3 faculty headshots

This month Kansas NSF EPSCoR announced three First Awards to catapult the careers of assistant professors in Kansas.

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 one year of research and education efforts.

This year’s award recipients hail from the University of Kansas and Wichita State University. They plan to use the funding to study a range of original, timely, and compelling research topics ranging from quantifying erosion risks at heritage sites to building resilience with Kansas Tribes and shoring up the resilience of computing infrastructures.

Since launching in 1992, Kansas NSF EPSCoR has invested in 173 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 2024 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.

The goal of NSF EPSCoR is to spur innovation and opportunity in traditionally underfunded regions of the country including Kansas. As a result of its efforts, Kansas has become more competitive in acquiring federal funding. In other words, for every dollar it pumps into resesarch, Kansas scientists have received more than double that in other grants.

Summer 2024 First Award Recipients

Improving Cultural Heritage Resilience through Modeling and Quantification of Erosion Risks to Heritage Sites by Matthew Howland, Wichita State University

Indigenous-Led Cultural Burns and Research In Resiliency with Kansas Tribes by Melinda Adams, Langston Hughes Assistant Professor, Geography & Atmospheric Science and Indigenous Studies, University of Kansas

Towards Robust Resilience for Large Computing Infrastructures by Hongyang Sun, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Kansas