New Fund Supports Research Outside the Lab

A new program that aims to reduce gaps in research funding at NC State has awarded grants totaling $95,000 to nine projects spanning seven colleges. The Non-laboratory Scholarship/Research Support Program, or NSRP, allocated small grants of less than $5,000 to four projects and larger grants capped at $20,000 to five others. Funds may be used to support field work, database access, specialized software and video equipment, among other needs.

NSRP is jointly funded by the Provost’s Office and the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development.

“Everything we can do as an institution to encourage innovative scholarship and research pays dividends not just for our faculty and students, but for the larger community that benefits from our work,” said Provost Warwick Arden. “I’m impressed by the quality of the projects we’re funding through NSRP and excited to see how this new source of support will advance these important efforts.”

The new fund is part of an ongoing strategic effort at NC State to invest in faculty and infrastructure. In recent years the university has created programs to help researchers access core research facilities and equipment and to speed the commercialization of research discoveries. But gaps remained, said Alan Rebar, vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development.

“Many faculty are involved in research and scholarship that does not require laboratory resources but does need other types of support to be successful,” he said. “Funds available through NSRP can help meet those needs, especially for faculty working on challenging issues at the intersection of traditional disciplines.”

Projects Funded for 2017-18

NSRP funded the following projects, which were selected from more than two dozen applications.

Customized Service with SciStarter.com to Pioneer a Citizen Science Campus
Principal Investigator: Caren Cooper, College of Natural Resources
Amount: $20,000

Funds for this project support the customization and license of SciStarter.com to manage co-curricular and curricular student engagement in citizen science. The plan includes Shibboleth login, an NC State landing page, faculty access to assess student participation, an administrative dashboard to support research on student engagement and learning, and enhanced access for faculty to launch citizen science projects. The project supports research in many disciplines that rely on citizen science for data collection, social science research about volunteer activities and learning, and advances in design and exhibits.

Test Drive of the Crimson Hexagon Social Media Analytics Platform
Principal Investigator: Jean Goodwin, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Co-PIs: Christopher Healey, College of Engineering; Nicole Lee, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Amount: $15,000

This project is a pilot study of Crimson Hexagon, an online social media analytics platform that combines a comprehensive database of Twitter and Facebook posts with both simple and sophisticated search functions. In addition to carrying out a variety of studies of public attitudes towards science, natural resources and new technologies, the project team will evaluate the platform for future adoption and use by the entire NC State community.

The Black Families Project: Dyadic Adolescent-Caregiver Well-being Survey
Principal Investigator: Elan Hope, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Co-PI: Qiana R. Cryer-Coupet, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Amount: $15,000

This grant will support the Black Families Project, a large national database to study the health and well-being of black families in the United States. The goal of this project is to collect dyadic survey data on the psychological, physical, economic and political health of black caregivers and their adolescent children with a focus on family socialization and communication practices. These data will provide an interdisciplinary and contemporary platform to understand how black families across socioeconomic strata are adapting to and thriving in the current sociopolitical climate.

Leveraging Geospatial Climate Data to Solve Environmental and Agricultural Problems in North Carolina
Principal Investigator: Anders Huseth, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Co-PI: Natalie Nelson, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Amount: $4,790

Historical climate data will be a key component to learn from existing observational data sets targeting both environmental and agricultural problems in North Carolina and the Southeastern United States. Specifically, geospatial climate data purchased through NSRP will be linked to existing observational data sets to first understand where and when environmental problems tend to occur, and then to design research approaches that generate adaptive management approaches for emerging environmental and agricultural issues. Through this retrospective modeling approach, researchers will improve their understanding of how abiotic factors affect economically and ecologically important organisms, and gain insight into how changes in abiotic conditions initiate cascading impacts throughout ecosystems

Seeking Harmony: An Exploration of the Role of Gender in the School-Work-Life Experiences of Graduate Students Across Academic Fields
Principal Investigator: Audrey Jaeger, College of Education
Co-PI: Katalin Szelényi, UMASS Boston
Amount: $15,717

Existing research has shown that graduate students’ career development is significantly shaped by their graduate school experience and often that very experience represents a major turnoff from pursuing a faculty career. In large part, this is due to graduate students witnessing significant lack of work-life balance among their advisers and other faculty members. Research has yet to explore how graduate students experience their various responsibilities, how they spend their time, how they think about school-work-life balance, and what strategies they use to attain balance. This study will offer data-driven evidence to address school-work-life issues among graduate students.

Analysis of Pottery From Petra in Jordan
Principal Investigator: S. Thomas Parker, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Amount: $3,540

The grant will fund analysis of pottery recovered from the Petra North Ridge site by a team from NC State and ECU. The team has excavated 2,000-year-old houses and tombs to learn about the non-elite inhabitants of Petra, an ancient city in modern Jordan.

FACES at State: Fostering Advocacy, Communication, Empowerment, and Supports for African American Families of Children With Autism
Principal Investigator: Jamie Pearson, College of Education
Co-PI: Natalie Murr, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Amount: $16,880

FACES at State is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences and the Department of Psychology’s Psychoeducational Clinic, in an effort to meet the needs of African-American families of children who have or are at risk for autism. FACES is designed to empower parents to advocate for equitable access to services for their children and facilitate the development of autism support networks that graduates can sustain within their communities beyond the duration of the program.

Examination of the Retail Subscription Services Model: An Impact, Motivation, and Consumer Profile Assessment
Principal Investigator: Lori Rothenburg, College of Textiles
Co-PIs: Delisia Matthews, College of Textiles; Qiana R. Cryer-Coupet, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Stefanie Robinson, Poole College of Management
Amount: $4,000

Researchers from three NC State colleges will survey a national sample of consumers who use online community subscription services in the areas of apparel, food, jewelry and beauty. Forecasts indicate that online community subscription business models, such as Stitch Fix in apparel retailing, will increase in the next few years and may have notable financial impact.

Bringing the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) to NC State
Principal Investigator: Timothy Stinson, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Amount: $2,851

This project involves the installation of hardware and a virtual machine hosting a mirror instance of the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) catalogue and server at NC State. ARC is a meta-federation of period-specific federations for humanities research, teaching and scholarship that offers peer review and aggregation of electronic scholarship for their respective fields. This project supports the discovery of humanities data, the linking of data in digital humanities projects and libraries to pertinent secondary scholarship, interacting with and improving early print archives, and exploring data via a visual search interface.

Review Committee

The committee that reviewed the projects was established by NC State’s Research Operations Council and included associate deans for research from several colleges as well as administrators from the Provost’s Office and ORIED.

  • Tom Birkland (Chair), College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Steve Allen, Poole College of Management
  • Marian McCord, College of Natural Resources
  • Celen Pasalar, College of Design
  • Paola Sztajn, College of Education
  • Mladen Vouk, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Development and Research Administration, ORIED
  • Jon Horowitz, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Infrastructure, ORIED
  • Margery Overton, Vice Provost for Academic Strategy, Provost’s Office

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