Other EPSCoR Awards


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 (2019-23) 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.



Track-4 Awards

Four UAF researchers are currently implementing NSF EPSCoR "Track-4" awards, which enable scientists to collaborate with major research centers to continue their work.

Benowitz, Collins, Gibson and Tape

Jeff Benowitz, a Research Assistant Professor with the Geophysical Institute, received $220,043 for his proposal “Why are Young Volcanic Rocks Undateable: Chemistry, Environment, or Instrumentation?” The funding enables Benowitz and a graduate student to work with researchers at Oregon State University to determine the age of young volcanic rocks from Alaska’s Aleutian and Wrangell arcs. They will investigate how the chemistry and environments of samples and the sensitivity and precision of instruments contribute to uncertainties in determining the age of young volcanic rocks, and enable the development of new methods to more accurately date the rocks. Funding for the project runs through 2020.

Eric Collins, an Assistant Professor with the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, received $187,301 for his proposal “Advancing Machine Learning in Biological Oceanography through Interdisciplinary Collaborations.” Collins and a graduate student will travel to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts to use machine learning to predict distributions of Arctic marine microbes and their use and transformations of metals. They’ll then use this knowledge to design methods for adaptive biological sampling using flow-through systems and ocean profilers. Funding for the project runs through 2020. 

Georgina Gibson, a Research Assistant Professor with the International Arctic Research Center, received $222,000 for her proposal, "Modeling Dissolved Organic Matter at the Arctic Land/ocean Interface." The award funds Gibson and a graduate student to collaborate with Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to improve modeling of dissolved organic matter from Arctic rivers in mathematical models of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem. Funding for the project runs through 2019. 

Ken Tape, an Associate Professor with the Geophysical Institute, received $200,382 for his proposal, “Predicting Beaver Colonization of the Arctic and Creation of Tundra Stream Oases.” Tape and a postdoctoral researcher will spend six months at Northern Arizona University working with experts in satellite image analysis to further his research into the expansion of beaver habitat into arctic tundra. Funding for the project runs through 2020.


Through a process called “co-funding,” the national NSF EPSCoR organization provides funds to other NSF departments so they can more broadly support worthy research projects located in EPSCoR jurisdictions. As of September 2019, NSF EPSCoR was co-funding 15 awards in Alaska for a total of $6.6 million:

  • $608,232 for Collaborative Research: Physiological and Genetic Correlates of Reproductive Success in High- versus Low-Quality Weddell seals. Principal Investigator Brandon Briggs, UAA.
  • $486,287 for Estimating the Earth's Dayside Exospheric Neutral Density Using XMM-Newton Soft X-ray Data. Principal Investigator Hyunju Connor, UAF.
  • $533,077 for Unraveling the Controls of Inorganic Carbon Dynamics in the Gulf of Alaska with a Regional Three-Dimensional Biogeochemical Model. Principal Investigator Claudine Hauri, Co-PIs Katherine Hedstrom and Seth Danielson, UAF.
  • $148,149 for RUI: Bridging the Spatial Gap in Local Seyfert Galaxies: Characterizing Active Galactic Nuclei Feeding and Feedback on Scales of Tens to Hundreds of Parsecs. Principal Investigator Erin Hicks, UAA.
  • $171,755 for RUI: Multipole Plasma Trap Proof of Concept Investigation. Principal Investigator Nathaniel Hicks, UAA.
  • $579,627 for A Comparative Study of the Medical Ethnobotany of the Chukchi and Naukan Yupik of Siberia and the Central Alaskan Yup'ik. Principal Investigator Kevin Jernigan, UAF.
  • $191,702 for Linguistic and Ethnographic Investigations of Place Names and Narratives in Two Alaska Dene Languages: Toklat (Lower Tanana) and Middle Tanana. Principal Investigator James Kari, UAF.
  • $250,000 for NNA Track-2: Unangam Ulaa Project: Culturally-informed adaptation of the ancient Aleutian semi-subterranean dwelling for sustainable and resilient Arctic housing. Principal Investigator Michael Livingston, Aleutian Pribilof Island Association.
  • $707,981 for Control of Boreal Forest Soil Decomposition Processes by Plant Secondary Compounds. Principal Investigator Mary Beth Leigh, co-PI Andres Soria, UAF.
  • $524,258 for CAREER: Imaging the Global Patterns and Drivers of the Ocean's Biological Carbon Pump. Principal Investigator Andrew McDonnell, UAF.
  • $420,029 for CAREER: Building research and decision making capacity in the Arctic through deciphering storm-induced sediment dynamics and synergistic Alaska Native coastal science education. Principal Investigator Christopher Maio, UAF.
  • $278,913 for Collaborative Research: Linking Landslide and Windstorm Exposure to Regional Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in the Largest U.S. Forest Carbon Reservoir, Southeast Alaska. Principal Investigator Sonia Nagorski, UAS.
  • $561,254 for Collaborative Research: Using Field Experiments to Understand Household Barriers to Energy Efficiency in Alaska. Principal Investigator Dominique Pride, UAF.
  • $316,475 for Slow Earthquakes and Earthquake Nucleation in the Lower Crust of Central Alaska. Principal Investigator Carl Tape, UAF.
  • $850,476 for CEDAR: Establishing a Meteor Radar at Poker Flat Research Range to Understand the Wind-Driven Circulation and Coupling of the Arctic Atmosphere. Principal Investigator Denise Thorsen, Co-PI Richard Collins, UAF.
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