Monthly Update From the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development


  March 2017


From the Desk of Jim Rankin

Jim RankinIn response to Chancellor Steinmetz’s call to develop guiding priorities, our team was charged with creating an action plan to enhance research and discovery campus-wide. Our full recommendations will be available soon on the chancellor’s web site, but I wanted to share a few highlights here.

The action plan includes enhancing library resources to achieve Association of Research Libraries status; developing, funding and evaluating research space on campus; expanding research initiatives including seed funding, travel grants and leave; increasing our efforts to publicize research and expanding our use of data analytics to measure our research efforts; and providing better opportunities for undergraduate and graduate research.

Our plan for research and discovery is one of eight addressing guiding priorities that will lead the university into the future. It is an exciting time for us all.


Chancellor's Fund Advances Guiding Priorities

Chancellor Joe SteinmetzChancellor Steinmetz has created a new campus fund as an initiative to support several of the university’s eight guiding priorities, established this past fall. When fully funded the Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund will invest $1 million a year in new projects designed to enhance the university’s research and discovery mission, build a collaborative and innovative campus, promote innovation in teaching and learning, and strengthen graduate education.

The bulk of the funding will come from a portion of SEC Network revenues and television packages, allocated by Jeff Long, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics, to support faculty and the academic mission at the U of A. The remainder of the fund will be allocated from other university sources.

Continue reading Chancellor's Fund Advances Guiding Priorities.


Spring Research Showcase Focuses on Data Analytics

Data analytics and data science are an important part of the research mix at the University of Arkansas. Topics such as cyber security, bio informatics, visual analytics and virtual and augmented reality are in the news almost daily, and they’re in our research labs as well.

This semester’s Research Showcase, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 10 at the Arkansas Union, will feature poster presentations by faculty and graduate students from the nine existing centers that specialize in data analytics and data science, as well as a reception. The goal of the showcase is to encourage discussion and collaboration among researchers, and get the word out about the discoveries and technologies coming from these centers.

If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to Jennifer Atchley White,


Space and Planetary Sciences Students Attend Lunar and Planetary Conference

Eight students from the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences are attending the 48th Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, March 20 to 24. Of the eight, five were chosen to give oral presentations based on submitted abstracts. The usual acceptance rate for oral presentations (rather than posters) is about 20 percent, reflecting the high quality of research by these students. Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences faculty and students have a total of 16 posters and oral presentations scheduled for the conference on topics including atmosphere-surface interactions on Venus; chemical and geological processes on the surface of Mars; ices, lakes and surface chemistry on Titan; and ices and cryovolcanism on Pluto.

 Research Spotlight

Video Highlights Study of New Human Ancestor

lucas Delezene, assistant professor of anthropology at the U of A.In 2013, the remains of a previously unknown human ancestor — Homo naledi — were found in a cave in an area of South Africa known as the Cradle of Humankind. Lucas Delezene, Arkansas native and assistant professor of anthropology at the U of A, was picked to lead the dental team.

Delezene calls the opportunity, “a dream to be able to work on a pile of fossils that have never been studied before.”

Delezene, a biological anthropologist and expert in hominid dental anatomy, now leads an international team of experts studying the dental anatomy of the new species. His work is the subject of a new Short Takes video. []

The U of A is a leader in biological anthropology as it relates to teeth, jaw and skull evolution. Delezene is continuing that legacy by bringing lessons learned in his research on Homo naledi into the classroom and bringing his students into his lab.



$1.9 million from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Janie Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative in the School of Law, for outreach, education and training to Native American tribes to enhance food safety and ensure compliance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act.

$424,080 from the National Institutes of Health to Magda El-Shenawee, professor of electrical engineering, for terahertz imaging for three-dimensional margin assessment of breast cancer tumors.

$302,529 from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to Stacy Williams, research associate professor of civil engineering, for continued training of transportation professionals.

$120,313 from the Arkansas Department of Education to Bryan Hill, assistant dean for student recruitment, honors and international programs in the College of Engineering, to continue a mathematics and science partnership program between the University of Arkansas and Arkansas public secondary schools.

$79,946 from the National Science Foundation to Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor, and Grid-Connected Advanced Power Electronics Systems (GRAPES) for further development of a silicon-carbide-based power electronics interface for a battery energy storage system.


Early CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop, 1:30-4:45 p.m. April 5, Walton College of Business, WJWH 501s. Junior faculty can learn how to successfully compete for DOE, NSF, Air Force and other grants. Limited space. RSVP before March 30 with the subject line “RSVP CAREER Workshop” to Ralph Davis, associate vice provost for research and economic development,

Research Over Easy, 7:45-9 a.m. April 5, Poultry Science 413. Join Dr. Jim Rankin and his staff for breakfast and an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics related to the research enterprise. Registration is required and attendance is limited to 25 faculty members.

National Lab Day, April 18 at the Reynolds Center, in honor of the Department of Energy’s research labs around the country. Breakout session topics include renewable energy and biofuels, bioscience and healthcare, and power technology and energy security. Register at


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

Check our Announcements page for the latest VPRED news and updates on funding opportunities. The Limited Submissions page has information on how to apply for grants when funding agencies limit the number proposals from each institution. Interested in a particular type of funding opportunity? Check the Distribution Lists page and sign up for subject-specific email notices from our office.

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