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Research Alert

Research Prizes and Honors

[Have you or a colleague won a research-related prize or honor? Let the Research Alert know. Send an e-mail to timgreen@mail.utexas.edu.]

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Research Prizes and Honors

[Have you or a colleague won a research-related prize or honor? Let the Research Alert know. Send an e-mail to timgreen@mail.utexas.edu.]


Dr. Venkat Ganesan, associate professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, has been selected as the 2009 Dillon Medal Award winner.

Presented by the American Physical Society, the award recognizes outstanding research accomplishments by young polymer physicists who have demonstrated exceptional research promise early in their careers.

Ganesan received the medal “For exceptional contributions to innovative computer simulation approaches and analysis of equilibrium and dynamic properties of multicomponent polymetric materials and nanocomposites.”

Recognition consists of $2,000, up to $1,000 allowance for travel to the meeting of the Society at which the award is being presented, a bronze medallion, and a certificate citing the accomplishments of the recipient.

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News and Information


Nominations for the Hamilton Book Author Awards, underwritten by the University Co-operative Society, are being accepted by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

The awards recognize faculty and staff members who have published the best book-length publications as determined by a multi-disciplinary committee appointed by the Vice President for Research.

The first prize is $10,000 and four other prizes are $3,000 each.

Nominations can be made for published works including, but not limited to, scholarly monographs, creative works (e.g., novels and anthologies of poetry), exhibition catalogs, textbooks and edited collections.

Current University of Texas at Austin faculty (tenured, tenure-track, senior lecturers and lecturers), Code 1000 and staff are eligible. Students are not eligible. Nominated books must have been published between Sept. 1, 2007, and Aug. 31, 2008. Books in any language may be nominated.

Authors may nominate their work by submitting a nomination form, two copies of the book, and two copies of their current CV to the Office of the Vice President for Research (MAI 302, Mail Code: G1400) on or before 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, 2008.

Learn more about the Hamilton Book Author Awards online.

For more information, please contact Marilyn Harris at marilynharris@austin.utexas.edu or 471-2877.


The Office of Sponsored Projects is presenting a class called The Life Cycle of a Sponsored Research Grant.
It will be from 2-4 p.m. on Oct 21, 2008 in Room 4.106A in the North Office building (NOA). Registration is through TXCLASS SP101 (formerly PN111).

Participants will learn about the services available from the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), which serves as the coordinating office for externally funded research projects submitted by The University of Texas at Austin.

The presentation will provide an overview of the grant award process and will include information and tips on using electronic research administration tools, budget development, and other pre-award issues, as well as grant account administration issues. Related policies and procedures will also be discussed. This class is open to everyone but is most appropriate for entry-level research administrators.

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QuotedUT Researchers in the News

A sampling of recent quotes by university faculty members and researchers. To be included in this section, let Research Alert know when you or a colleague have been quoted.

The New York Times
October 5, 2008, Sunday
HEADLINE: Tom Davis Gives Up

[From an article about the frustration U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va. feels for the increasing partisanship in Congress.]

By one measurement, Congress is the most polarized it has been in a century. Sean Theriault, a scholar [and Associate Professor in the Department of Government] at the University of Texas at Austin who just published a book called ”Party Polarization in Congress,” analyzed voting patterns to put each two-year session on a scale. In his study, Congress in its Watergate session from 1973-74 was 29 percent polarized. By 2005-6, it was 46 percent, the highest since the most polarized Congress in history, back in 1905-6, when it reached 48 percent on Theriault’s scale.

”The electoral campaign has infiltrated the legislative process,” Theriault told me [Peter Baker, Washington correspondent]. ”Congressmen used to campaign at home, win elections and then come to Washington” to grapple with the issues of the day. Now, he said, ”They’re just looking to gain advantage wherever they can.”

National Public Radio
Science Friday
October 3, 2008
HEADLINE: When Not In Control, People Imagine Order

[Dr. Jennifer Whitson, assistant professor in the Department of Management at the McCombs School of Business, discusses research for a paper she co-wrote on the idea that the brain imposes patterns to help people get a sense of control over things which they perceive are out of control. Listen to the full interview online.]

New research shows that when people perceive they have no control over a given situation, they are more likely to see illusions, patterns where none exist and even believe in conspiracy theories. The study suggests that people impose imaginary order when no real order can be perceived.

Whitson: We looked at a variety of different forms of pattern perceptions. And when I say we, I mean myself and my co-author, Adam Galinsky, at the Kellogg School of Management [Northwestern University]. What we did is we showed that across a wide array of situations, things like superstitious perception, thinking that stamping your feet, for example, affected how well your ideas were accepted at a meeting. As well as conspiratorial perceptions, thinking that people were talking behind your back, seeing images in static, detecting trends in the stock market. All of these things are affected by the same visceral need for control.

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Research Opportunities

Important university research deadlines:
Awards and Grants
Limited Submissions

Fusion Simulation Program
Deadlines: Pre-Application, Oct. 31, 2008; Application, Dec. 10, 2008

Integrated Design, Modeling, and Monitoring of Geologic Sequestration of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide to Safeguard Sources of Drinking Water
Deadline: Jan. 6, 2009

Postdoctoral Program administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2008

Basic HIV Vaccine Discovery Research
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Dec. 5, 2008; Application, Jan. 5, 2009

Research on Emergency Medical Services for Children
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Dec. 15, 2008; Application, Jan. 15, 2009

Biosignatures of Chronic Drug Exposure
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Dec. 29, 2008; Application, Jan. 27, 2009

NINR (National Institute of Nursing Research) Program Projects in Symptom Management Research and Program Projects in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Research
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, March 16, 2009; Application, April 16, 2009

Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS): Core Programs — Large Projects
Deadlines: Medium Projects, Oct. 31, 2008; Large Projects, Nov. 28, 2008; Small Projects, Dec. 17, 2008

Development of Technical Designs for Potential Candidates for the DUSEL (Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory) Suite of Experiments
Deadline: Jan. 9, 2009

L’Oréal USA
USA Fellowships for Women in Science
Deadline: Oct. 31, 2008

American Mathematical Society
Centennial Fellowships for 2009-2010
Deadline: Dec. 1, 2008

McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience
2009 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Awards
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Dec. 1, 2008; Invited Proposal, May 1, 2009

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Coverage Ideas From the Field (in national health care reform)
Deadline: Brief Proposal, Dec. 2, 2008; Invited Full Proposal, Feb. 3, 2009

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Research Project

Let us know about your research projects at timgreen@mail.utexas.edu or 512-475-6596.


FACULTY: Kenneth Flamm, professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT: $374,221

This project analyzes the economic, organizational, and institutional determinants of the probability of a successful transition between innovative events, and ultimately, toward commercially successful innovation, at each stage along the innovation chain. Data gleaned from patents, scientific publications, literature and patent citations, licensing agreements, research funding, and collaborative agreements are being used to construct a novel database of spatial and temporal links between activities and entities at each stage along an innovation chain, and to develop qualitative and quantitative indicators of knowledge and technology flows within these chains of linked events. The database is being constructed using case studies of nano-electronic innovations in the semiconductor industry, and applications of biotechnology innovations in the pharmaceutical industry. This research focus is inspired by efforts within these two mature high technology industries to experiment with novel strategies to integrate emerging technologies into their innovation pipelines. The variety and breadth of organizational, institutional, and funding strategies used to coordinate innovative activities in these industries provides a rich and varied set of data to be used in developing indicators and understanding of knowledge and technology flows.

Although this research focuses on the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries, the analysis should also have a broader impact in the development of more generally applicable stylized facts about determinants of the innovative process. The indicators of knowledge and technology flows being constructed are available for use as data in estimation of econometric models of determinants of the probability of a given RandD project successfully transitioning to various possible types of successor projects along an innovation chain, and ultimately, resulting in commercialization. Analysis of this database using a structural model provides empirical insights into the economic, organizational and structural factors that maximize the probability of success for innovation-related projects. These insights are a significant contribution to the development of a science of science and innovation policy. Further, decision makers in both the public and private sectors should be able to use these results to help choose among different possible organizational, institutional, and funding strategies, and improve the odds of successful innovation resulting from supported projects.

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