UNCW Researcher Ann Stapleton Appointed to Serve a Rotation at the National Science Foundation

Friday, June 07, 2019

UNCW associate professor of plant genetics Ann Stapleton is serving a one-year rotation as a temporary program officer with the National Science Foundation. As part of the prestigious appointment, she is contributing her expertise as a scientist to reviews of grant proposals. 

“It is really an honor for Dr. Stapleton that her work was viewed as strong enough to help guide the process,” said Stuart Borrett, interim associate provost for research. “Her appointment also enhances UNCW’s reputation as a successful research institution.” 

Stapleton is serving as a program officer for EPSCoR, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which was created to strengthen scientific research throughout the United States. 

“I first heard about serving the National Science Foundation from program officers; several of them talked with me about their service over the years and they have always made a great case for its benefits to the scientific community,” she said. “I was especially drawn to EPSCoR because they fund science in many disciplines and the program’s goal is to increase research capacity.” 

Stapleton served in a similar role at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the mid 2000s. She is a member of UNCW’s James F. Merritt Million Dollar Club, based on the funding her research has received. 

The NSF is a major source of federal grants to universities. Stapleton’s appointment gives her insight into the NSF’s procedures and criteria for approving grants, and her knowledge will be helpful to other UNCW faculty as they shape their grant proposals, Borrett said. 

A study published in the journal Organization Science concluded that colleagues of NSF rotators tend to attract more research funding than scientists without a rotator colleague. Stapleton said she will be happy to share what she has learned with colleagues at UNCW.

UNCW was recently elevated to the category of “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education Universities.” Faculty research is a key priority in the university’s Strategic Plan

-- Tricia Vance