The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has awarded funding to six research projects by UA Little Rock faculty members through the 2018-19 Seed Grant Competition.
This year, the competition accepted research proposals in two tracks. Four projects were awarded funding of $6,000 each in Track A, while two projects were awarded $12,000 each in Track B. The grant period for each award is from Aug. 16, 2018, to Aug. 15, 2019.
The UA Little Rock Seed Grant Competition aims to kickstart compelling research projects that can later be funded by external support after the term of the seed grant.
The Track A winners and their projects include:
Annie Childers and Liangfang Lu, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, “Placement and Retention in Developmental Mathematics at UA Little Rock”
Amar Kanekar, School of Counseling, Human Performance, and Rehabilitation, and Joseph Williams, Department of Rhetoric and Writing, “Health Quest – A Training Simulation for Health Education Students and Workers”
Rebecca Glazier, School of Public Affairs, and Heidi Skurat Harris, Department of Rhetoric and Writing, “Identifying Reliable Indicators of Instructor-Student Rapport in Online Classrooms”
Fusheng Tang, Department of Biology, “Osh6-Mediated Sterol Redistribution Extends the Lifespan”
The Track B winners and their projects include:
Hirak Patangia, College of Engineering and Information Technology, “An Experimental Investigation of a Faster Voltage Equalizer for a String of Batteries in Electric Vehicles”
Shanzhi Wang and Brian Berry, Department of Chemistry, “Investigation of the Pre-steady State of MTANs from Borrelia burgdorferi”
Kanekar and Williams’ project involves testing a digital simulation that will train health education students in how to conduct public health initiatives by learning aspects of program planning and evaluation for preventing a condition/disease of public health importance.
“My co-investigator, Dr. Joe Williams, and I feel great about winning this grant as we believe that this pilot project may open up doors for extending educational games for student learning in other health courses and looking into advanced gaming projects for student learning,” Kanekar said.
Proposals were judged based on the significance of the research or creative activity, quality of the research plan, expected outcomes and direct impact to the community, strength of plan to seek external support, ability to enhance and acquire external support, and qualifications of the researchers.
“The quality of the proposals for this year’s Seed Grant competition blew me away,” said Jerry Damerow, chair of the Dean’s Science Council for the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences and one of judges for the seed grant competition. “The quality was so good it made judging very difficult.”
Damerow said the judges looked for projects that would give UA Little Rock a competitive advantage and projects that could lead to commercially viable products or services.
“In this regard, Dr. Childers and Dr. Lu’s project to improve outcomes in developmental mathematics has the opportunity to give UA Little Rock an advantage in retaining and graduating students versus other universities that use a more traditional approach,” Demerow said. “Dr. Patangia’s project aimed at improving the efficiency of charging a string of batteries has important potential in the rapidly growing field of alternative energy.”