4 circles showing headshots of faculty award recipients
Kansas NSF EPSCoR announces four First Awards for assistant professors from Emporia State University, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University.

These seed grants are designed to help early-career faculty initiate novel research related to the ARISE project while also building grant writing skills. Each award of up to $50,000 supports a year of research and education efforts.

Award recipients plan to use the funding to study a range of compelling research topics that are relevant to Kansans, including advances in lithium-ion battery technology, data literacy, drought forecasting, and novel tools to strengthen security of critical infrastructure.

Fall 2023 First Award Recipients

“LLM4KSS: Large-language Models for Kansas Science,” by Xiaolong Guo, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Kansas State University

“Data Literacy for All: A Kansas Public Library Initiative,” by Amanda Hovious, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University

“The use of Radar technology and AI techniques to forecast early-stage drought in Kansas,” by Zelalem Demissie, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Wichita State University

“Physics-informed machine learning model for assessment of state of health of lithium-ion batteries used in resilient infrastructure applications,” by Davi Soares, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Wichita State University

Kansas map with icons on 6 cities where the 170 total recipients are located

A long history

Since launching in 1992, Kansas NSF EPSCoR has invested in 170 assistant professors with its First Award program. Awardees hail from six universities in Kansas. Many have gone on to win prestigious federal grants and achieve national recognition—two key metrics of the program’s success at building lasting research capacity in Kansas.

Funding for the 2023 First Awards comes from the ARISE project, which stands for “Adaptive and Resilient Infrastructures driven by Social Equity.” The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) launched the five-year ARISE project in 2022 with co-funding from the Kansas Board of Regents.

NSF EPSCoR spurs innovation and workforce development in traditionally underfunded regions of the country—like Kansas. For every dollar it invests, the State gets back more than double that amount in non-EPSCoR funding, which helps build capacity at dozens of universities and colleges in the state.