Monthly Update From the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development


University Showcases Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Research

Doctoral student Nasya Sturdivant explains her research to Chancellor Joe Steinmetz at the neuroscience showcase. Photo by Matt Reynolds, University of Arkansas

Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, speaking at a recent showcase of the University of Arkansas’ brain and neuroscience research, said that future advancements in finding out how the brain works will rely on interdisciplinary collaboration.

“When I started as a faculty member at Indiana University in the 1980s I basically worked alone,” Steinmetz said. “The brain is even more complicated than we imagined it would be 30 years ago. There are so many levels of neuroscience analysis that requires people to collaborate on all levels. I’m excited that the University of Arkansas is positioned well for neuroscience collaboration.”

Steinmetz, an accomplished neuroscientist, spoke to an estimated crowd of 75 faculty, students and staff who attended the showcase at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House.

“This showcase is near and dear to my heart and it’s nice to see so many people here,” Steinmetz said. “It shows there is truly a real interest in neuroscience research on this campus. It’s a thrill to see this kind of work.”




NSF CAREER Award Will Further Research on Social Data and Emergency Response  

Ashlea Bennett Milburn's research will help emergency medical responders use the power of social media to respond to natural disasters, such as the 2011 Joplin tornado.

The National Science Foundation awarded a $500,000 grant to Ashlea Bennett Milburn, assistant professor of industrial engineering, to find a way to effectively harness the power of social media to improve emergency response.

Milburn the grant through the Faculty Early Career Development Program to develop decision-support models that identify scenarios in which the integration of information posted to social-media could improve emergency response.

“One way to accelerate emergency response is to harness the power of social data,” Mulburn said. “But we have to be careful. Just like everything we hear or read or see on the Internet, we can’t believe it’s accurate just because it’s there. I’ve talked to many emergency managers who said their agencies take action on social data only after verifying it. This takes time too. Our models will help address this problem.”

Faculty Early Career Development Program grants – known as CAREER grants -- are among the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards for junior faculty. Research activities supported by CAREER awards build the foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.



Special Collections Awarded Largest Grant in Department’s History

Covers of various publications from the James D. Bales personal library, published between 1938-1965. The publications will be processed and cataloged along with his papers.

The U of A Libraries Special Collections Department has been awarded a $73,989 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to process the James D. Bales papers.

Bales taught at Harding College in Searcy from 1944-1981 and became nationally known for his conservative political activism and his anticommunist stance.

This is the largest grant Special Collections has received and the second largest National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant to be awarded to the state of Arkansas.

The Bales papers document the development of the modern conservative movement and include a wide range of research materials on the civil rights movement, with information on a variety of African American organizations and leaders throughout the 1950s and the 1960s.

Once processed, the Bales Papers will support emerging studies by a range of national and international researchers on Cold War politics, the civil rights movement, and educational reform, as well as a host of topics relating to the development of U.S. cultural, economic and political policies.




Geotechnical Earthquake Engineer Awarded Grant to Study Soil and Infrastructure in Delta

A specialized truck is used to vibrate the ground and create sheer waves that are measured to characterize soil composition and layering. Photo courtesy Clint Wood

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department awarded Clint Wood, assistant professor of civil engineering and a geotechnical earthquake engineer, a $211,650 grant to study the unique soil composition and layering in Arkansas’ upper delta region.

Various soil types react differently in earthquakes, and Arkansas’ upper delta, which is near the epicenter of the New Madrid fault, has unique traits that can affect infrastructure in the event of an earthquake.

The research by Wood and his team will help improve bridge design and construction in the earthquake zone.

Details of their work can be found in this video on Research Frontiers.





Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development
205 Administration Building
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

The Office of Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development has added several electronic distribution lists relating to subjects of interest to the University of Arkansas research community. More information about the types of lists and registering for them can be found here.

The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty and staff in February, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.

  • Timothy Muldoon, $422,908, National Cancer Institute
  • Juan Balda, $300,000, National Science Foundation
  • Vanessa Nehus, $299,943, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Clinton Wood, $211,650, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department
  • Andrew F. Braham, $183,705, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department