Category: Funding

New NSF Project to Improve Great Lakes Flood Hazard Modeling

Thomas Oommen, Timothy C. Havens, Guy Meadows (GLRC), and Himanshu Grover (U. Washington) have been awarded funding in the NSF Civic Innovation Challenge for their project, “Helping Rural Counties to Enhance Flooding and Coastal Disaster Resilience and Adaptation.”

The six-month project award is $49,999.

Vision. The vision of the new project is to develop methods that use remote sensing data resources and citizen engagement (crowdsourcing) to address current data gaps for improved flood hazard modeling and visualization that is transferable to rural communities.

Objective. The objective of the Phase-1 project is to bring together community-university partners to understand the data gaps in addressing flooding and coastal disaster in three Northern Michigan counties.  

The Researchers

Thomas Oommen is a professor in the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences department. His research efforts focus on developing improved susceptibility characterization and documentation of geo-hazards (e.g. earthquakes, landslides) and spatial modeling of georesource (e.g. mineral deposits) over a range of spatial scales and data types. Oommen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Tim Havens is associate dean for research, College of Computing, the
William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. His research interests include mobile robotics, explosive hazard detection, heterogeneous and big data, fuzzy sets, sensor networks, and data fusion. Havens is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Guy Meadows is director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory (Great Lakes Research Center), the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, and a research professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department. His research interests include large scale field experimentation in the Inland Seas of the Great Lakes and coastal oceans; nearshore hydrodynamics and prediction; autonomous and semi-autonomous environmental monitoring platforms (surface and sub-surface); underwater acoustic remote sensing; and marine engineering.

Himanshu Grover is an asssistant professor at University of Washington. His research focus is at the intersection of land use planning, community resilience, and climate change.

About the Civic Innovation Challenge

The NSF Civic Innovation Challenge is a research and action competition that aims to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities.


VPR Research Series: Funding Graduate Students

Meet the VPR Sponsored Operations Team and VPR Staff

by Office of the Vice President of Research

Join VPR team members and other members of the Michigan Tech research community from noon to 1 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 12) for presentations and discussion to help you and your team as you pursue funding for your research and other externally supported programs.

This month’s discussion will be led by Will Cantrell, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. Cantrell will describe how researchers can work with graduate students to provide the best learning experience while achieving research goals, followed by a question and answer session.

Session attendees will also have a chance to meet the Sponsored Programs Operations Team and VPR Staff. Attendees will have the chance to ask presentation and general VPR-related questions at the end. Join this virtual session via Zoom.


SURF Applications Open

Applications for 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) are now open. Fellowship recipients will spend the summer working on an individual research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor.

SURFs are open to all Tech undergraduates who have at least one semester remaining after the summer term. Awards are up to $4,000. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Feb. 12.

For more information and access to the application materials and instructions, visit the SURF webpage or contact Rob Handler.


Bo Chen, CS, Wins REF Grant for Decentralized Cloud Storage Project

Bo Chen, Computer Science, has been awarded a Fall 2020 REF Research Seed Grant (REF-RS) for his project, “Towards Secure and Reliable Decentralized Cloud Storage.” Funding for the 12-month, $25,800 award begins on January 1, 2021.

“This grant will provide significant help to advance my current research,” says Chen. “This is really exciting news for me.”

Bo Chen is a researcher with the ICC’s Cybersecurity and Computing Education research groups.

As a recipient of the REF seed grant, which is awarded by the Michigan Tech Office of the Vice President for Research, Chen will participate in review and feedback for the next round of REF proposals. View the full list of Fall 2020 REF award recipients here.

Abstract

A decentralized cloud storage system eliminates the need of dedicated computing infrastructures by allowing peers which have spare storage space to join the network and to provide storage service. Compared to the conventional centralized cloud storage system, it can bring significant benefits including cheaper storage cost, better fault tolerance, greater scalability, as well as more efficient data storing and retrieval, making it well fit the emerging Internet of things (IoT) applications.

While bringing immense benefits, the decentralized cloud storage system also raises significant security concerns, since the storage peers are much less reputable than the traditional data centers and may more likely misbehave.

This project thus aims to build a secure and reliable decentralized cloud storage system which can serve as the cloud infrastructure for future IoT applications. The project will actively investigate two fundamental security issues faced by the decentralized cloud storage system: 1) How can we prevent the malicious storage peers from stealing the data? 2) How can we ensure that once the data are stored into the system, they are always retrievable even if the storage peers misbehave?

To address the aforementioned issues in an untrusted p2p environment, the PI will integrate efficient integrity checking with the blockchain, as well as the broadly equipped secure hardware like Intel SGX. The PI will also broaden the educational impact of the proposed project by actively involving both graduate and undergraduate students from the MTU cybersecurity programs.


Research Excellence Fund Awards Announced

by Vice President for Research Office

The Vice President for Research Office announces the Fall 2020 REF awards. Thanks to the individual REF reviewers and the REF review panelists, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.

Research Seed Grants:

  • Sajjad Bigham, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Bo Chen, Computer Science
  • Daniel Dowden, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Ana Dyreson, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Hassan Masoud, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Xinyu Ye, Civil and Environmental Engineering

ME-EM’s Bo Chen is Co-PI of New DoE Grant

by Sponsored Programs

Darrell Robinette (ME-EM/APSRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $1,348,109 research and development co-op/joint agreement from the Department of Energy.

The project is entitled, ” Energy Optimization of Light and Heavy Duty Vehicle Cohorts of Mixed Connectivity, Automation and Propulsion System Capabilities via Meshed V2V-V2I and Expanded Data.”

Jeff Naber (ME-EM/APSRC), Bo Chen (ME-EM/APSRC), Jung Yun Bae (ME-EM/APSRC) and Chris Morgan (PHC/APSRC) are Co-PI’s on this potential 2.3-year project. Bo Chen is a researcher with the ICC’s Cyber-Physical Systems research group.


Sajjad Bigham Named Quarterfinalist in DOE Solar Desalination Prize Contest

Assistant Professor Sajjad Bigham, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and his team have advanced to the second phase of the American-Made Challenges Solar Desalination Prize contest for his project, “Sorption-Based ZLD Technology.”

The contest is sponsored by the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Bigham is one of 19 quarterfinalists. Each receives a $50,000 cash prize.

Selected from among 162 applicants, the quarterfinalists now advance to the second, Teaming phase of the competition, for which each research team will develop and successfully validate an operational prototype of their solar-thermal desalination system.

Bigham is a heat transfer and energy systems specialist studying the scientific and engineering challenges at the intersection of thermal-fluid, material and energy sciences.

His Michigan Tech research lab, Energy-X, is focused on understanding the fundamental transport science of important energy carriers at micro, nano and molecular scales. He is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

Project Title: Sorption-Based ZLD Technology
Location: Houghton, MI
Project Summary: State-of-the-art zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies are currently bound with either intensive use of high-grade electrical energy such as mechanical vapor compressors or high capital cost with environmental concerns such as evaporation ponds. A team of researchers from Michigan Technological University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the company Artic Solar proposes to address these issues by an innovative desiccant-based ZLD desalination system in which a multiple-effect distillation (MED) unit is uniquely embedded at the heart of an absorption-desorption system. The technology employs an absorption-based thermally-driven vapor compressor concept to pressurize the vaporized brine of the ZLD crystallizer unit from a low-pressure absorber to a high-pressure desorber module. This eliminates the need for energy-intensive electrically-driven mechanical vapor compressors currently employed in advanced brine crystallizers.

Timely updates about the American-Made Challenges Solar Desalination Prize are posted here.

The American-Made Challenges are a series of prize competitions that incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.

The Solar Desalination Prize is a multi-stage prize competition intended to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean drinking water from saltwater. It is intended to help achieve the goals of the Water Security Grand Challenge.

Each stage of the competition has increasing prize amounts, totaling millions of dollars.


NSF Research to Study Household Dynamics in Pandemic

David Watkins (CEE/SFI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $190,764 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is titled “RAPID: COVID-19, Consumption, and Multi-dimensional Analysis of Risk (C-CAR)“. Chelsea Schelly (SS/SFI), Robert Handler (ChE/SFI) and Charles Wallace (CS/SFI) are co-PIs on this one-year project.

Extract

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed household dynamics and dramatically changed food, energy, and water consumption within the home. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing has caused U.S. households to shift to working and schooling from home, curtail outside activities, and stop eating in restaurants. Furthermore, as many households face job loss and increasing home utility and grocery bills, U.S. residents are experiencing the economic impacts of the crisis, while at the same time assessing and responding to health risks. The project team has a unique opportunity to study these shifting household consumption and behavioral responses and quantify the associated economic and environmental impacts. The team will collect household food, energy, and water consumption data as well as survey response data from 180 participating households in one Midwestern county and compare it to data collected before the stay-at-home orders were put in place.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Tim Schulz to Present Michigan Tech Research Forum Oct. 14

Timothy Schulz

University Professor Timothy Schulz (ECE) will be featured at the Michigan Tech Research Forum (MTRF) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14.
Schulz’s presentation is titled “Direct Measurement of Coherent Fields.” Additional details can be found on the MTRF website.

The presentation will be available via Zoom and a limited number of people will be permitted to attend in person, dependent on university guidelines on the date of the event. If you wish to be considered for in-person attendance, complete this form by today (Oct. 9).

Schulz is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

The MTRF is presented by the Office of the Provost in coordination with the Office of the Vice President for Research. The forum showcases and celebrates the work of Michigan Tech researchers and aims to strengthen discussions in our community. All are welcome, including the general public.


CEE’s Zhen Liu Is PI of $689K Dept. of Transportation R-D Contract

Zhen Liu

Associate Professor Zhen Liu, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $689,239 research and development contract from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration.

Liu is a member of the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

The project is titled, “Autonomous Winter Road Maintenance Decision Making Enabled by Boosting Existing Transportation Data Infrastructure with Deep and Reinforcement Learning.”

Yongchao Yang (ME-EM), Tim Colling (CEE) and Michael Billmire (MTRI) are Co-PI’s on this three-year project.