October 2013

University Shares in $32 Million Federal Research Grant

Brent T. Williams

The U.S. Department of Education awarded a $32 million, five-year grant to the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Education to fund a program aimed at improving the education and career outcomes of low-income Arkansas teenagers with disabilities.


The federal research grant is the largest the university has received since 1988 and is believed to be the largest in the institution’s 142-year history.

The federal program is aimed at youths who receive Supplemental Security Income. It is known as PROMISE, an acronym for “Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income.” Brent T. Williams, associate professor of rehabilitation education and research at the university, is the principal investigator of the PROMISE grant and will oversee the project.

“Most of us in the competitive workplace had a first entry-level job or internship at the beginning of our work lives,” Williams said. “That experience, good or bad, was instrumental in our later workplace success. Adolescents who receive Social Security disability benefits typically do not have a first job or internship experience. As such, they remain cut off from the world of work. The PROMISE grant seeks to provide 1,000 adolescents with disabilities who receive Social Security disability benefits with their first paid work experience.”

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Award Creates Maritime Transport Research Center


Heather Nachtmann

Transportation researchers at the University of Arkansas will receive $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to create the Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center.

The funds will augment transportation research at the university and will address the Transportation Department’s strategic goal of economic competitiveness through efficient, resilient and sustainable transportation systems on U.S. navigable waterways.

The center, also called MarTREC, will function as a consortium of researchers at the University of Arkansas, Jackson State University, Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans, all of which have proximity to navigable waterways along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast.

The $1.4 million grant will be matched by $750,000 from a combination of sources, including each of the four institutions, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department and in-kind and cash support from private industry, said Heather Nachtmann, professor of industrial engineering and principal investigator for the grant.

“Our vision is to be recognized as the nation’s premier source for expertise on maritime and multimodal transportation research and education,” said Nachtmann, who will serve as the center’s director. 

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RazorGrant Training Focuses on SURF

The office of research and sponsored programs (RSSP) requires Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) mentors to enter information into a new electronic routing and approval system called RazorGrant. This system replaces the paper format of the RSSP Proposal Routing Form.
For those not familiar with the new new system, RSSP will be offering RazorGrant Training exclusively for SURF faculty mentors on Oct. 16 and 17. To sign up, go this link.
The office also encourages faculty mentors to attend one of the training sessions if they have questions regarding the budget for mentor costs. Kathy Scheibel, interim director of RSSP, will attend both sessions to help answer questions.

Sign up today

SEC Symposium Set for 2014


The second annual Southeastern Conference Symposium, entitled “Prevention of Obesity: Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge,” is scheduled for September 21-23, 2014 in Atlanta.

The SEC Symposium is a cornerstone program of SECU, the Southeastern Conference’s academic initiative, through which the SEC sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students.

The symposium is a showcase for the academic excellence of the conference’s member institutions and underscores their educational and economic contributions to the vitality of the region, nation and world.

For more information about the symposium, go to www.SECSymposium.com in the coming months to get the latest updates on speakers, session topics, registration and more.



University Shares in $32 Million Federal Research Grant

Award Creates Maritime Transport Research Center

RazorGrant Training Focuses on SURF

SEC Symposium Set for 2014


U.S. Department of Energy Awards $2 Million to Motor Drive Research

Researchers Discover New Organism

Plant Pathologist Receives CAREER Award


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Grant Award Winners

The following is a sampling of grants awarded to faculty in September, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.
- Sha Jin, $432,859, National Science Foundation
- Woodrow L. Shew, $361,347, National Science Foundation
- Susanne Striegler, $360,000, National Science Foundation
- Christophe Bobda, $357,786, National Science Foundation
- Jia Di, $250,000, NASA


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Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development
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Website: vpred.uark.edu

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