News Archives: January, 2017

University of Vermont among recipients of $30m in funding from the Department of Energy to integrate solar into nation's electric grid

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The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) SunShot Initiative announced up to $30 million in new projects to support the integration of solar energy into the nation’s electric grid, while diversifying the nation’s electricity sources and improving the reliability and security of the electric grid. SunShot will fund 13 projects with a total of up to $30 million to develop next-generation grid planning and operation tools that help to integrate more solar power with the grid.

SunShot selected 13 projects under the ENERGISE funding program to enable grid operators to access up-to-the-minute measurement and forecasting data from distributed energy sources and optimize system performance using sensor, communication and data analytics technologies. These projects will help to improve the reliability of the nation’s energy grid by providing utilities with dynamic, automated and cost-effective management of solar and other distributed energy sources. These software and hardware solutions will be highly scalable, data-driven, and capable of fully optimizing system operation and planning.

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NSF awards University of Nevada, Reno $2.2 million to advance brain research

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Five neuroscience-research consortiums addressing fundamental questions about the brain were recently awarded funding through the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research or EPSCoR process. Two of the five consortiums include University of Nevada, Reno neuroscience researchers in the Department of Psychology who are now at work on the projects described by the head of EPSCoR as holding the promise of transforming daily lives.

Associate Professor of Psychology Marian Berryhill and Assistant Professor of Psychology Jacqueline Snow are co-principal investigators on a project probing cognition and learning. Led by the University of Delaware and also involving researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the project explores the complex relationship between existing knowledge stored in the brain and new information obtained through sensory perception.

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Kansas State among recipients of NSF award: $3 million for plant and animal microbiome and phenomics research

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Millions of microbes living on and in the human body collectively make up our microbiomes. These microbial ecosystems help keep us healthy. The same processes are at work in other animals, as well as in plants.

To better understand the role microbiomes play in human health and in ecosystems around the world, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences has awarded $3 million in Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER). In addition to microbiomes, the research will focus on plant and animal phenomics -- the study of the physical and biochemical traits of organisms as they change in response to genetic mutations and environmental influences.

The findings will foster improved human health and agricultural productivity and more efficient use of natural resources, such as land and water.

"These studies will lead to a better understanding of how microbial communities interact with one another and with their plant and animal hosts," says James Olds, NSF assistant director for Biological Sciences. 

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Atmospheric scientists take to the skies to test cloud seeding for snow

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Can cloud seeding -- dispersing particles into the air with the aim of increasing precipitation -- increase snowfall? This week, a team of researchers began a cloud-seeding project in southwestern Idaho to answer that question.

Cloud seeding is a process by which artificial ice nuclei, such as silver iodide particles, are released into clouds, either from the air or via ground-based generators.

The Idaho project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and dubbed SNOWIE (Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds -- the Idaho Experiment), will run from January 7 to March 17 in and around the Payette Basin, 50 miles north of Boise.

"Scientists are still uncertain about cloud seeding for increasing precipitation, despite ongoing operations around the globe," says Nick Anderson, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. "SNOWIE is the most comprehensive study to date on cloud seeding in winter."

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University of Kentucky to host STEM conference for middle school girls April 29, 2017

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A team from the University of Kentucky has received a grant from Kentucky NSF EPSCoR (National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) for Education and Outreach Activities to fund a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) conference for middle school girls at UK this spring.

The primary goal of the conference, titled “Expanding Your Horizons (EYH),” is to encourage middle school girls to consider STEM studies by providing them with memorable interactive workshop experiences, visible female role models in STEM fields and exposure to different career paths in STEM. EYH seeks to provide middle school girls and their parents an inspiring environment in order to help both groups recognize and pursue opportunities in STEM. The conference will be held April 29 in the Jacobs Science Building.

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West Liberty University professor obtains grant for labs

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West Liberty University recently received a $19,300 grant to purchase state-of-the-art instrumentation to enhance its anatomy and physiology laboratories.

Natalia Omelchenko, pictured below, applied for the grant from the West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. She is an assistant professor of biology in the department of natural sciences and mathematics.

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Monumental modeling

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Over the past decade, a dark substance has tarnished the bright white dome of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Despite appearances, it's not just dirt and grime.

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