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Welcome to my blog. It contains new and archived messages that I have sent to the campus. Feel free to browse!

Matthew A. Tarr PhD
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This is the list of all contributions published in this section, in chronological order.

By Dr. Whittenburg (on 1/25/2011 @ 13:30:49, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1223 times)

In the interim report recently distributed to campus there were several points regarding the UNO research enterprise. It may be helpful for us to use this as an opportunity to discuss the "health" of research on campus. I will be doing that over the next several days by postings to this blog.

The data that is provided in the transition report comes from the NSF Expenditure Survey. The years chosen in the interim report give the appearance that the research funding at UNO is decreasing. The data for each of the years since 2006 are given below (dollars in thousands):

Year S&E Federal S&E Total Total Federal Total
2006 12,432 23,897 13,478 26,520
2007 15,075 25,625 15,628 28,972
2008 13,657 24,783 14,346 27,917
2009 13,815 25,382 15,078 30,801
4 yr average 13,745 24,922 14,632 28,552

There are several measures that are provided in the NSF Survey: Science and Engineering (S&E, as defined by NSF) from all Federal sources (S&E Federal), S&E from all funding sources, and similar totals including all disciplines in addition to S&E. As you can see, the funding last year for all of those measures was more than the previous year and higher than the four-year average. It is safe to say that the research funding level has been rather constant over the past several years. That in itself is a rather remarkable achievement considering that 5 of our top 6 funded faculty have left the University and the total number of faculty has decreased by 13% since 2006.

 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 2/7/2011 @ 09:11:32, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1180 times)
The Coastal Sustainability Consortium (CSC) is growing. In addition to the four principal university members, UNO, LSU, Tulane and ULL, the CSC now has seven Affiliate Members: LaTech, Loyola, McNeese, Nicholls, Southeastern, SUBR and Xavier.
 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 2/9/2011 @ 14:17:30, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1119 times)
The ORSP executive staff and I just watched a webinar from SRA International on Research Capacity Building. It's part of a series of webinars we have subscribed to related to our research enterprise. Our research capacity is our ability as a campus to undertake research and disseminate the results effectively and efficiently. The webinar pointed to four fundamentals to capacity building: infrastructure, administrative services, incentives and our resource base (money). ORSP has been working to increase our capacity by funding specific projects to improve our research infrastructure (animal lab renovations, lab build-outs and computer room expansions). We have also increased research incentives including the summer research program, return of overhead to the colleges and centers/institutes. We also have worked to improve our administrative services that we provide to the faculty. Soon we will be conducting a survey to find out other areas we can improve in. I hope you will take the time to fill out the survey so we can get your ideas and feedback.
 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 2/14/2011 @ 09:02:18, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1202 times)
We are currently working with IRDM (Institutional Research and Data Management) and SPA to prepare the NSF Expenditure Survey. The survey is used by most people to rank research universities. Historically the UNO numbers were included in the LSU System numbers. Unfortunately when people referred to the LSU numbers it was often not mentioned that UNO was included in those figures. NSF now requires that each campus with a Chancellor be reported separately so UNO will now have its own listing. We are working to ensure those numbers are as accurate as possible.
 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 2/23/2011 @ 14:03:34, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1231 times)

There has been increasing use of technology readiness levels (or TRLs) in conversations with funding agencies and in solicitations for funding.  There are several definitions of TRLs, but in the US the most common is the DoD definition, which is given below.  Typically at a university we do basic research (or research and development) which is TRL 1-2.  As we begin to develop more projects that are related to economic development or the new SPAWAR contract, we'll begin to see more projects at TRL 5-6.

 

Technology Readiness Levels in the Department of Defense (DoD)(Source: DoD (2006), Defense Acquisition Guidebook)
Technology Readiness LevelDescription

1. Basic principles observed and reported

Lowest level of technology readiness. Scientific research begins to be translated into applied research and development. Example might include paper studies of a technology's basic properties.

2. Technology concept and/or application formulated

Invention begins. Once basic principles are observed, practical applications can be invented. The application is speculative and there is no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumption. Examples are still limited to paper studies.

3. Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept

Active research and development is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative.

4. Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment

Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together. This is "low fidelity" compared to the eventual system. Examples include integration of 'ad hoc' hardware in a laboratory.

5. Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment

Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly. The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so that the technology can be tested in a simulated environment. Examples include 'high fidelity' laboratory integration of components.

6. System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment

Representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond the breadboard tested for TRL 5, is tested in a relevant environment. Represents a major step up in a technology's demonstrated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype in a high fidelity laboratory environment or in simulated operational environment.

7. System prototype demonstration in an operational environment

Prototype near or at planned operational system. Represents a major step up from TRL 6, requiring the demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment, such as in an aircraft, vehicle or space. Examples include testing the prototype in a test bed aircraft.

8. Actual system completed and 'flight qualified' through test and demonstration

Technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the end of true system development. Examples include developmental test and evaluation of the system in its intended weapon system to determine if it meets design specifications.

9. Actual system 'flight proven' through successful mission operations

Actual application of the technology in its final form and under mission conditions, such as those encountered in operational test and evaluation. In almost all cases, this is the end of the last "bug fixing" aspects of true system development. Examples include using the system under operational mission conditions.
 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 2/24/2011 @ 09:01:34, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1144 times)

I was analyzing the federal research expenditures by discipline for 2009 which is available from the NSF Webcaspar database.  The expenditures in medical and bio-medical related fields is an order of magnitude more than the other disciplines.

 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 2/24/2011 @ 14:18:48, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1234 times)
My earlier browsing of the NSF Webcaspar database of research expenditures was prompted by an email one of our programs received that suggested it was in the top 100 of federal research expenditures for its discipline in 2009. That prompted me to search the database. According to that database and our NSF Expenditure Survey for 2009 UNO has three programs in the sciences and social sciences in the top 100 of their discipline: Sociology (#58), Chemistry (#59) and Earth & Environmental Science (#61). These three programs had more research expenditures last year than any other Louisiana university (by discipline). We also had two other programs that were in the top 200 and had more research expenditures than any other LA university: Psychology and Electrical Engineering. Congratulations one and all.
 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 4/11/2011 @ 14:56:48, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1194 times)

A good source for funding opportunities that is often overlooked by faculty is FedBizOpps. Many federal agencies post opportunities there. To locate potential opportunities, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to FedBizOpps at www.fbo.gov
  2. Click on the “advanced search form” link roughly 1/3 down home page.
  3. Set Opportunity/Procurement Type: to Presolicitation and Combined Synopsis/Solicitation and Sources Sought
  4. Set NAICS Code to 541711 and/or 541712 and/or 541720
  5. Hit Search button at bottom of screen

The site will automatically post opportunities in reverse chronological order (most recent on top of list).  To read one of the opportunities click the link under the Opportunity column.

If you have any questions, please contact me at  vcresearch@uno.edu

 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 5/24/2011 @ 12:57:20, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1021 times)

You may not have seen the article in New Orleans City Business by Ben Myers titled "Talk of UNO system switch reveals faith in research funding".  Here is a link to the story:

http://neworleanscitybusiness.com/thenewsroom/2011/05/23/talk-of-uno-system-switch-reveals-faith-in-research-funding/

 

The article seeks to answer the question "what will happen to research funding at UNO with the switch to the UL System?".  I believe the answer to that question depends on how our institution is treated in the new system and how our faculty react to the switch.   If the UL System is supportive of our research efforts then we will continue to thrive.  As I have pointed out in the past, our federal research expenditures grew by 27% this year.  A bigger challenge is the changing federal landscape.  Decreasing federal budgets and bans on earmarks will make it tough on all research universities.  If we modify our approach and work more closely with program officers and if our faculty continue seeking local, state and federal research grants, the research enterprise at UNO will continue to support our vision of the university as a graduate, research institution.

 
By Dr. Whittenburg (on 5/25/2011 @ 08:46:51, in Vice President Ramblings, read 1049 times)

The IEEE Magnetics Society Summer School started today in the Lindy Boggs Conference Center at UNO in our Research Park.  Hosting this prestigious international program is a real plus for the University.  It will run from May 22 - 28.  Congratulations to Dr. Leonard Spinu from the UNO Physics Department and AMRI for bringing this event to UNO.

Attached File:  IEEE_summer_school_NOLA_2011.pdf

 
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