Monthly Archives: April 2011

N.C. A&T again ranks 3rd in sponsored funding in UNC system’s annual report on research

The University of North Carolina system has issued its annual report on research at the 17 campuses.  Only two specific awards are highlighted in the report; one of them is A&T’s five-year, $5 million NASA grant for the Center for Aviation Safety (Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar, PI).

A&T is ranked third in sponsored funding for the sixth straight year. The rankings of the system’s six doctoral universities:

  1. UNC-CH, $803 million, up 12% from FY09
  2. NCSU, $265 million, up 29%
  3. N.C. A&T, $60 million, up 4%
  4. ECU, $48 million, up 20%
  5. UNCG, $47 million, up 34%
  6. UNCC, $34 million, down 6%

Interesting detail: A&T’s position as No. 3 in funding comes despite ranking last among the six doctoral institutions in both number of proposals and awards.  That reflects the university’s emphasis on seeking bigger, higher impact projects.  A&T, of course, is also by far the smallest of the six in number of faculty, graduate enrollment and overall enrollment.

The entire report is here (PDF).

Thurgood Marshall College Fund deadlines

Faculty members who are advising or teaching students who could benefit from the various scholarships offered by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) should remind those students that deadlines are coming up on May 1 and 15 (deadlines for two scholarships have passed, but most are still open).  Deadlines, eligibility requirements and other specifics are on the TMCF website. The fund’s website lists nine different scholarship programs. Non-seniors who received TMCF scholarships for this year must re-apply to receive the scholarship again next year.  Applications are available from the university’s TMCF Scholarship Coordinator, William Mills in the Financial Aid Office (wmills on campus email, 334-7973).

TMCF supports students at 47 HBCUs in 22 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Thursday’s Research Appreciation Week agenda features Duke research dean, award winners

Thursday’s Faculty Research Day will feature two events of particular interest to researchers.  All faculty members — deans and department chairs in particular — are invited to a talk at 9 a.m. by a top research administrator at the Duke University School of Medicine.  Dr. Sally Kornbluth, the school’s vice dean for research, will speak on, “Managing research at the college/school level: Deans and chairs as enablers.”

Following Dr. Kornbluth’s talk, the three winners of the 2011 Research Excellence Awards — Dr. Millie Worku, Dr. Zhichao Li, and Dr. Ellie Fini — will give talks on their research.

All of the day’s events will take place at the Alumni-Foundation Event Center. The full schedule is here (PDF).

NSF, DOE launch photovoltaic cell initiative

The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy will jointly provide up to $39 million for research to improve photovoltaic cell performance and reduce module cost for grid-scale commercial applications. The agencies released a joint Funding Opportunity Announcement for the “Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency” last week to identify and fund solar device physics and PV technology research and development. Details are available here.

Spring issue of Evolution now available online

The Spring 2011 issue of Evolution, North Carolina A&T’s research magazine, is now available online.

Evolution Spring 2011 electronic edition (PDF)

It features articles on:

  • The biomedical engineering research being conducted by Dr. Salil Desai;
  • The perspective of Dr. Abdellah Ahmidouch, chair of the Department of Physics, on the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster;
  • An interview with Provost Linda Thompson Adams; and
  • Research projects being conducted by five faculty members and two students.

This issue also features a short column by Dr. Celestine Ntuen, published in a longer version immediately below this item with a request for you to share your thoughts on Dr. Ntuen’s ideas regarding emergence and convergence.

Evolution is now available on campus exclusively in its online edition, available on the Aggie Research blog and the Division of Research and Economic Development website.  A limited number of printed copies are distributed off campus and to on-campus offices and individuals as needed.

Dr. Ntuen on emergence and convergence

A shorter version of this column by Dr. Celestine Ntuen, interim vice chancellor for research and economic development, appears in the Spring 2011 edition of Evolution, North Carolina A&T’s research magazine.

Emergence is a phenomenon that results from interactions of many behaviors.  In studies of complex systems, emergence is what happens when new ideas or entities appear.  It represents unpredictable, stochastic circumstances – the “aha” moment in a laboratory.  Convergence is the interaction of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary sciences and technologies toward solving a common problem.

Paradigm shifts driven by concepts in emergence properties and convergence in technology are about to invalidate the status quo in scientific inquiry.  For example, funding agencies are moving away from funding single investigators to more collaborative teams – interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary scientists converging to address a common problem.  These are the opportunities for which our existing and emerging research clusters were designed.  The biomedical research described in this issue of Evolution is a good example.

The concepts and technologies of emergence and convergence have much to offer North Carolina A&T State University.  First, we are developing the structure and capacity to do research seamlessly, anywhere, anytime with cloud computing.  Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

With cloud computing, faculty and students will be able to re-align their research along the complimentary sciences or convergence and emerging. Here are some examples of our strategic position for emerging and converging initiatives:

Emergence Convergence
Biomedical and health sciences; biomedical computing and health informatics; nanobioscience & nanoengineering; agromedicine Solutions for Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral-vascular disease among African Americans; nanotechnology in drug delivery and tissue engineering / regenerative medicine; agroproducts, like medicinal mushrooms, and post-harvest technologies;  microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems for healthcare.
Alternative energy sources: biofuels, biomass conversion, nanotechnology for power grids Climate change tracking with intelligent sensors, climate change policies, rural energy economics, alternative transportation energy
Identify sciences Language and biological sciences, computing sciences and engineering.
Cyber security Social & behavioral sciences and engineering collaborating to protect our national information space
Advanced composite and nano materials Solutions to aviation and aerospace challenges, resilient infrastructure

At A&T, emergence and convergence are more than simply bringing faculty and student scientists together; they are about solving targeted problems of value to humanity. We have emerging research clusters, such as Bioscience and Health, as well as Social and Behavioral Sciences, and soon we will target Nutrition and Food Sciences. These clusters are fractional emergences resulting from interest among groups of faculty members.

I am sure the readers of Evolution will ask questions, such as:

  • How do you get people to converge? The answer is simply: Get people’s ideas to converge. Physical presence is no longer relevant.
  • What is the major contribution of convergence and emergence in academic programs? The answers are many. In my view, departments and schools should be designed to facilitate interdisciplinary ventures and cross-fertilization of intellects. Academic programs can be restructured to be flexible, adaptive and responsive to changing knowledge-based and networked systems globally.
  • What are other benefits? Global access to innovative technologies, distal collaboration for research and education, and sharing global problems contextually.

I urge our faculty and students to think about emergence and convergence and be ready to embrace the changing dynamics of research and funding policies.  What do you think?  Please add your comments – I would be delighted to hear your reaction to my thoughts.

Today’s keynote speaker: Dr. David Carroll

One highlight of Graduate Student Research Day today will be the keynote talk by Dr. David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University. Dr. Carroll will speak at lunch, which begins at noon in the Fort IRC, Room 410.

Carroll is a professor of physics, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering,and adjunct professor of cancer biology.  He also serves as editor of the journal Engineering.  Professor Carroll’s research is focused on the synthesis, assembly, characterization, and applications of nanostructures.  He has published over 200 scholarly articles on nanotechnology and the nanosciences.  He has published a text book,  edited two books, and holds 12 patents.  Carroll has been actively involved in four spin-off companies utilizing technologies from his labs.

Abstracts for Student Research Day 2011

Students discuss their Student Research Day presentations this morning at the Fort Interdisciplinary Research Center.

Welcome to Research Appreciation Week at North Carolina A&T.  Twenty-seven students are scheduled to make oral presentations or present posters at today’s Student Research Day event (Fort IRC, Room 410, beginning at 8:30 a.m.).  Their abstracts are contained in this PDF document. Keynote speaker at lunch is Dr. Michael Cundall, director of the A&T Honors program — 11:45 a.m., Fort IRC, Room 410.

NSF information regarding federal shutdown

The National Science Foundation has put out some information regarding its operations during a possible shutdown of the federal government.  If the government shuts down:

  • As of midnight, the NSF website, FastLane,, any NSF e-mail address and all telephones will be unavailable.
  • NSF grants will not be obligated or disbursed during the funding hiatus.
  • Current awardees may continue their operations with NSF funds that are already obligated.

The official NSF policy for shutdown procedures is available here:

Official, complete and more or less final version of the Research Appreciation Week schedule

Next week is Research Appreciation Week, comprising Student Research Day on Monday, Graduate Student Research Day on Tuesday, Faculty Research Day on Thursday, and Corporate Research and Innovation Day on Friday.  Faculty and students alike are invited to attend each day’s events.  All events except the Research Awards Luncheon on Thursday are open to the campus and the community.  Schedules for each day are right here (PDF). Featured speakers include:

  • Dr. Michael Cundall, Director of the A&T Honors program;
  • Dr. David Carroll, Director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest;
  • Dr. Sally Kornbluth, Vice Dean for Research, Duke University School of Medicine;
  • Dr. Terri Lomax, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, N.C. State; and
  • Mr. Meldon Hollis, Associate Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.