data

    ND EPSCoR provided faculty and students from the North Dakota University System the opportunity to request funding for select projects such as collecting preliminary data.

    Year, NameDepartment
    Institution
    2019
    Fardad AzarmiMechanical EngineeringNDSU
    Samiran Banerjee Microbiological Sciences NDSU
    Philip Boudjouk Chemistry and Biochemistry NDSU
    Amanda Brooks Pharmaceutical Science NDSU
    Brian Darby Biology UND
    Stephanie Day Geosciences NDSU
    Jerome Delhommelle Chemistry UND
    Rahul Gomes Math & Computer Science Minot
    Khwaja Hossain Science and Mathematics Mayville
    Trung LeCivil & Environmental EngineeringNDSU
    Glenda Lindseth College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines UND
    Mike Mann IES UND
    Nuri Oncel Physics and Astrophysics UND
    Prakash Ranganathan SEECS UND
    Jiajia Rao Plant Sciences NDSU
    Sayeed Sajal Math & Computer Science Minot
    Umamaheswara Rao Tida Electrical and Computer Engineering NDSU
    Gursimran Walia Computer Science NDSU
    Zachary Waller Aviation UND
    Nicholas Wilson Aviation UND
    Huojun Yang Construction Mgmt and Engineering NDSU

    New Faculty Start-Up Awardees

    New Faculty Start-Up awards are available to department chairs and deans on a competitive basis so that  attractive start-up packages may be offered to prospective faculty during the hiring process. New Faculty Start-Up Awards are usually for two years.

    First year of award
    Name                        
                             
    Institution - Department                             

        2016
    Laura Aldrich-WolfeNDSU - Biological Sciences
    Dante BattocchiNDSU - Coatings and Polymeric Materials
    Meysam HaghshenasUND - Mechanical Engineering
    Minou Rabiei UND - Petroleum Engineering
    Sathish Venkatachalem       NDSU - Pharmaceutical Sciences

        2015
    Ali AlshamiUND - Chemical Engineering
    Jill HamiltonNDSU - Biological Sciences
    I-Hsuan Ho UND - Geology and Geological Engineering  
    Brad LindsethUND - Electrical Engineering
    Taufique Mahmood UND - Geology and Geological Engineering
    Stephan Nordeng UND - Geology and Geological Engineering
    Chrysafis Vogiatzis NDSU - Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
    Zhongyu Yang NDSU - Chemistry and Biochemistry

        2014
    Jason BoulangerUND - Biology
    Dong CaoNDSU - Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Nilanjan Ray Chaudhuri       NDSU - Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Yongki Choi NDSU - Phsyics
    ManuUND - Biology
    Cai Xia YangUND - Mechanical Engineering

        2013
    Pablo de LeonUND - Space Studies
    Na GongNDSU - Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Timothy GreivesNDSU - Biological Sciences
    Britt HeidingerNDSU - Biological Sciences
    Leah IrishNDSU - Psychology
    Aaron KennedyUND - Atmospheric Sciences
    Zhibin LinNDSU - Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Jessica StrikerNDSU - Mathematics
    John WilkinsonNDSU - Chemistry and Biochemistry

        2012
    Peter Bergholz

    NDSU - Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences
    (Microbiological Sciences as of 2016)       
    Tristan DarlandUND - Biology
    Stephanie DayNDSU - Geosciences

    Ned Dochtermann
    Daba Gedafa
    Kegang Ling
    Sergei Nechaev

    NDSU - Biological Sciences
    UND - Civil Engineering
    UND - Petroleum Engineering
    UND - Anatomy


    Translational Seed Awardees

    Individuals AwardedInstitution - DepartmentProjectSupporting Company

    Ali Alshami
    Assistant Professor     

    UND
    Chemical Engineering

    Bio-Based Dielectric Substrate Based On Sunflower Seed
    Shells For Radio Frequency Antenna. This Translational
    Seed funding moves forward this research project conducted under ND EPSCoR's Emerging Areas Seed award
    N/A

    Dilpreet Bajwa
    Professor

    Kerry Hartman
    Instructor
    NDSU
    Mechanical Engineering

    NHSC
    Environmental Sciences


    A Sustainable Approach for Improving Performance Characteristics of Biobased Poly (lactic acid) Polymer via Incorporating Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals. This Translational Seed funding moves forward this research project conducted under ND EPSCoR's Emerging Areas Seed award.

    N/A


    Ghasideh Pourhashem
    Assistant Professor

    NDSU
    Coatings and Polymeric Materials

    Feasibility Analysis of Bio-Based Monomers for Latex Paint and Coating Industry.MPD Chemical

    Andriy Voronov
    Professor

    Mijia Yang
    Associate Professor         

    NDSU
    Civil and Environmental Engineering
    An Innovative Bio-based Self-Healing Concrete for Sustainable ConstructionsBoral Construction Services, Inc.

     


    Women in Science and Education (WISE) and Advance Focus on Resources for Women's Advancement, Recruitment/Retention, and Development (FORWARD) Leap Awardees

    The Women in Science and Education (WISE) Award is a research challenge award given to female faculty post third-year review. It includes supplemental competitive funding for upgraded labs and equipment, a mentoring program, and graduate and post-doctoral researchers.

    The Advance Focus on Resources for Women's Advancement, Recruitment/Retention, and Development (FORWARD) Leap Award is given to female faculty in STEM fields. The award is a bridging grant and is intended to increase the retention and advancement of NDSU faculty - two goals of the FORWARD Initiative.

    Year, Name  
         Institution - Department   
         Award

    2018
    Susan Ellis FelegeUND - BiologyWISE

    2017
    Catherine Brissette     UND - Biomedical SciencesWISE
    Alena KubátováUND - ChemistryWISE
    Rebecca SimmonsUND - BiologyWISE

    2016
    Ying Huang  NDSU - Civil and Environmental Engineering     Advance FORWARD Leap

    2014
    Svetlana Kilina     NDSU - Chemistry and Biochemistry           Advance FORWARD Leap