Welcome to Alaska NSF EPSCoR

Alaska NSF EPSCoR improves Alaska's scientific capacity by engaging in research projects supported through National Science Foundation and state funds. EPSCoR recently commenced "Fire and Ice," a five-year project to study climate-driven changes to Alaskan wildfire regimes and coastal ecosystems. For more information check out one-page summaries of each component of the program: Boreal Fires, Coastal Margins, and Diversity, Education and Workforce Development. You can also check out posters, presentations and publications from Fire and ice researchers.

Alaska NSF EPSCoR also helps to administer "Teaching Through Technologies," a three-year educational project to excite high school students about science through experiments with unmanned aerial vehicles, 3-D printers and codeable digital devices. EPSCoR also supports Alaska researchers through other funding streams. For more information about our history, take a look at this small poster that tracks the timeline and structure of NSF EPSCoR in Alaska.

For information on how to acknowledge EPSCoR support of your work, see the lower right corner of this page.

NSF soliciting "Track-4" proposals

The National Science Foundation has released a solicitation for proposals for "Track-4" research awards. The awards fund non-tenured faculty to travel to private, governmental, or university research centers across the country for extended research visits. Awards are for up to $300,000 over up to two years, and proposals are due May 12.

Each UA campus can only submit 3 proposals, so campuses have set up internal procedures to select which proposals will go forward to the NSF. For more information, UAF researchers should contact Larry Hinzman at ldhinzman@alaska.edu; UAA researchers George Kamberov at gkamberov@alaska.edu; and UAS researchers Aaron Dotson at addotson@alaska.edu.

Fire and Ice hiring Fish Genomics faculty

The UAF Fisheries Department is seeking applicants for a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Fisheries Genomics. The position will be located in Fairbanks. The successful applicant will have expertise in functional genomics, with a focus on non-model aquatic organisms. The department is seeking individuals with the ability to use genomic tools to solve questions related to fisheries management and/or aquaculture, and to understand the genetics of adaptation in response to stressors such as climate change, ocean acidification, disease/pathogens, parasites, or selective harvest.

Harms, Jones and Tomco

NSF announces Track-4 awardees

Three University of Alaska researchers  recently received “Track-4” awards from the National Science Foundation. The awards will fund Tamara Harms, Ben Jones and Patrick Tomco to further their research by collaborating with scientists in New York, Connecticut, Louisiana and Florida.

Harms, an Assistant Professor of Ecology with the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, will receive $126, 218 for her project, Arctic Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Training and Technical Advances to Quantify Emission of a Powerful Greenhouse Gas. Harms will work with researchers at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York to study the production in soils of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Large releases of nitrous oxide have been documented in high-latitude areas subject to permafrost thaw or wildfires, but it remains unclear how this nitrous oxide is produced and how long disturbed soils might generate emissions. This project will examine these processes with a goal of contributing to an improved ability to forecast potential N2O emissions under the warmer, more nutrient-rich, and more fire-prone conditions predicted for high-latitude ecosystems.

Jones, a Research Assistant Professor with the Water and Environmental Research Center at the UAF Institute of Northern Engineering, will receive $295,256 for his project, PermaSense: Investigating Permafrost Landscapes in Transition Using Multidimensional Remote Sensing, Data Fusion, and Machine Learning Techniques. Jones and a postdoctoral researcher will train and collaborate with researchers at the University of Connecticut to acquire new data fusion and machine learning techniques. These will be used to increase the capacity of “Permasense,” a project to gather and analyze multidimensional remote sensing data on permafrost degradation.

Tomco, an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the UAA Department of Chemistry, will receive $165,406 for his project, Formation, Photolysis, and Bioaccumulation of Dissolved Hydrocarbons from Chemically-Herded and Burned Crude Oil at High Latitudes. Tomco and a graduate student will use specialized equipment at the University of New Orleans and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida to analyze samples of Alaska North Slope crude oil, surface collection agents used to thicken oil spills to burn them off, and mussels collected from Resurrection Bay. These experiments will lead to a better understanding of how dissolved residues may form as a result of this type of oil spill remediation, how sunlight may transform these residues, and what impacts they might have on susceptible marine organisms.

Philippe Amstislavski of Rhizoform

Alaska TREND "Phase 0" winners

The Technology Research and Development Center of Alaska (Alaska TREND) has announced the 5 winners of its 2019 competition for “Phase 0” awards. These awards, which are funded by Alaska NSF EPSCoR, go to promising Alaskan tech start-ups to assist in applying for larger federal grant support. The winners are:

  • First Place: The Launch Company, which is developing technology for space launches including next-generation launch sites and “Quick Disconnect” fittings for launch vehicles.
  • Second Place: Rhizoform, LLC, which is developing a biodegradable foam derived from fungi for use in shipping seafood. (Pictured: Philippe Amstislavski holds a sample of a shipping container insulated with biodegradable mushroom tissue.)
  • Third Place: Aquagga Inc. is developing cost-effective methods of cleaning and desalinating industrial effluents.
  • Fourth PlaceAlon Winston Innovations is developing a new type of machine learning algorithm for use in advanced AI and robotics.
  • Fifth Place: GRAYSTAR Pacific Seafood, Ltd. provides technical services in all aspects of fisheries.

EPSCoR videos and highlights

We've been busy producing videos and PDF highlights about the Fire and Ice project. Recent videos include an absorbing animated introduction to hyperspectral remote sensing (source of the image to the left); a 360-degree video tour of the Kasitsna Bay Lab; a sampler of some of our drone footage of this summer's fieldwork; and timelapse video of Grewingk Glacier Lake and the Jakalof River produced by our Coastal Margins "Stream Team."

We've also produced our first PDF highlight from the Fire and ice project, about some first collaborative steps toward stream monitoring. Many thanks to Molly Tankersley of the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center for the text and photos.

Tara Borland is new EPSCoR PA

We're pleased to announce the hire of Tara Borland as EPSCoR's new Project Administrator. Tara comes to us from Alaska Sea Grant, where she served since 2016 as Program Director. In her new position, Borland will oversee day-to-day operations of Alaska NSF EPSCoR, including supervision and management of administrative, human resources and financial activities.

Tara holds a bachelor’s degree in marine science from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a master’s in chemical oceanography from UAF. She has worked at student and professional positions at UAF since 1999, including positions at both the UAF School (now College) of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the UAF College of Rural and Community Development. Please join us in welcoming her to the team!

2016 WAISC in Dillingham

WAISC travel funding available

The 2020 Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference (WAISC) is now accepting abstracts. This year's event will be held April 2-4 in Dillingham, and the theme will be "Visions for the Future." Abstracts are due by March 2.

In addition, Alaska NSF EPSCoR is offering limited travel funding to attend the event. To apply for funding please send an email to Todd Radenbaugh of WAISC (taradenbaugh@alaska.edu) explaining why you want to attend the event.

Girls on Water video

We've just produced a great new video about the EPSCoR-sponsored Girls on Water program, through which a group of high-school girls from across Alaska gathered in Kachemak Bay last summer for a weeklong camping and research experience. Our compliments to EPSCoR technician Naomi Hutchquist, who put the video together.

Applications for the 2020 edition of Girls on Water, as well as other expeditions put together by the Inspiring Girls program, are open until January 31.


Seed Grant winners

Kindergarten students in Scammon Bay in a role-playing exercise, part of Carie Green's Education and Outreach Seed Grant project

Alaska NSF EPSCoR is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 Faculty Research Seed Grants, Student Research Seed Grants, and Education and Outreach Seed Grants.

Coastal Margins faculty awardees are Benjamin Barst, William Burt, Gwenn Hennon/Jason Fellman, and Eric Klein. Boreal Fires faculty awardees are Micah Hahn and Sveta Yamin-Pasternak.

Coastal Margins student awardees are Amy Dowling, Carolyn Hamman, Jordan Jenckes and James Schloemer. Boreal Fires student awardees are Chris Smith and Elizabeth Hinkle.

Education and Outreach awardees are Carie Green, Alison Gardell and Shannon Atkinson DeMaster.

More detail about each awardee can be found on our internal awards page.

Southcentral Timelapse Videos

Last summer, researchers from the Fire and Ice "Stream Team" placed timelapse cameras at Grewingk Glacier Lake and along the Jakalof River, as part of their research into the impacts of glacial melt and other climate-induced changes to waterways along the Gulf of Alaska. We've condensed the footage from those cameras into a pair of videos, both of which (Grewingk and Jakalof) are now viewable online. The footage provides an interesting glimpse into both short-term (i.e. weather) and medium-term (water levels, tides, iceberg motion) changes in these two watersheds.

UAF researcher receives EPSCoR "Track-2" award

Hyunju Connor, an Assistant Professor with the UAF College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Geophysical Institute, has received a $1.94 million "Track-2" award from the national NSF EPSCoR program.

The four-year award will fund Connor to collaborate with researchers at the University of New Hampshire to study geomagnetically induced currents, which are caused by geomagnetic disturbances during space weather events and which can produce power outages, train system failures, and pipeline corrosion. The research team will apply machine learning techniques to over two decades of space- and ground-based observations and develop two prediction models for geomagnetic disturbances and risk of geomagnetically induced currents, which will be provided to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. The project will also incorporate data from the Space Weather Underground (SWUG) program, in which high school and undergraduate students build and deploy magnetometers, measure geomagnetic disturbances, and analyze the data.

For more information

The Fire and Ice Strategic Plan describes the goals of the project and year-by-year plans to reach them.

For more information on Alaska NSF EPSCoR in general, this poster gives an overview of the history of the organization in Alaska.

The EPSCoR data portal gives access to datasets generated by or related to Alaska NSF EPSCoR research.

The Alaska Science and Technology Plan, which prioritizes the state's S&T activities, was crafted with extensive EPSCoR input. The plan was written by the Alaska State Committee for Research, a panel of academic, political and business leaders charged with overseeing Alaska EPSCoR and advising on the state's research enterprise.


EPSCoR acknowledgment and logos

By our grant terms, any person receiving benefit from Alaska NSF EPSCoR must acknowledge it in any publications, presentations, websites, newsletters, dissertations, theses, etc. that result from Alaska NSF EPSCoR support.

For work supported by the Fire and Ice award (2018-2023), please use the following language: "This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award #OIA-1753748 and by the State of Alaska."

For work supported by the Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments (ACE) award (2012-2018), please use the following language: "This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award #OIA-1208927 and by the State of Alaska."

Alaska NSF EPSCoR logos for use in posters and other presentations are available here as EPS, JPEG and TIFF files. We also have a Fire and Ice logo; Please use this in addition to, or as an alternative to, the EPSCoR logo on posters, presentations, etc. The logo is available with border lettering in PNG and TIFF formats, and also without the border lettering as a PNG or TIFF.

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