Congratulations to Winners of External Grants!

Once again, I’m pleased to report that several faculty and staff members have recently won external grants, fellowships, or contracts.  I’d like to congratulate Kelli Slunt, Dianne Baker, Jodie Hayob, Ben Kisila, Venitta McCall, Deb Hydorn, Dan Preston, Charlie Sharpless, Brian Baker, and Brian Rizzo for their achievements.

The National Science Foundation just awarded a group of UMW faculty members a three-year grant in the amount of $262,615 for a project titled STEM Talent Expansion through Research, Engagement, Preparation, and Scholarships.  Pending a successful third year review, this project is eligible for two additional years of funding.  The team behind this project is Kelli Slunt, Dianne Baker, Jodie Hayob, Ben Kisila, Venitta McCall, and Deb HydornSuzanne Sumner and George Meadows will also be involved in some of the project’s activities.  It’s a multi-dimensional effort involving a number of interconnected elements such as summer “bridge” courses designed to better prepare potential STEM students for the courses that can be stumbling blocks for some STEM students (such as general chemistry and calculus).  The project will also support the development of new undergraduate research opportunities, learning communities for students enrolled in STEM courses, and a summer science outreach initiative involving area high schools.  This is an ambitious and exciting set of projects!

If anything, the award of this grant is testimony for the persistence often required to successfully achieve external funding.  The project was initially submitted to the NSF in September 2009 and was declined.  Following suggestions offered in the initial reviewers’ comments, the proposal was revised, resubmitted in September 2010, and just last week the official notification of the award reached UMW.

Dan Preston has won a $250,000 three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Scholarly Editions program) to support the continuation of his project to compile and publish the papers of President James Monroe.  The NEH Grant, one of six awarded to projects submitted by Virginia institutions, will enable the completion of volume 5 of the Monroe Papers and will also make possible a significant portion of the completion of volume 6.  The entire Monroe Papers project is anticipated as an eight volume set.  Due to federal budget uncertainties, Dan had to endure more than the usual waiting period before he got the news.  His proposal, submitted last November, should have received a decision in May but that date was pushed back.  Final word of the award of this project reached us last week.

Charlie Sharpless just received the word that he will receive a sub-award as part of a collaborative project award by the National Science Foundation for a multi-university team that includes representation from The Ohio State University, the University of Connecticut, and UMW.  The project, designed to examine the pharmaceutical fates in river systems, involves a three-year grant from the NSF.  Charlie’s portion of the work occurs in years two and three.  As many of you may know, Charlie is currently on sabbatical and is serving as a Guest Professor at the Institute for Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland. Charlie’s sub-award is for $26,892.

Brian Baker and the UMW Small Business Development Center received a Hewlett Packard Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) grant.  The package, valued at $60,000, includes a technology bundle, curriculum and training session materials, access to the HP Life Network, and an outright cash portion.  The program is designed to harness technology in order to create new and better ways of learning IT and business skills so that entrepreneurs can build their businesses in ways that benefit the businesses and the communities in which those entrepreneurs work.  This was an international competition with applications received from 12 different counties.

Finally, Brian Rizzo has been awarded two contracts with the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) through its division of Geology and Mineral Resources.  These are the first agreements entered into under the auspices of a recent “Memorandum of Understanding” between the DMME and UMW.  The memorandum is designed to facilitate research opportunities for students and faculty in order to better understand Virginia’s geology, geography, topography, natural hazards, and mineral resources.   The first two contracts, each for $5,500, will involve the production of high-resolution digital terrain models and a series of maps for multiple locations in Virginia.

Congratulations again to everyone for their distinctive achievements!  This is an impressive showing, and I hope all of these projects turn out to be successful and rewarding experiences. And, in my next newsletter, I hope to have more good news as I am aware of other projects that are close to learning that they will also be funded.

If you have an interest in applying for external funding of any kind (grants, contracts, and so forth), please make sure you submit your proposal for the required UMW internal review before you make an application to the funding agency.  All proposals by UMW faculty or staff for any external funding (regardless of the funding source) follow the same internal review procedures.

Associate Provost John Morello serves as the point of contact for persons interested in submitting external grant proposals.  In cases where the application will go to a private funding source (a foundation, corporation, or the like), John Morello will coordinate with the Office of University Advancement.  Grant requests to private sources still need to proceed through the UMW external grants pre-approval process before they are submitted, even if the UMW Foundation will ultimately be responsible for submitting the proposal to the potential funding source. For full details about submitting an external grant proposal for internal review, go to the external grants web page.

The list of awards at the web page represents all the awards that have been made known to my office through the UMW internal process for approving external grant and contract applications before they are submitted.  If there’s an awarded project missing from this list, please call it to my attention.  We’d like to recognize your accomplishments.

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