Category: External Funding

Funding announcements.

Ryan Gilbert Receives Funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services

Tech Today

Ryan Gilbert (Biomedical Engineering) has received $164,521 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, for the first year of a potential two-year project totaling $388,708, “Development of Biomaterials that Release Therapeutic Agents to Modulate Inflammation Following Spinal Cord Injury.”


SMART Scholarship

SMART Scholarship

Department of Defense

Very competitive, but a super opportunity.

Applications open in August, deadline in December

The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program has been established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

SMART Scholars Receive:
• Cash award paid at a rate of $25,000 – $41,000 per
year depending on prior educational experience
• Full tuition and related education expenses
• Health Insurance
• Book allowance
• Summer Internships (multi-year participants)
• Post-Graduation Career Opportunities

SMART Brochure


Helping Folks Exercise

Tech Today

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Do obese people avoid exercise because the equipment is not designed for them?

Does the pain or discomfort sometimes associated with exercise keep them from working out?

A Michigan Tech researcher is looking at how exercise equipment might be hindering workouts of the obese.

“I want to know if using this ergometer [rowing machines] leads to different movement kinematics and therefore joint loads, depending on body shape, for example,” says Karen Roemer, assistant professor of biomechanics in the exercise science, health and physical education department. “Potentially, we could give equipment manufacturers suggestions for new designs.”

Roemer is using some high-tech equipment for her research, and, thanks to a $26,700 grant from the Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund, she will be able to do even more.

“We are using reflective markers [tiny sensor-balls] attached to the skin, then shooting them with multiple cameras,” she says. Similar to modeling Tiger Woods’ swing for a videogame, the many markers are translated via software that reproduces the movement.

“These are complex biomechanical problems,” Roemer says. “For modeling the knee joint, we used scans performed in an open MRI scanner and data from motion analysis using 80 reflective markers and 12 digital cameras.”

The result is a multi-body knee-joint model that looks like it came from the Matrix: complicated processes and images broken down by all the markers, then reassembled to resemble the real joint. And it takes time.

“Normally, digitizing one movement analyzed with video cameras can take six to eight weeks,” she said. “But with the new system in my lab I will be able to do it within a few days.”

Roemer did similar research in her native Germany at the Chemnitz University of Technology’s Department of Sport Science before coming to Tech. She also worked with the German national volleyball team. Based on motion analysis performed during European League games, the kinematics of fairly complicated joints, such as the shoulder, can be analyzed.

Other simulation studies allow for analyzing other aspects. For the stress on knees, for example, she tests on the rowing machine and stationary bike and while walking or running.

For gait and running analysis, a special force plate has been installed in Roemer’s new lab in the SDC. When the movement of a reflector-laden runner is captured crossing the plate, data can be gathered instantly into computers.

The three dimensions of the ground reaction force resulting from the foot hitting the floor, for example, are shown on the computer screen in red arrows shooting up through the person’s body.

She is also interested in daily movements, such as the gait, and what problems exist with joint loads, for example, that can be compared to more-intense movements.

All this time- and technology-intensive work is worth the wait, however, if it helps fight the weight.


Regional Climate Change Center Awards Research Grants

Tech Today

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

The Midwest Regional Center of the National Institute for Climate Change Research, based at Michigan Tech, has awarded $1.5 million in US Department of Energy grants for four new collaborative research projects in seven states, as well as eight continuing projects.

The newly funded initiatives involve researchers from the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Minnesota, the University of California, Kansas State University and the University of Illinois.

They will investigate forest carbon dynamics; interactions among water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in a grassland ecosystem; the effects of warming and changes in rainfall on root systems and soil carbon decomposition in a grassland ecosystem; and the interaction of elevated temperature and carbon dioxide on a soybean ecosystem.

“I’m very excited by the new group of projects the Midwestern Regional Center is funding,” said Andrew Burton, director of the center and associate professor in SFRES. “These new studies will continue the center’s and Michigan Tech’s strong involvement in examining the way forests, wetlands, grasslands and crops will respond to changing temperature and moisture.”

Since the center was established in December 2005, it has supported $7 million in collaborative research projects in its 13-state region.

“The research we have supported will improve our basic understanding of how terrestrial ecosystems may respond to climatic change and will help provide a solid scientific basis for determining appropriate responses,” Burton said.


Biofuel for Jets Could Cut Carbon Emissions Over 80 Percent

Tech Today

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer

The seeds of a lowly weed could cut jet fuel’s cradle-to-grave carbon emissions by 84 percent.

David Shonnard, Robbins Chair Professor of Chemical Engineering, conducted an analysis of jet fuel made from camelina oil to measure its carbon dioxide emissions over the course of its life cycle, from planting to tailpipe. “Camelina jet fuel exhibits one of the largest greenhouse gas emission reductions of any agricultural feedstock-derived biofuel I’ve ever seen,” he said. “This is the result of the unique attributes of the crop–its low fertilizer requirements, high oil yield and the availability of its coproducts, such as meal and biomass, for other uses.”

Camelina sativa originated in Europe and is a member of the mustard family, along with broccoli, cabbage and canola. Sometimes called false flax or gold-of-pleasure, it thrives in the semi-arid conditions of the Northern Plains; the camelina used in the study was grown in Montana.

Oil from camelina can be converted to a hydrocarbon green jet fuel that meets or exceeds all petroleum jet fuel specifications. The fuel is a “drop-in” replacement that is compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure, from storage and transportation to aircraft fleet technology. “It is almost an exact replacement for fossil fuel,” Shonnard explained. “Jets can’t use oxygenated fuels like ethanol; they have to use hydrocarbon replacements.”

Shonnard conducted the life cycle analysis for UOP LLC, of Des Plaines, Ill., a subsidiary of Honeywell and a provider of oil refining technology. In an April 28 release, it cited Boeing executive Billy Glover, managing director of environmental strategy, who called camelina “one of the most promising sources for renewable fuels that we’ve seen.”

“It performed as well if not better than traditional jet fuel during our test flight with Japan Airlines earlier this year and supports our goal of accelerating the market availability of sustainable, renewable fuel sources that can help aviation reduce emissions,” Glover said. “It’s clear from the life cycle analysis that camelina is one of the leading near-term options and, even better, it’s available today.”

Because camelina needs little water or nitrogen to flourish, it can be grown on marginal agricultural lands. “Unlike ethanol made from corn or biodiesel made from soy, it won’t compete with food crops,” said Shonnard. “And it may be used as a rotation crop for wheat, to increase the health of the soil.”

Tom Kalnes is a senior development associate for UOP in its renewable energy and chemicals research group. His team used hydroprocessing, a technology commonly used in the refining of petroleum, to develop a flexible process that converts camelina oil and other biological feedstocks into green jet fuel and renewable diesel fuel.

As to whether we will all be flying in plant-powered aircraft, his answer is, “It depends.”

“There are a few critical issues,” Kalnes said. “The most critical is the price and availability of commercial-scale quantities of second-generation feedstocks. Today the cost for camelina, and other second-generation feedstock options like jatropha and algae, remains higher than the cost of crude oil, and there are still only limited amounts available. Further technology development is needed to drive down the costs and ramp up to commercial-scale harvesting. We are seeing great momentum in this area and believe that biofuels made using camelina will be commercially available for blending into the diesel and jet fuel supplies in the next three to five years. This is much sooner than many imagined.”

Additionally, more farmers need to be convinced to grow a new crop, and refiners must want to process it.

“But if it can create jobs and income opportunities in rural areas, that would be wonderful,” he said.


Graduate Research Supplements (GRS)to Current ENG Awards to Broaden Participation

NSF

Directorate for Engineering

Award Size and Duration: The Principal Investigator may request a GRS for twelve months, renewable annually, for the duration of the research grant for a maximum period of three years for an individual student.  The supplements are nontransferable and may only include graduate student stipend and tuition support consistent with academic institutional practices.  Indirect costs are not permitted; however, an administration allowance limited to 25 percent of the student stipend may be included.

Award Information: Anticipated funding for GRS in FY 2009 is $1,950,000, pending the availability of funds. The estimated number of supplements to be awarded will be 45-50.

Submission Deadline: The deadline for submission of this supplement request is May 26, 2009.

A request for funding of a GRS should be made by the Principal Investigator of an existing ENG award. Only one new Ph.D. student for GRS may be supported under each research grant.  GRS candidates must be United States citizens or nationals, or permanent resident aliens of the United States. The graduate students must be newly enrolled in, or planning to pursue the Ph.D. degree in engineering disciplines. Renewal for a second or third year supplement requires a report on the progress of the student toward the Ph.D. degree and availability of funds in the program.


Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (DDIG)

NSF

DUE DATES

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  November 20, 2009

Third Friday in November, Annually Thereafter

For electronic submission of proposals, the proposals MUST be submitted by 5:00 PM submitter’s time.

SYNOPSIS

The National Science Foundation awards Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in selected areas of the biological sciences. These grants provide partial support of doctoral dissertation research to improve the overall quality of research. Allowed are costs for doctoral candidates to participate in scientific meetings, to conduct research in specialized facilities or field settings, and to expand an existing body of dissertation research.

See solicitation.


Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE)

NSF

DUE DATES

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  August 25, 2009

Innovation through Institutional Integration

SYNOPSIS

The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program makes resources available to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. CREST promotes the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines.

See solicitation.


Hydrologic Sciences

NSF

DUE DATES

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  June 1, 2009

June 1, Annually Thereafter

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  December 5, 2009

December 5, Annually Thereafter

SYNOPSIS

Hydrologic Sciences focuses on the flow of water and transport processes within streams, soils, and aquifers. Particular attention is given to spatial and temporal heterogeneity of fluxes and storages of water, particles, and chemicals coupling across interfaces with the landscape, microbial communities, and coastal environments, to upscaling and downscaling given these heterogeneities and interfaces and how these processes are altered by climate and land use changes. Studies may address aqueous geochemistry as well as physical, chemical, and biological processes within water bodies. These studies commonly involve expertise from many basic sciences and mathematics, and proposals often require joint review with related programs.

See solicitation


University-Industry Cooperative Research Programs in the Mathematical Sciences (UICRP)

NSF

DUE DATES

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  June 2, 2009

June, Annually Thereafter

It is in the national interest to provide more opportunities for mathematical scientists to have the experience of conducting research in an industrial environment and for industrial scientists to return periodically to academia, to acquire new knowledge, and to move it efficiently into technology. The Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) supports this relationship through the university-industry postdoctoral research fellowships, university-industry senior research fellowships, industry-based graduate research assistantships, and industry-based graduate cooperative fellowships described in program solicitation.