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UMass President Awards $1.4 Million to Innovative Faculty Science & Technology and Creative Economy Initiatives

Funds Twenty UMass Projects That Expand Research and Scholarship, Build New Partnerships

BOSTON- University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson today announced more than $1.4 million in awards to faculty investigators from the President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund and the President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund for the 2008-2009 academic year. This year, 20 individual projects from across all five UMass campuses were selected to receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $175,000 for initiatives in the sciences and engineering and the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The funded initiatives range from research into improved implant materials for knee and hip replacement surgery, to a broad-based research program in offshore wind energy to a partnership to increase scholarly and tourist interest in the site of the W.E. B. DuBois boyhood home in Great Barrington.

"Faculty scholarship and research are at the core of a world-class university-these 20 projects represent the breadth and depth of academic inquiry at the University of Massachusetts," said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson. "Through these funding programs, we continue to strengthen our research enterprise, enrich our students' learning experiences, apply our faculty's intellectual resources to efforts that will enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the Commonwealth and beyond."

This is the fifth year for the Science and Technology awards; a total of 38 projects have been funded since 2004, including eight this year. Over that period, President Wilson has directed $5.25 million in funding to faculty projects; past initiatives have gone on to secure over $85 million in additional external funding for their cutting-edge work.  Many of the most successful projects, including a major NSF-funded nanotechnology research center at Amherst, a medical device development center at Lowell and Worcester, and a biomanufacturing research facility at Lowell and Dartmouth, have strong industry partnerships with companies in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

The following faculty principal investigators were selected for 2008-2009 President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund support: Wayne Burleson, UMass Amherst, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Alfred Crosby, UMass Amherst, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering; Paul Kostecki, UMass Amherst, Vice Provost for Research; James Manwell, UMass Amherst, Department Mechanical and Industrial Engineering;  Daniel MacDonald, UMass Dartmouth, Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences; Zsuzsa Kaldy, UMass Boston, Psychology Department; Jayant Kumar, UMass Lowell, Physics Department; and Christian Mueller, UMass Worcester, Department of Pediatrics.

The President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund provides seed funding for faculty research projects that contribute to the growth of the Commonwealth's economy, especially in technology- and innovation-driven industries. The Fund was created by President Wilson in 2004 as part of the University's efforts to accelerate research activity and better support the Commonwealth's technology sectors. Across the University's five campuses, annual research expenditures total approximately $400 million and the University's technology commercialization related revenue topped $41 million in Fiscal Year 2007. The University's continued growth in both areas underscores its leadership in research and role as an innovation engine for the Commonwealth.

The President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund provides seed funding for faculty research and scholarly activities that enhance the social and cultural fabric of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is the second year for the Creative Economy awards; this year 12 projects were funded and seven were funded last year.

"The creative economy has a profound impact on the social and economic development of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts-from the Berkshires to the Merrimack Valley and the Cape. I am pleased we are able to fund so many notable arts, social sciences and humanities projects this year, and I look forward to the creative inspiration they will provide on campus and in the community," President Wilson noted.

The following principal investigators were selected for 2008-2009 President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund support: David Glassberg, UMass Amherst, Department of History; Laura Lovett, UMass Amherst, Department of History; Stephen Schreiber, UMass Amherst, Department of Art, Architecture and Art History; Joan Arches, UMass Boston, College of Public and Community Service; Pacey Foster, UMass Boston, Department of Management and Marketing; and David Terkla, UMass Boston, Department of Economics; Barbara Lewis, UMass Boston, Trotter Institute; Joan Becker, UMass Boston, Academic Support Services; Morgan J. Peters, UMass Dartmouth, Department of English; Rachel DeMotts, UMass Lowell, Department of Regional Economic and Social Development; Chad Montrie, UMass Lowell, History Department; Susan Gallagher, UMass Lowell, Department of Political Science; and Mignon Duffy, UMass Lowell, Sociology Department.

This year, more than 70 proposals were submitted by UMass faculty for consideration for both Funds. As in past years, many of the proposals involve collaborations among faculty from more that one UMass campus. University licensing income is the source of funding for the awards.

For background information on the projects selected for funding, go to

Libby DeVecchi, 617-287-7023


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