Gov. Rounds awards grants to university-based researchers

Gov. Rounds awards grants to university-based researchers Gov. Mike Rounds is awarding nearly $445,000 to 19 faculty members at South Dakota public universities to spur their research work.

�These ?seed grants� are part of a strategy to strengthen competitive research at the universities and generate more commercial activity from research,� said Gov. Rounds. �These individual researchers have much to contribute to developing South Dakota�s research industry.�

The governor�s awards will help support faculty researchers as they develop research programs to become more competitive for external grants and contracts. It is also an opportunity for faculty members to develop ideas with commercial potential, Gov. Rounds said.

Targeted research at the public universities and its commercialization potential are part of Gov. Rounds� 2010 Initiative, which calls for the state to �become a recognized leader in research and technology development by 2010.� The idea is to increase the role of university research in South Dakota�s economic development by expanding academic research and exploiting new development opportunities arising from it.

�Recruiting researchers to staff the four 2010 research centers on our campuses and to work in new Ph.D. programs will be a tremendous boost to the Governor�s effort, but increasing research expectations and opportunities for existing faculty also are very important,� said Regents� Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.

Faculty need release time from teaching to pursue research work, Perry said. These grants will pay for 25 percent of a faculty member�s salary for one academic year, plus one summer month�s salary. Funding is matched by the faculty member�s university, so the researcher earns 50 percent release time and two summer months of salary to do research, starting in August 2005. The award is intended to give the faculty member an opportunity to start a sustainable research program and to help build research capacity in their department.

�We have very talented teaching faculty who may be able to develop research that could impact our economy or advance technologies for commercialization,� Gov. Rounds said. �These grants in particular assist those faculty members who are not substantially involved in research work at the present time.�

Faculty members at The University of South Dakota who received a seed grant, the department they work in, and their research topic are: Ranjit T. Koodali, chemistry � �Modified Titanium Dioxide Nanostructured Materials as Advanced Photocatalysts;� Paula Mabee, biology � �Bioinformatics: A Case Study Integrating Genomic and Evolutionary Databases;� Grigoriy Sereda, chemistry � �Design and Exploration of Photoactivated Catalysts Based on Modified Graphite;� and Susanne Skyrm, music � �A Teaching/Performing Edition of 18th-Century Spanish Keyboard Music.�

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