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Nevada Receives National Science Foundation Research Award for $20 Million

Nevada Receives National Science Foundation Research Award for $20 Million

To increase capacity for wildland fire research, education, and workforce development

Las Vegas, Nevada –The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) has been awarded $20 million over a period of five years for the Harnessing the Data Revolution for Fire Science (HDRFS) project.  This project is funded through the National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR); whose mission is to enhance research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions (states, territories, commonwealth) by strengthening STEM capacity and capability.

The overarching goal of the RII Track-1: Harnessing the Data Revolution for Fire Science (HDRFS) project is to increase the capacity of Nevada for wildland fire research, education, and workforce development and to demonstrate this increased capacity through technology-enhanced fire science in the regionally important sagebrush ecosystem.

This system-wide partnership involves the three research institutions, the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Further involvement includes faculty and students from NSHE undergraduate institutions.

“NSF continues to serve as an essential partner in supporting the critical work of the NSHE EPSCoR,” said NSHE Board of Regents Chair Cathy McAdoo. “As our region currently faces extreme fire and water challenges, we appreciate this investment in Fire Science research and workforce development; giving NSHE institutions (DRI, UNLV, UNR) more capacity to solve our most pressing environmental issues.”

This project will inform and improve land and fire management by providing scaling of fire effects and impacts from smaller to larger fires in four fire science areas: Ecology; Hydrology between fire events; Fire Processes; and Fire Emissions and their Atmospheric Aging during fire events. This will be achieved through strategic investments in expertise, facilities, Cyberinfrastructure Innovations, and Education and Workforce Development creating end-to-end pipelines for research and STEM advancements.

“This project will generate and harness large amounts of data from diverse sensor platforms to accurately model landscapes and wildland fires from plot to watershed scales,” said Frederick Harris, Nevada NSF EPSCoR Project Director. “We will study how fires impact the societal needs outlined in the Nevada Science and Technology Plan.”

In addition, NSHE researchers will study potential new areas of economic development for Nevada, emphasizing new opportunities for workforce development, diversity, hiring new faculty, and providing more scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields.

“This NSF award funds critical fire science research, which continues to be a priority for Nevada,” said DRI President Kumud Acharya. “DRI has expertise in wildland fire research, and we look forward to working with our fellow NSHE institutions on this important project.”

The award will enhance Nevada’s capabilities in wildland fire science, UAS, data acquisition, processing, and modeling, and rapid deployment, while strengthening Nevada’s network of external collaborators and stakeholders, who already include the major fire and land management agencies in the Great Basin and Western U.S.

“This marks an important investment for Nevada and the West,” said UNR President Brian Sandoval. “This National Science Foundation EPSCoR-supported project takes a comprehensive, collaborative approach. It will enhance the capacity of Nevada’s public research institutions to further tackle an issue of utmost importance, and will do so by further deploying technology and cyberinfrastructure, and further building on the expertise and capabilities of our researchers and faculty.”

“By joining forces, UNR, DRI, and UNLV are poised to reveal the power of cooperation in Nevada when it comes to addressing challenges important to the state and beyond its borders,” said UNLV President Keith Whitfield. “This research will advance our fundamental understanding of wildfires as it strengthens the capacity of our campuses to engage with each other and with Nevada’s students and citizens in addressing today’s complex challenges. This is but one example of how research works for Nevada.”

About NSHE: The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting research universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges, and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Nevada Board of Regents. The System includes the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College, Desert Research Institute, the College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College, and Western Nevada College. For more information regarding NSHE please visit: https://nshe.nevada.edu/

About the Nevada System Sponsored Programs and EPSCoR: The mission of the Nevada System Sponsored Programs and EPSCoR is to promote collaboration and multidisciplinary learning among NSHE institutions, and to enable alignment of efforts with the needs of the state to increase research and STEM competitiveness. The goal is to create new opportunities in the State of Nevada for workforce development and promote the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines for the state. For more information regarding Nevada EPSCoR please visit: https://epscorspo.nevada.edu/

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For inquires, please contact Mayara Cueto-Diaz, mcueto-diaz@nshe.nevada.edu. 

Vacancy: Nevada NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant Consortium Project Director

Vacancy: Nevada NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant Consortium Project Director

The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) invites applications for the position of Nevada NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant Consortium Project Director. 

Job Description
The Project Director plays a vitally important role to plan and implement National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and NASA Space Grant programs in Nevada. This position leads the multi-year NASA EPSCoR Research Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN), Research Infrastructure Development (RID), Rapid Response Research (RRR), potential other NASA EPSCoR Programs (International Space Station and Sub-Orbital solicitations) and NASA Space Grant projects. This position requires leadership in engaging multiple research-intensive institutions and a diverse array of undergraduate institutions, and facilitating collaborative research among research faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. Regular travel (statewide, regional, and national) is required.

  • Must be a US citizen per NASA Space Grant requirements;
  • Associate Professor level or executive administrator and a current faculty member of an NSHE research institution (UNR, UNLV, or DRI) – full professors will be given preference;
  • A Ph.D. in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) or related field;
  • A distinguished publication record in refereed scientific literature;
  • Demonstrated success in obtaining peer-reviewed, competitive research funding from federal government agencies, particularly NASA;
  • Demonstrated experience in managing large multi‐institutional research programs and teams;
  • Experience serving on scientific, peer‐review panels or as Program Officer/Manager of a federal agency overseeing research programs;
  • Experience with NASA as a Principal Investigator, as a NASA employee, or in leading a NASA program.  The individual should not have a conflict of interest in working on a NASA program based on current job assignments;
  • Experience working with multiple research-intensive institutions;
  • Must not initiate new significant research participation on any NASA EPSCoR/Space Grant project while in the role of PD and any existing projects/funding will require a management plan;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including ability to lead a diverse group across multiple disciplines;
  • Ability to represent the project as a whole and all institutions involved rather than one’s home institution;
  • Strong and timely communication skills to broader audiences (oral and written);
  • Evidence of diversity and inclusion activities;
  • Ability to work with off‐site personnel statewide;
  • Must have own transportation and ability to travel via car and airplane; and
  • Strong team management skills and the ability to build consensus.
  • If candidate holds an academic appointment, it is preferable that he/she be tenured or equivalent;
  • Working knowledge of NASA programs, especially NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) programs and Space Grant;
  • Working knowledge of the nation’s STEM education and workforce training directions and priorities;
  • Working knowledge of state‐wide capabilities and directions in research and STEM education; and
  • Working knowledge of state priorities for economic development as identified in the Science and Technology Plan and the State Economic Development Plan.

The goal of NASA EPSCoR is to provide seed funding that will enable jurisdictions to develop or enhance an academic research enterprise directed toward long-term, self-sustaining, nationally competitive capabilities in aerospace and NASA relevant research across all NASA Mission Directorates. This capability will, in turn, contribute to the jurisdiction’s economic viability and expand the nation’s base for aerospace and other NASA related research and development.  The goal of NASA Space Grant is to provide and expand STEM research and training opportunities for students through NASA internships, fellowships and scholarships (NIFS) program, along with providing enhanced STEM training to the broadest possible student population in Nevada, both higher education and K-12.

The Nevada EPSCoR office currently administers Nevada’s NASA EPSCoR CAN, RID, and RRR awards, as well as the NASA Space Grant Consortium award. In addition, new proposals are prepared each year to complete for any open NASA EPSCoR or Space Grant federal funding opportunities.

The Project Director will report to his/her institutional supervisor (at UNR, UNLV, or DRI). This position requires direct communications with the Director of the System Sponsored Programs and Nevada EPSCoR Office.  The NSHE Research Affairs Council (RAC) will provide performance evaluation feedback to the institutional supervisor annually.  The Project Director will work with the staff of the Nevada EPSCoR office, the NSHE Research Affairs Council (as applicable) and NSHE faculty to accomplish the tasks listed below.

Leadership:

  1. As per NASA requirements, the Project Director is the lead PI on NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant awards, providing financial, reporting, and evaluation oversight as well as administrative coordination as needed.
  2. Aligns system-wide NASA EPSCoR program activities with state and national priorities in STEM research and education.  These priorities will target research development, economic development and workforce development priorities for the state and NASA Directorates.
  3. Engages with the NV Space Grant Campus Associate Directors and develops advisory committees (e.g., external technical advisory committee) that will help guide program processes.
  4. Engages with and effectively communicates with the Vice Presidents for Research at DRI, UNLV and UNR through the NSHE SPO EPSCoR Office.
  5. Engages the science PIs on implementation of and timely reporting on NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant research project goals and objectives.
  6. Works with the NV Space Grant and NASA EPSCoR Project Administrator (with the NSHE SPO EPSCoR Office) to ensure timely financial reporting to demonstrate progress toward and meeting of project timelines.
  7. Effectively communicates with faculty and students at all NSHE institutions to build consensus related to proposals/applications, project timelines and reporting.
  8. Reports on the state-wide and the national program’s efforts and outcomes to Nevada’s elected officials (e.g., Congressional delegates).
  9. Works effectively with the NSHE System Sponsored Programs and EPSCoR Office in Las Vegas associated with the NASA EPSCoR program.
  10. Facilitates the selection of research focal areas and leads the development of NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant proposals.
  11. Manage recruitment and maintain relationships with Space Grant Consortium academic and industrial affiliates and EPSCoR Technical Advisory Committee.

    Management:

    1. Budgets: Works with Project Administrator to ensure fiscal integrity of federal and state and institutional program match funds and spending.
    2. Evaluation:  Provides oversight for retrieving, organizing, and synthesizing information for evaluation requirements; works with external evaluators as needed.
    3. Programming:  Ensures efficient and effective processes for resource allocation and program reporting.
    4. Competitions: Manage internal competitions specific to NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant solicitations.  Pre-plan internal timelines to allow sufficient time to meet federal due dates.
    5. Meetings:  Organize forums, workshops, technical assistance, annual meetings and other events for the Consortium and NASA EPSCoR.

      Represent and Serve:

      1. Represents Nevada’s NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant Consortium to the national NASA Office for STEM Engagement (OSTEM), the NSHE Board of Regents, all NSHE institutions, the NSHE Research Affairs Council, Nevada’s economic development community, Nevada’s State and Federal legislative delegation, and other NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant partners (e.g., consortium partners) as needed. These duties include annual National Space Grant Council and NASA EPSCoR meetings, as well as other meetings across the country.
      2. Actively promotes the success of the NV Space Grant NASA EPSCoR programs within and outside Nevada, including developing promotional materials such as posters and presentations.

      The Project Director will spend 50% of his or her time, on a 12-month basis (renewable and contingent on funding), as the sole lead of NV NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant activities.  During the term of the appointment, salary may be provided from both federal funds and special projects match that are sub-awarded to the home institution.  The remaining 50% of salary is provided by the successful applicant’s home institution for teaching, administrative and/or research at that institution.  The successful applicant for this position is expected to begin work at 25% FTE September -November 2022 shadowing the current Project Director, with a transition to 50% FTE as Project Director on December 1, 2022, upon her retirement.

      The Project Director serves at the pleasure of the NSHE Research Affairs Council and as approved by NASA OSTEM.  The Council will provide performance feedback to the individual’s institutional supervisor for the purpose of annual performance evaluations.  The Council may terminate this appointment at any time upon a majority vote of the Council that termination of the appointment is in the best interest of the Space Grant and NASA EPSCoR programs.  Following any such termination of the appointment, the faculty member will return to his/her home institution full-time and any portion of the faculty member’s salary associated with the appointment shall cease.  The faculty member, in consultation with his/her home institution shall be solely responsible for obtaining alternate funding to offset the portion of his/her salary associated with the appointment.  This appointment is a temporary assignment and faculty members shall not have any vested interest in the salary or assigned duties associated with the appointment.

      Applications may be submitted until position is filled; however, to ensure full consideration, applications should be submitted by April 28, 2022 by 5:00 pm.

      Application packets should be e-mailed directly to NSHE SSPO/EPSCoR Director Marcie Jackson at mjackson@nshe.nevada.edu.

      Subject line should read: [Applicant First Name_Last Name]_NVSGC-NASA EPSCoR PD.

      For questions or assistance, please contact Marcie Jackson at (702) 522-7079.  An email will be sent to confirm receipt of your application by COB on April 29, 2022.

      Applications must include:

      1. A letter detailing interest in the position, including a complete description of relevant qualifications and work experience, and how his/her skillset and experience meet the requirements as set forth for the position per the areas described above under the Leadership, Management, and Represent and Serve Responsibilities (no more than six pages total);
      2. A curriculum vita with publication list; and
      3. Three professional letters of recommendation; one letter must be from your immediate supervisor at your current institution.

      Vacancy: Research Administrator (Grant Management)

      The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) invites applications and nominations for the position of Research Administrator.  This is a grant-funded, renewable, full-time, non-tenured, administrative position and reports to the Director of System Sponsored Programs and EPSCoR.  The position will be located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

      The NSHE is comprised of eight institutions: two universities, a state college, four community colleges and a research institute.  The public system of higher education in Nevada continues to experience growth with significant challenges and opportunities in serving over 105,000 students and 12,000 employees.

      The Research Administrator for the Nevada System of Higher Education provides pre-award/post-award grant administration and programmatic oversight to projects that are awarded to NSHE from the National Science Foundation and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR).  The position provides support for the NSF EPSCoR Project Director, who has overall oversight for management of the NSF ESPCoR statewide program.  This position acts as the Project Administrator and is an integral part of the project leadership team.

      View Vacancy Announcement

      Photo by Dr. Scotty Strachan, University of Nevada, Reno

      Nevada Representative Serves in National EPSCoR/IDeA Leadership Role

      The Coalition of EPSCoR/IDeA States provides leadership and advocacy at the national level for its membership of 25 states and three territories. With the support of Van Scoyoc Associates, a federal affairs agency, the Coalition works to address the continued opportunity to promote the importance of a vibrant, nationwide science and technology enterprise and to bolster federal research and development grants to underfunded states, including Nevada.

      Mridul Gautam, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Innovation and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, was appointed to the Coalition’s Board of Directors in 2014. In 2021, Dr. Gautam’s peers elected him to serve as Chair of the Coalition’s Board of Directors and its executive committee, further strengthening Nevada’s voice and representation in national discussions. Dr. Gautam continues in this role into 2023.

      “It’s an important and dynamic time for the Coalition of EPSCoR/IDeA States,” said Dr. Gautam. “National and international matters are prompting new interest in the role of science and technology as foundations for our country’s health, sustainability and place in the world. This is a time for vision and advocacy at the federal level. Our nation has built impressive research strengths centered in certain regions, and we now have the opportunity to take this nationwide with strengthened research expertise and infrastructure in every state.”

      “[Dr. Gautam’s] dedication to ensuring strong, successful EPSCoR/IDeA programs will continue to help our community seize new opportunities and meet challenges head on,” said Stu Van Scoyoc, President & CEO of Van Scoyoc Associates. The EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation is a national non-profit that promotes the science and technology enterprise through improving university research infrastructure and increasing research competitiveness among historically underfunded states. This work happens within a complicated landscape involving six federal agencies that award research funding. The EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation and the Coalition of EPSCoR/IDeA States are separate organizations, but close collaborators. The Coalition might be described as the Foundation’s eyes and ears within the states.

      “[The Coalition] helps us collect the best data possible and communicate impact,” said Jessica Molesworth, Executive Director of the EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation. “We want these programs to be as beneficial as possible and we want them to be working as well as possible. Understanding what is being accomplished in the [EPSCoR/IDeA] states allows us to determine priorities and funding targets, and develop effective, consistent promotion. The EPSCoR/IDeA Coalition Board of Directors has a dynamic chair in Mridul Gautam,” said Molesworth. “Dr. Gautam will undoubtedly lead the Coalition to new heights. The EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation appreciates working with Dr. Gautam and the Coalition on joint initiatives.”

      Dr. Gautam is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the National Academies’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, and he serves on additional boards and committees including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Commission on Economic and Community Engagement. Under his leadership, Research & Innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno provides high quality services and infrastructure to enable faculty, students and staff to excel in their research, scholarly and creative endeavors and to advance innovation and commercialization. The division is committed to facilitating connections with industry and fostering regional entrepreneurship and collaboration through an innovative ecosystem, anchored by the Nevada Center for Applied Research and the University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center.

      Dr. Gautam’s full profile is available online.

      NSHE Student Leadership Summit

      The NSHE Fall Student Leadership Summit will take place November 20, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. via Zoom.

      This virtual event is free and open to all NSHE students; featuring topics geared toward empowering women-identified and nonbinary students.  Space is limited.

      The summit will feature a keynote address by DeRionne Pollard, the first Black woman president of Nevada State College and of any NSHE institution; three breakout sessions to choose from throughout the day; and a student panel and an executive leadership panel, both featuring individuals from across NSHE.

      Registration is required.

      2021 NSHE Virtual Mentoring Institute

      Virtual Mentoring Institute: Practical Strategies for Inclusive Mentoring in Undergraduate Research for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE)

      November 8-10, 2021
      1:00-2:30 PM PDT

      This year’s NSHE Mentoring Institute: Practical Strategies for Inclusive Mentoring in Undergraduate Research is an interactive virtual workshop series for NSHE faculty, program administrators and students at all levels, who mentor others, particularly in STEM research.

      Hosted by NSHE Sponsored Programs Office & EPSCoR and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), Practical Strategies sessions will:

      • Explore salient/best-practices in research mentoring;
      • Discuss the value of “tiered-peer mentoring” and the effectiveness of enabling students as mentors; and
      • Discover strategies that foster equity and inclusion of diverse populations in research mentoring.

      This is the second annual Mentoring Institute hosted by NSHE and CUR, designed to provide resources, infrastructure and connectivity, to support research and workforce development in STEM.  It’s important for each NSHE institution to have representatives in attendance who are willing and able to further foster research mentoring within their programs, departments and/or institutions. Administrative, faculty and student representation from each NSHE campus is ideal as individualized/team working sessions will be held.

      Please register by Friday, November 5, 2021. All participants agree to fully participate in all sessions of the series, as well as the individual group sessions and pre-/post assessments.