Category Archives: Grants

N.C. A&T to lead $5 million USAF research project on controlling teams of unmanned military vehicles

A $5 million grant from the U.S. Air Force will fund a research team led by North Carolina A&T State University that will develop control systems for a new dimension in battlefield strategy: large teams of unmanned vehicles.

The five-year project will expand the use of autonomous vehicles, such as drones, to a larger and more diverse scale.

The vision is to manage future battlefields with autonomous vehicles working together in the air, on the ground and/or underwater. The vehicles could be controlled remotely by human operators or they could maneuver autonomously in complex environments. Teams of autonomous vehicles working in concert with soldiers, sailors and fliers would be capable of a variety of cooperative missions, such as surveillance and reconnaissance.

“The concept of systems of vehicles is new,” says Dr. Abdollah Homaifar, Duke Energy Eminent Professor of computer engineering at N.C. A&T and leader of the project. “It’s about teaming and cooperation among the autonomous vehicles.

“Teams of these vehicles could provide an advantage on the battlefield, but we need to learn how to move beyond controlling, for example, one drone at a time, and how they can work together. These are complex systems that will operate together in extreme conditions.”

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N.C. A&T awarded $1.6 million to increase cybersecurity research and education

U.S. Department of Energy logoAs cyber attacks become more powerful and frequent, North Carolina A&T State University is again expanding its graduate-level cybersecurity program.

A national initiative announced Thursday will provide funding for the Department of Computer Science to expand enrollment in its master’s and doctoral programs. The growth comes just a year after the department admitted its first students at the Ph.D. level.

N.C. A&T will work with 12 other historically black colleges and universities and two national laboratories to dramatically grow the workforce of professionals, researchers and academics prepared to lead the nation’s defense against cyber attacks.

The project will be funded by the federal Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium, a program to spark interest in cybersecurity in students from elementary school to graduate school.  The $25 million, five-year program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration.

A&T will be involved at the master’s and doctorate levels. Graduates from the other colleges and universities will study and conduct research at A&T.

Research will focus on cyber-identity protection and privacy in addition to cybersecurity in general.

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Welcome back! Here’s a summer news recap: Hypoallergenic peanuts, EPICS, NC TraCS & more

To all who were gone over the summer, welcome back. Here’s a rundown of the top research-related news at A&T since May:

Faculty members, department chairs, and deans: We want to write about your research, scholarly and creative activity!  Let us know about it; click here for email.

A&T and 3 Triad partners in solar electricity project

Sun shining over mountain (in Portugal, actually)

A&T, UNCG, WFU, and WSSU researchers are working on low-cost solar concentrators as a key to economically viable electricity generated from sunlight.

Four Triad universities are working together on a project to significantly reduce the cost of generating electricity from sunlight.

The Four Universities Solar Consortium is composed of scientists and engineers from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Wake Forest University, and Winston-Salem State University. 

The team’s specific goal is to develop a low-cost solar concentrator that will make the production of electricity from sunlight economically viable and widespread.

To do that, the team will have to advance the science of using concentrated sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen and then develop a way to store the hydrogen on site for capacity leveling. “This further requires developing and integrating, through industrial partnerships, three important supporting technologies for mirrors, waste-heat recovery, and high-temperature photovoltaics and catalytic reactors,” the team’s proposal says.

The project was one of three finalists for a $100,000 grant from the four schools’ Triad Interuniversity Planning Project (TIPP). The provosts of the schools are funding the one-year project. Each finalist previously received a one-year TIPP planning grant of $20,000. 

“We were betting in the planning phase that an acre of mirrors could be constructed more cheaply than an acre of efficient photovoltaics, and that the higher temperature of waste heat from concentrator systems will open routes for reclaiming some of it as electricity,” the team said in its proposal.

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NSF grant proposal workshop April 25

SAve the date flyer for NSF proposal workshop, Thursday April 25

3 diverse new research projects at N.C. A&T explore blood-brain barrier, risk management, wheat bran

Three new research projects at N.C. A&T aim to explore the weakening of the blood-brain barrier in  Alzheimer’s disease patients, to apply risk management to supply chain logistics, and to find a way to make dietary fiber taste better.

The projects are the first ones funded at A&T for each of the three principal investigators. All were funded in October.  They were among 29 new or continuing projects receiving external funding during the month, totaling more than $10 million.

The complete list of projects receiving external sponsored funding in October

The projects are (click the links for one-page summaries):

  • “Brain pericyte and amyloid-beta peptide interaction,” Dr. Donghui Zhu, Department of Bioengineering, $142,000, National Institutes of Health. One hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is a compromised blood-brain barrier  characterized by significant reductions in critically important pericyte cells on the exterior walls of endothelia.  Our long-term goal is to determine the role of brain pericytes in the development of Alzheiner’s disease and to develop drugs to preserve pericytes functioning in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • “Understanding Risks and Disruptions in Supply Chains and their Effect on Firm and Supply Chain Performance,” Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast, Department of Applied Engineering Technology, $200,000, National Science Foundation. This project provides the first comprehensive view of managing risks and disruptions within supply chains in different industries with respect to the stage and scope of the risk. As such, it facilitates the formation and establishment of an integrative discipline (risk engineering/risk management) utilizing engineering, technology, and management foundations.
  • “Modification of Wheat and Corn Brans by Microfluidization Process,” Dr. Guibing Chen, Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, N.C. Research Campus, $299,000, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Numerous studies indicate that dietary fiber plays a protective role against obesity, but it’s difficult for anyone eating a typical Western diet to consumer adequate fiber.  Research is needed to improve sensory properties of high-fiber foods and to enhance the fiber ingredients’ nutritional value. We propose to modify physicochemical and nutritional properties of wheat and corn brans using a microfluidization process. This technique will significantly improve palatability and nutritional value.

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for August 2012: Health Informatics Security and Privacy Program

NSF logoThe Sponsored Funding Report for August:

N.C. A&T received 13 grants totaling $6.59 million in August.

The complete list of grants received in August.

One highlight of the month’s funding was $29,640 from the National Science Foundation toward a $329,000 grant to Dr. Dorothy Yuan of  the Department of Computer Science.  The project is titled, “Targeted Infusion Project Grant: Developing Health Informatics Security and Privacy Program.” Working with Dr. Yuan on the project are Drs. Gerry Dozier of the Department of Computer  Science; Hong Wang, Department of Management; Jinsheng Xu, Department of Computer Science; Justin Zhan, Department of Computer Science; and Kossi Edoh, Department of Mathematics.

The issue: Health informatics is one of the economy’s largest growth areas. With the government’s growing interest in electronic health records and with the growing investment by healthcare organizations in technology, there is an increasing demand for health informatics and health information technology professionals. To make health information systems secure,  the systems’ designers and administrators must be well educated in information assurance, with an understanding of security, privacy, integrity and reliability.

Abstract: The goal of this project is to establish a concentration in Health Informatics Security and Privacy in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program. This interdisciplinary project will be a  joint effort of  the departments of Computer Science,  Management, and Mathematics.

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