Research News
Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | May 2013

From the Vice Chancellor 
UNL

Innovative ideas key to our research success

While the spring semester has ended, our research activities continue. Summer is a great time both to recharge and to concentrate your creative energies on innovative research ideas.

I want to congratulate Professor Evgeny Tsymbal and his UNL physics colleagues, Peter Dowben, Kirill Belashchenko, Christian Binek, Alexei Gruverman and Xia Hong, for their recent major research funding success. They competed successfully to lead the new $7.125 million Center for NanoFerroic Devices, a national research collaboration funded by Semiconductor Research Corp. and the National column breakInstitute of Standards and Technology, and part of the National Nanoelectronics Research Initiative. Read more about this project in this issue of Research News.

This large and prestigious award builds on our successful NSF-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Voelte-Keegan Nanoscience Research Center and long-term investments through the university’s Programs of Excellence, the Nebraska Research Initiative and the University of Nebraska Foundation.

This “big win” also proves that we can succeed even in this tough budgetary environment by developing strong proposals on innovative ideas and multi-institutional collaborations.

The budget environment in Washington, D.C., is challenging and uncertain, as I found out during my recent visit to Capitol Hill with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce leadership team. I also had an opportunity to listen to President Obama’s address to the National Academy of Sciences as a guest of Associate Vice Chancellor Brian Larkins.

If approved, R&D support will increase significantly in the fiscal year 2014 budget. Regardless of the outcome of budget negotiations, it is imperative that we continue our efforts to prepare and submit the strongest and best-prepared proposals on the most innovative ideas. Your colleagues in the Office of Research and Economic Development are ready to help you in securing funding.

We also need to be more aggressive in communicating with program officers at various funding agencies to learn about priorities. Increasingly, funding agencies are emphasizing interdisciplinary research projects, including review of grants by panels composed of people from multiple disciplines.

Mike Nastasi (left), mechanical and materials engineering professor and director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, and vice chancellor Prem Paul visited with Emily Yaung Ashworth, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s office in China, during a trip to China earlier May.

Mike Nastasi (left), mechanical and materials engineering professor and director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, and vice chancellor Prem Paul visited with Emily Yaung Ashworth, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s office in China, during a trip to China in early May.

There are also opportunities available for international collaborations. I just returned from a week in China visiting Xi’an Jiaotong University, Beijing Institute of Technology and the NSF’s China office in Beijing. Several faculty members traveled to Xi’an Jiaotong University to participate in a highly successful research forum. My thanks to research forum participants Tom Clemente, agronomy and horticulture; Yongfeng Lu and Wei Qiao, electrical engineering; Mike Nastasi, mechanical and materials engineering, director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research; Andrea Cupp, animal science; and Joe Luck and Curt Weller, biological systems engineering. The research forum was part of a larger University of Nebraska week organized by the university’s American Exchange Center at XJTU. I also met several faculty members at XJTU who will be coming to UNL as part of the UNL-XJTU collaboration.

There are exciting opportunities both internationally and with private- and public-sector partners across the nation. I urge you to think creatively about research that addresses the grand challenges facing our world, as well as the potential partners we can team with to more effectively tackle these challenges.

premsig

Prem S. Paul
Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development



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