UNCW Faculty, Staff Recognized for Achievement in Research Funding

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Research grants continue to support innovative research at UNCW, affecting issues at home, abroad and everywhere in between. Such funding has enabled the university to collaborate on various research, from identifying biomarkers of binge drinking in underage youth with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services to modeling the risk of natural hazards like floods, sea level rise and coastal erosion in Egypt.
At the Feb. 19 Researchers’ Recognition Reception, the university recognized faculty and staff who submitted grant proposals, received an award or were involved in innovation and entrepreneurship during Fiscal Year 2018. The annual event is hosted by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance (SPARC).
The university’s record of success in sponsored research is one factor in its recent elevated classification to Doctoral University with High Research Activity, said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “This puts UNCW in an elite group of universities whose research is making an impact and whose teaching is transforming student lives.”
Sartarelli commended the researchers on their accomplishments and for sharing their expertise with students and colleagues as mentors. “With research, you make the classroom more exciting because you are working with new knowledge,” he said. “You are discovering new things, sharing it with your students and advancing society, science, economics and more.”
Researchers secured 219 awards – a 36 percent increase in new grants over 2017 – totaling $9.3 million in funding in FY2018. Advancing research and scholarly activities is among the university’s strategic priorities. Awards, proposals and research expenditures reflect UNCW’s strength as a community of scholars, said Provost Marilyn Sheerer.
“External sponsored research ignites the discoveries that improve our world, serves our community and trains our students in cutting-edge tools and methods,” she noted.
The newest members of the James F. Merritt Million Dollar Club were also announced during the event. The club honors faculty who have received more than $1 million in research funding. This year’s inductees are Aswani Volety, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Natasha Davis, director of Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO); Antje Almedia, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Dylan McNamara, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography. Ann Pabst, professor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology, and William McLellan, a research associate in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology, were both inducted into the $10 Million Club.
The James F. Merritt Million Dollar Club is named for the director emeritus of the Center for Marine Science. During his 34-year career with UNCW, Merritt procured more than $14 million in grants and contracts to support research endeavors at the university. The club includes more than 100 members from departments across campus.
The Research Leadership Award was presented to principal investigators who submitted the most proposals in the areas of grants and contracts. Awardees were: Karl Ricanek, professor in the computer science department, I3S director and founder and director of the Face Aging Group Research Lab (grants); Ann Pabst, professor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology (grants); Eman Ghoneim, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences (contracts), and Wade Watanabe, research professor at the Center for Marine Science and director of finfish aquaculture (contracts). Photos from the event can be viewed here.
-- Venita Jenkins


Ten Million Club Members

(l to r) Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli; Provost Marilyn Sheerer; Professor Ann Pabst and Research Associate William McLellan, both in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology; and Panda Powell, director sponsored programs and research compliance, during the induction of the $10 Million Club new members.