Four researchers at the University of New Orleans were recently awarded a total of more than $2 million in competitive federal research grants.
Elaine Brooks, professor and chair of the UNO English & Foreign Languages department, translated Fernando Contreras Castro’s novel “Cierto Azul” from Spanish to English. On July 1, the English translation was published by Lavender Ink, a small press located in New Orleans.
Brooks traveled to San José, Costa Rica, in the summer of 2019 to finalize her translation with the novel’s author. Her trip was supported by a Creative Endeavor Opportunity (CEO) grant from the UNO Office of Research.
“I worked 25 days in Costa Rica completing the last chapter of my translation of ‘Cierto Azul’ and editing the entire manuscript with Fernando Contreras Castro,” Brooks said. “The discussions and the editing experience with [the author] were essential to the completion of my translation project, and I am grateful for the financial support that I received from the UNO Office of Research.”
During her time in Costa Rica, Brooks worked extensively with Contreras Castro to update the title of his book for an English-speaking audience.
“The title in Spanish pays homage to Miles Davis’ signature jazz album, ‘Kind of Blue,’” Brooks said. “As we discussed the intricate storylines from the novel, we decided that the English version of ‘Cierto Azul’ would be ‘Blue Note,’ which is the note on the blues scale added to the pentatonic scale.”
Contreras Castro’s novel uses the history of jazz music and improvisation to approach the history of slavery and the oral traditions of enslaved people.
Brooks explained that the blue note in Contreras Castro’s novel “also represents the music of Africa that was retained in the oral traditions of slaves, whose music became a code for communicating while in the presence of the slave masters. Since the novel follows more than one storyline, and weaves the story of the birth of jazz with the story of slavery in the United States, Fernando felt that the title Blue Note would emphasize this integration of history for readers in the U.S.”
“Blue Note” is available through Lavender Ink and other online booksellers. Brooks previously translated Contreras Castro’s novel “Única mirando al mar,” also published by Lavender Ink under the English title “Única Looking at the Sea.”
Political science professor Steve Mumford and a team of student researchers produced a study on the state of nonprofits in southeastern Louisiana. The report, funded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, shows that many organizations have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and struggle to continue providing services to the public.
"The Office of Research was hugely helpful throughout the study," Mumford said. "First, I worked with Kendy [Martinez] to create the budget, fill out paperwork, process the grant agreement, etc.—for each of the two grants from GNOF that funded the research. Jesse [Sherrell] was always helpful with purchases as well."
Mumford's team included graduate assistant DeVante Starks and three undergraduate Tolmas Scholars: Kielee Clement, Ariane Dent and Mckenzie Howell.
"Through the Tolmas Scholars program, I was able to bring on three students working a total of 300 hours over the semester," Mumford said. "We all figured out Zoom together and kept each other’s morale up during the worst of the pandemic. I called them my 'team' and sincerely meant that."
The Tolmas Scholars worked 8-10 hours per week, helping with tasks like preparing data collection equipment and technology, conducting phone calls and surveys with nonprofit leaders, engaging in qualitative analysis and creation of maps displaying survey data, presenting preliminary findings to GNOF, and preparing the survey contact list, "through an exhaustive search of public records," Mumford said.
To read more about the study and its findings, see the full story below.
On June 5, UNO marketing professor Kyeong Sam Min published a study in "Marketing Letters: A Journal of Research in Marketing." The study was funded by a Creative Endeavor Opportunity grant from the UNO Office of Research.
The goal of the Creative Endeavor Opportunity grant is to provide support for faculty to launch programs of research, scholarship, exhibition or performance that will ultimately result in increased research and creative activity on campus. Proposals are ranked by the UNO Research Council, with preference given to interdisciplinary projects that involve multiple researchers from diverse colleges and departments.
Min’s proposed project outlined collaboration between UNO’s Management & Marketing and Film & Theatre departments. The original $6,600 grant awarded to Min in 2011 supported research efforts, travel and other expenditures associated with working on his study.
"The CEO grant gives faculty an excellent opportunity to explore a new stream of research," Min said. "[It] enabled me to reach out to large scale consumer panel data to confirm and generalize my initial findings. It also supported my conference travel to disseminate the findings and interact with experts in the topic area. While it took a few more years to collect additional data and have the paper published in a journal, I owe a big thanks to the generous financial support from the UNO Office of Research that helped me not give up on my original idea."
As a consumer psychologist, Min "love[s] to study novel phenomena that help understand consumer response to creative marketing activities." He knows many journal publications expect researchers to document "new phenomena that are reliable, valid and generalizable." As a result, Min said, "researchers need to conduct multiple studies to demonstrate that their findings are the real thing."
Min's paper "Timing of apology after service failure: the moderating role of future interaction expectation on customer satisfaction" is available through SpringerLink. Co-authors and -researchers included Jae Min Jung, Kisang Ryu, Curtis Haugtvedt, Sathiadev Mahesh and John "Hamp" Overton.
Peter Bierhorst: $600,000 from Department of Defense
Peter Bierhorst, assistant professor of mathematics, is using his expertise in quantum physics to address practical problems in cryptography—the study of secure communication. Bierhorst’s proposal was one of only six chosen nationally by Department of Defense subject-matter experts from more than 200 white papers. Each collaborative team receives up to $600,000 over a three-year period.
Wendy Schluchter: $521,578 from NSF Biology Division
Wendy Schluchter, biological sciences professor and department chair, is studying how a group of widespread marine phytoplankton called Synechococcus succeed in photosynthesis by matching their pigment composition to the light environment. The research will also train graduate students, undergraduate students, high school teachers and high school students in genetics, biochemistry and structural biology.
Viktor Poltavets: $475,682 from NSF Division of Materials Research
Viktor Poltavets, chemistry professor, is studying the properties of nickelates with the hopes that his findings could lead to the design of new superconductors. Superconducting materials can transmit electric current without temperature losses and create high magnetic field, which has led to their applications in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), high-speed rail trains, electric motors and generators.
John Wiley: $450,000 from NSF Division of Chemistry
John Wiley, chemistry professor and director of UNO's Advanced Materials Research Institute, is studying the modification of nanoparticles confined within scrolled capsules. The techniques developed will allow the production of unique hetero nanoparticles and nanowires not accessible by standard methods. Potential applications could include next-generation electronic devices, magnetics, energy storage, and environmental remediation.
The Office of Research is a vital campus service for faculty, staff, and students. As a result, please note that the Office of Research remains available to assist you. Our staff members are working remotely, but they can be accessed via email; they are also accessible via telephone or digital conference. We ask for your patience during this time as we all work through the technical challenges that accompany any abrupt change in operating procedure.
For additional information regarding proposal and award management, please see below.
Our grant writers are working remotely, but they remain available to assist you. If you would like to submit a grant proposal in the coming weeks, please contact your applicable grant writer and fill out a Grant Writing Services Request form. If you'd like to set up a meeting with a grant writer, they can accommodate you through Zoom.
If you are seeking funds for time-sensitive work from programs with fast-approaching deadlines, contact your service team as soon as possible to coordinate your submission.
At this time, international travel is not authorized by UNO.
If you budgeted for travel in your proposal but cannot travel—or cannot use other funds as originally projected—due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may need to submit a Budget Adjustment Request Form to spend those funds on other items. The Office of Research will review your request and contact you regarding next steps.
Travel arrangements (for airfare, hotel rooms, etc.) must be cancelled as soon as possible, and appropriate documentation must be collected. Contact UNO Accounts Payable for guidance.
If you need additional time to complete your research, or cannot comply with your reporting deadline due to COVID-19-related closures, you may need to request a No Cost Extension. Contact Kendy Martinez with any questions. Contact your program officer for guidance on re-budgeting and on no-cost extensions.
Your productivity is vital to the University of New Orleans, and we do not wish to limit it while taking the necessary precautions to protect our community. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out; we will remain available to you through phone, email, and digital conference throughout the University's social distancing period.
Thank you for your patience and your precaution —The Office of Research
On Tuesday, the Office of Research hosted its annual awards ceremony, Achievements in Research, Creativity and Scholarship (ARCS). By the end of the ceremony, the department announced more than $330,000 of investments into the innovative activities of UNO students, faculty and staff.
The Faculty Creativity, Research and Scholarship Awards are the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Office of Research. They are presented to innovative faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their fields and at the University of New Orleans.
The awards are divided into two tracks: (1) traditional research and (2) creativity and scholarship. Nominations are reviewed and scored by the UNO Research Council. Winners receive a one-year fixed price award of $10,000 for career awards.
President John Nicklow announced the following 2020 winners of the career Creativity, Research and Scholarship awards:
Creativity & Scholarship Focus
The internal grant program managed by the Office of Research includes several funding opportunities for various creative, competitive and interdisciplinary research projects on campus. Applicants are encouraged to work collaboratively with other professors and to consider the process an opportunity to hone their grant-writing skills.
Proposals are reviewed and scored by the UNO Research Council.
The goal of the Creative Endeavor Opportunity program is to provide support for faculty members launching programs of research, scholarship, exhibition or performance that will ultimately result in increased research and creative activity on campus. Proposal budgets are capped at $10,000.
The 2020 recipients are:
The goal of the award for Stimulating Competitive Research is to enhance faculty’s ability to successfully compete for extramural sponsored research funding.
The SCoRe award is intended as seed money for faculty to develop a new area of research activity, and it is expected that a SCoRE award will result in a proposal being submitted to an external funding agency. Proposal budgets are capped at $15,000.
The 2020 recipients are:
Many federal agencies stress the importance of interdisciplinary research, and the Interdisciplinary Grant Development opportunity is designed to support a team focused on writing competitive, interdisciplinary, federal proposals—or comparable non-federal proposals.
An IGD grant requires collaboration between two different departments or two different colleges. The aim of the program is to stimulate fundable, interdisciplinary research across disciplines that are substantially distinct. Proposal budgets are capped at $17,500 per PI.
The 2020 recipients are:
UNO offers two flagship programs that introduce undergraduate students to research opportunities: the Privateer Undergraduate Research & Scholarly UNO Experience (PURSUE) and the College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Program (CoSURP).
Through these programs, undergraduates are awarded student worker positions with UNO faculty members. As these programs are generously funded in part by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, undergraduate students who receive these positions are known as "Tolmas Scholars."
Tolmas Scholars are awarded student worker positions paying $15 per hour at a maximum of 10 hours per week. PURSUE awards allow for up to 100 paid hours of scholarly work starting in the spring semester. CoSURP awards allow for up to 100 paid hours of scholarly work in the spring semester and another 100 hours in the fall.
To view the list of 2020 Tolmas Scholars, visit the Tolmas Scholars website.
UNO researchers now have access to Pivot, an intuitive search tool designed to send investigators weekly updates on funding opportunities that meet their search criteria. UNO's Pivot subscription includes other valuable database functions as well, including the ability to help identify research collaborators.
All faculty, staff, and students may create a Pivot account and receive weekly funding alert emails based on their individualized search criteria.
If you have any questions, contact your grant writer for more information or to schedule a training session.
On Thursday, the University of New Orleans’s Office of Research wrapped up the eighth annual InnovateUNO with an awards ceremony recognizing the winners of the research symposium.
Over the course of the three-day event, 415 presenters, co-presenters, and collaborators delivered 237 oral, poster, art, theater, music, and film presentations.
Presenters included UNO students, faculty, and staff from every discipline and area high school students engaged with UNO programs. This was the fourth year it has been open to all students, faculty, and staff.
The presentations were evaluated by 63 judges including UNO faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni, and business partners. More than 20 volunteers and room moderators staffed the event.
In all, the symposium engaged nearly 500 people—not counting attendees!
More than 40 students took home awards and cash prizes.
The University of New Orleans Office of Research has updated the content and structure of its website to better serve its audiences. The new layout prioritizes ease of use and spotlights the exciting research activity always in progress at UNO. With these new tools, the Office of Research can better communicate with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Greater New Orleans community and beyond.
Take a look, and don't forget to follow us on social media to stay informed!
The University of New Orleans welcomed 11 new faculty members to campus this fall! The new professors and assistant professors teach economics, management, accounting, sociology, political science, African American literature, psychology, computer science, counseling and civil and environmental engineering.
Each of these new faculty members will receive funding from the New Faculty Startup Program, a UNO grant program supporting new faculty's innovative activities. This program keeps UNO competitive in hiring the highest quality faculty with the greatest research potential.
To support our faculty's research, art, and scholarship, UNO has made more than $1.5 million in startup funds available from the faculty members' colleges, their departments, and the Office of Research. In order to secure continued funding, faculty members must submit at least one proposal to an outside sponsor in both the first and second years of employment. Faculty members must also attend a new faculty orientation program co-hosted by the Office of Research and Academic Affairs.
A total of $2.38 million was awarded to all 14 new faculty members, including three who were previously employed at UNO in other capacities.
InnovateUNO, the university's annual research symposium, spotlights the investigative work being conducted on our campus and in our research community. The 2019 symposium will be held November 19-21 in the Earl K. Long Library.
Registration for InnovateUNO is now open. If you are engaged in research, scholarly, creative, or innovative projects, you can use this platform to test your ideas, network with your peers, and share your success. Students can even win awards! Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff can present their work as posters, oral presentations, art displays, performances, or film screenings.
Register to present by September 20. Register to judge or volunteer by October 25.
The Office of Research is pleased to announce the opening of the 2019-2020 Internal Grant Programs (IGP). Eligible UNO faculty and research employees are encouraged to apply for one of these grants as a means of honing their grant-making skills and developing new areas of research or scholarly endeavors.
The available grants include:
Apply as directed by December 6.
All applications will be reviewed by the Research Council. Awardees will be announced at the Achievements in Research, Creativity, & Scholarship (ARCS) Award Ceremony.
For more information, visit the Research Council's website.
The Office of Research is pleased to announce the opening of the 2019-2020 Faculty Creativity, Research, & Scholarship Awards. Associate Professors and/or Professors may be nominated for awards in research or creativity/scholarship; Assistant Professors who have passed their third-year review may be nominated for Early Career awards in research or creativity/scholarship.
Submit your nomination(s) to email@example.com by December 6.
All nominations will be reviewed by the Research Council. Winners will be announced at the Achievements in Research, Creativity, & Scholarship (ARCS) Award Ceremony.
The University of New Orleans offers two flagship programs that introduce undergraduate students to research opportunities:
Through these programs, undergraduates are awarded student worker positions with UNO researchers. Undergraduates who receive these positions are known as "Tolmas Scholars."
The student worker positions pay $15 per hour at a maximum of 10 hours per week, and students begin working in the spring semester. All Tolmas Scholars are expected to participate in InnovateUNO in the fall semester following their initial award.
PURSUE awards allow for up to 100 paid hours of scholarly work starting in the spring semester.
CoSURP awards allow for up to 100 paid hours of scholarly work in the spring semester and another 100 hours in the fall.
Thanks to grant funding from the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM), the UNO School of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering (NAME) hosted local middle and high school students at an engineering summer camp focused on constructing robotic eels (PrivatEELs!) then testing their abilities to swim underwater. Over the course of the week, the students used 3-D modeling, additive manufacturing such as 3-D printing, mechanical and hydrodynamics design, and electrical engineering.
Tara Tolford, a research associate in the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute, was awarded a $248,000 grant from the Louisiana Transportation Research Center to collect and study data on bicyclists and pedestrians across the state.
UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI) and InnoGenomics Technologies, which is housed on campus, sponsored a forensic genetics workshop.
A $75,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation will allow the University of New Orleans to provide more students with targeted support through its partnership with College Beyond.
Psychology professor Christopher Harshaw is studying developmental reactions to acetaminophen.
Catalina Rubiano, an undergraduate researcher in Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans, spent five days in Austria while the University of Innsbruck celebrated 350 years of history, research, and instruction. Thanks to UNO's Innsbruck Travel Award, she participated in Innsbruck's international Science Festival, presenting research that won her a first-place award at InnovateUNO! She was able to tour the campus and network with peers from all over the world. We are #UNOPROUD!
Psychology professor Dr. Sarah Black has been researching the biological and environmental factors in adolescent depression and affective disorders. As a new faculty member at UNO, she is working with the Office of Research to navigate the processes for submitting grant proposals—and she just received a $19,670 early career grant from the American Psychological Foundation!
David Podgorski and Phoebe Zito have been awarded nearly $250,000 in grants over the last 18 months. These funds have allowed them to offer paid fieldwork research experience to graduate and undergraduate students.
The founders of biotech research companies LaCell LLC and its spin-off company Obatala Sciences are moving their lab to the UNO Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI) in July.
A $60,000 donation from retired professor and founder of AMRI Charles O'Connor and his wife, Sally E. O’Connor, will help establish an endowed professorship in chemistry. The University will pursue a $40,000 match from the Louisiana Board of Regents.
As the University of New Orleans, Louisiana Tech University, and Southeastern Louisiana University prepare for the transition to Workday, the three systems have been coordinating a massive restructuring of business and operating procedures. The collaborative effort demands dedicated oversight, and the University of Louisiana System has named facilitators at each university to champion the integration of crucial component systems.
Carol Lunn, assistant vice president for research and economic development, was named the system-wide facilitator for the grants component of Workday.
Lunn and her staff are working with their counterparts at Louisiana Tech and Southeastern to ensure Workday supports business procedures vital to all three universities. They host regular meetings with their respective teams and phone calls with the Workday consultant, facilitating conversation and advocating for the groups' priorities.
In May, Lunn and the UNO Office of Research will host a system-wide demonstration of Workday's grant administration and management functionality, providing documentation to support user training at all three universities.
Jacob Frick has been researching cyanobacteria with mentor Dr. Wendy Schluchter, chair of the University of New Orleans Department of Biological Sciences. Thanks to UNO's support of undergraduate research, Jacob is #UNOPROUD to be pursuing a career in scientific exploration.
The University of New Orleans's transition to Workday has prompted the Office of Research to restructure our pre-award and post-award staff members into teams managing specific academic and non-academic units. This new method of serving the scholars and researchers at the University of New Orleans should streamline communications about grants, contracts, and sponsored programs throughout the application and award process.
The Office of Research transitioned to the below team structure:
Visit the Faculty & Staff Research page to learn more about the UNO Office of Research service teams.