Cedar Falls, IA, United States

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA, United States

The University of Northern Iowa is a university located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States. UNI offers more than 90 majors across the colleges of Business Administration, Education, Humanities, Arts, and science, and Social and Behavioral science, and graduate college.UNI has consistently been named one of the "Best in the Midwest" in the Princeton Review Best 351 College Rankings guide, and has ranked second in the category "public regional universities " by U.S. News & World Report for twelve consecutive years. UNI's accounting program has consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the nation for the pass rate of first-time candidates on the CPA Exam.Class sizes at UNI average around 32 students; they are mostly taught by faculty, not teaching assistants. Tenured and tenure-track faculty teach 75 percent of UNI's classes. The Fall 2013 enrollment is 12,159. Ninety-two percent of its students are from the State of Iowa, in the United States.For students interested in studying abroad, UNI is ranked fourth in the nation for the total number of students who study abroad among master's degree institutions, according to Open Doors 2002, the annual report on international education published by the Institute of International Education. Wikipedia.

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Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC SYSTEM SCIENCE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 209.37K | Year: 2015

This award provides support to U.S. researchers participating in a project competitively selected by a 14-country initiative on global change research through the Belmont Forum. The Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world?s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. It aims to accelerate delivery of the international environmental research most urgently needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources. Each partner country provides funding for their researchers within a consortium to alleviate the need for funds to cross international borders. This approach facilitates effective leveraging of national resources to support excellent research on topics of global relevance best tackled through a multinational approach, recognizing that global challenges need global solutions.

Working together in this Collaborative Research Action, the partner agencies have provided support for research projects that utilize existing Arctic observing systems, datasets and models to evaluate key sustainability challenges and opportunities in the Arctic region, to innovate new sustainability science theory and approaches to these challenges and opportunities, and support decision-making towards a sustainable Arctic environment. This award provides support for the U.S. researchers to cooperate in consortia that consist of partners from at least three of the participating countries and that bring together natural scientists, social scientists and end users (e.g., policy makers, regulators, NGOs, communities and industry).

Arctic Sustainability: A Synthesis of Knowledge (ASUS) unites a team of diverse expertise from Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US to develop a framework that highlights the state of current understanding, best practices, and metrics for achieving sustainability in the Arctic. NSF provides support to the US team members of the ASUS consortium. The effort takes into account not only the social, demographic, economic, and environmental aspects of resilience in creating this framework, but looks at these across a range of scales using an inclusive process that engages a breadth of Arctic stakeholders. The team leverages existing investments in Arctic sustainability, observing, and development to inform the eight work packages (1: Sustainable Arctic Regions and Communities, 2: Sustainable Arctic Environments, 3: Sustainable Arctic Cultures, 4: Sustainable Arctic Economies, 5: Sustainable Arctic Cities, 6: Sustainable Resources, 7: Monitoring of Sustainability, 8: Governance for Sustainability). The team will gather and communicate progress through the vast networks of international Arctic scientific associations. The synthesis products from this project will be disseminated through workshops and through educational and web-based materials. Key Arctic stakeholder, such as the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council, will be considered when constructing products and materials. The team will conduct this synthesis through a managed constellation of centers and a committee structure to ensure continued communication and coordination of this complex, multi-national effort.

Iluka Resources Ltd and University of Northern Iowa | Date: 2016-04-07

A foundry sand comprises a blend that includes a silica sand and a zircon aggregate. The zircon aggregate exhibiting a sharp rise in linear thermal expansion coefficient in a temperature band above 1200 C. A method of casting an article in molten metal at a temperature above 1200 C. includes forming a single or multi-part mould for the article from the above-described foundry sand, admitting molten metal to the mould at a temperature such that at least one or more regions of the foundry sand in contact with the admitted metal are heated to a temperature within the temperature band, and cooling the mould and metal to obtain a cast article.

In one aspect of the invention, an ion trap mass analyzer includes a variable- or multi-potential type ion guide (MPIG) assembly which has been pre-configured to produce a parabolic-type potential field. Each MPIG electrode has a resistive coating of designed characteristics. In one example the coating varies in thickness along the length of an underlying uniform substrate. The MPIG assembly can be a single MPIG electrode or an array of a plurality of MPIG electrodes. An array can facilitate delocalization for improved performance. This chemical modification of a uniform underlying substrate promotes cheaper and flexible instruments. The modified MPIG electrodes also allow miniaturization (e.g. micro and perhaps even nano-scale), which allows miniaturization of the instrument in which the single or plural modified MPIG electrode(s) are placed. This promotes portability and field use instead of limitation to laboratory settings.

University of Northern Iowa | Date: 2016-06-30

A bio-based binder system for use in preparing foundry molds. In a preferred embodiment, the system includes the use of a) a polyermizable hydroxyl-containing component comprising a saccharide, b) an isocyanate component, and c) a catalyst, and preferably amine catalyst, component adapted to catalyze the polymerization of a) and b), in the presence of a foundry aggregate such as sand. The system can be used in any suitable manner, including in either a cold box process or no bake process as described herein.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Catalysis | Award Amount: 134.97K | Year: 2016

The Chemical Catalysis Program of the Chemistry Division supports the project by Professors Chin and Hall. Professor Chin is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Northern Iowa, while Professor Hall is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University. They are developing transition metal catalysts that transform unreactive and low-value hydrocarbon molecules into synthetically useful and valuable building blocks. These new building blocks (molecules) are used in the creation of more complex structures like pharmaceuticals or fine chemicals. The project has both synthetic and computational components. The research involves undergraduate students from both universities. High school students and teachers from the Cedar Valley in Iowa also participate in the project. The participating high school teachers are able to incorporate the principles of catalysis and kinetics from the research into their classroom content. The results of this work are disseminated to the public and to the broader chemistry community.

This project is focused on developing a series of diruthenium catalysts that cleave the unreactive Carbon (C)-hydrogen (H) bond of a hydrocarbon while making a new C-silicon (Si) bond, resulting in new triorganosilanes. Professors Chin and Hall are working to better understand the mechanism of this reaction using synthetic, isotopic labeling, kinetic, and computational methods. The synthetic work, performed at the University of Northern Iowa, involves changing the bidentate ligands at the ruthenium centers to diphosphines or nitrogen (N)-heterocyclic carbenes. In addition, the synthesis and reactivity studies of possible reaction intermediates like sigma-silane complexes and mu-silyl-eta2-silane complexes are performed. This work is guided by the computational work of Professor Hall using Density Functional Theory (DFT) at Texas A&M University. The work involves undergraduate researchers and local area high school teachers and students. The participating high school teachers are able to incorporate the principles of catalysis and kinetics from the research into their classroom content. The results of this work are disseminated to the public and to the broader chemistry community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 49.95K | Year: 2015

The study of hunter-gatherer societies around the world, and in the Arctic and Alaska in particular, became a major field within the social and human sciences five decades ago. The goal of the Eleventh Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS XI) is to continue the development of a unified field of hunter-gatherer studies. The general question of CHAGS XI therefore is how the results of the last 50 years and new research agendas can be utilized for the present and future. While many hunter-gatherers are forced to give up their ways of life and subsistence practices, they figure prominently in public discourses on ecological and ideological alternatives to industrial society. CHAGS XI will attract a variety of stakeholders in these debates, including indigenous representatives, NGOs, scholars, etc., from the U.S. and other countries. Based on fieldwork and research from the full spectrum of hunter-gatherer ways of life and from all perspectives scientific disciplines have to offer, the purpose of CHAGS XI is to bring hunter-gatherer studies back to the center of the human and social sciences. The conference will encourage discussions that will provide the social sciences and other research areas with in-depth understanding of hunter-gatherer societies in the United States, Arctic and globally. Through publication of the keynote addresses, results will be widely disseminated to local, national and international groups concerned with hunter-gatherer societies.

Since 1966 CHAGS has brought together scholars from all over the world to share ideas about social science research. The goal of the Eleventh Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS XI) is to continue the development of a unified field of hunter-gatherer studies. CHAGS XI will offer a venue for U.S. and international scholars to analyze the progress made in the social sciences and hunter-gatherer studies around the world, and in the Arctic in particular. This includes special project sessions, discussion panels, plenary presentations, invited talks by the leading hunter-gatherer scientists and representatives of the indigenous peoples. Special efforts will be made to ensure presence of as many project collaborators from U.S. hunter-gatherer communities, as possible. Moreover, its main theme will encourage discussions that will provide the social and natural sciences and other research areas with in-depth understanding of hunter-gatherer societies in global dialogue. Through publication of the keynote addresses, results will be widely disseminated to local, national and international groups concerned with hunter-gatherer societies. The conference will promote interdisciplinary collaboration and include activities for early career scholars. By incorporating indigenous and other stakeholder perspectives of the theme as an integral part, CHAGS XI will encourage these groups of people and scholars to learn from each other now and in the future.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: AON IMPLEMENTATION | Award Amount: 156.00K | Year: 2016

Reindeer or Caribou (Rangifer tarandus L.) inhabit Arctic lands in Eurasia and North America. An important part of Arctic ecosystems and Aboriginal livelihood, wild reindeer have been monitored by scientists for almost 50 years. During this time, herds have exhibited large changes in size and these changes have been recorded in almost all herds across the animal?s range. The increase in the number of wild reindeer 20-30 years ago was almost universally followed by a significant population loss in the last decade. In addition, recent monitoring revealed substantial shifts in the distribution of wild populations. The decline in wild reindeer is likely related to natural cycles and changes in the Arctic environment caused by climate change and increased anthropogenic activity. In order to explain the observed changes in the abundance and distribution of reindeer, it is necessary to collect long-term and seasonal observations. The Taimyr Reindeer Herd (TRH) is both the largest and the longest monitored wild reindeer herd in Eurasia. The Extreme North Agricultural Research Institute in Noril?sk, Russia, has observed the TRH since 1969. Only a limited amount of the information on the TRH has been released, digitized, processed, analyzed or published. Much of the information is held in single-copy paper in locations and under conditions that threaten its longevity. The proposed project aims to digitize all available past records concerning the Taimyr wild reindeer populations and develop related datasets on climate and habitat over the decades of observation.

The Taimyr Reindeer Migration Reanalysis (TAMARA) project will be based upon a collaborative and integrated interdisciplinary international network of reindeer experts, arctic researchers, and geospatial scientists. The project is designed to build a comprehensive and openly available information system that will provide insight into the historical relationship between humans, climate, environment, and reindeer. Building on both international and local experiences the investigators will implement a major data digitization and dissemination effort that will be a considerable contribution to the polar cyberinfrastructure pertaining to Arctic terrestrial mammals. The project has the following objectives: 1) Retrieve, digitize, archive, transfer, process and publish historical observational data collected between 1969 and 2009, document relevant methodologies, and develop appropriate metadata; 2) Develop value-added data products resulting from the (re)analysis of historical spatial migration patterns of the TRH; and 3) Contribute to developing polar spatial cyberinfrastructure by creating a comprehensive and open data visualization and data dissemination system. The TAMARA project will be an integral part of the worldwide network of reindeer observation programs. The project will involve US and Russian scientists and students, supporting one graduate student and two part-time undergraduates. Results will be widely disseminated to local residents and stakeholders. The project will contribute to the early career development of a young investigator.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 60.78K | Year: 2015

Over the past 15 years, the Arctic has experienced substantial social and environmental transformations. Some of these changes are on pace with predictions of the late 1990s, but others have occurred much more rapidly than expected. Many of the documented and anticipated shifts in the Arctic are linked to environmental change: changing sea ice and snow cover, coastal erosion leading to displacement of modern villages and destruction of preserved archaeological sites, questions of subsistence food security, increased shipping and oil exploration, with their associated economic impacts (positive and negative) and risk of oil spills, to name just a few. Many other changes in the Arctic are largely independent of changing climate: continued loss of Native languages, high rates of unemployment, domestic violence and substance abuse, and the increased influence of social media among and between isolated communities of the high north. Yet, while the North has always seemed remote and marginal to global or US national interests, Arctic people and environments are increasingly connected socially, economically, and environmentally to those living to the south.

The potential for an increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean, for example, opens up possibilities for new shipping routes shifting economic costs and benefits for global markets, for expanded exploitation of the circumpolar basin?s fossil fuel and mineral resources, and for attendant new focus on the north as an economic and security zone of strategic and tactical importance. All of these potential transformations have impacts not only on the United States? northernmost communities, but also on the global and national economic, social, and cultural systems best studied by social scientists in interdisciplinary collaborations capable of providing information and strategies of need for policy development and community development. The National Science Foundation?s Arctic Social Sciences Program (ASSP) is the leading source of funding for U.S.-based social sciences research in the Arctic. Just as the Arctic has changed, arctic social sciences have experienced substantial growth and development, transitioning from an emerging field of research to a well-established multidisciplinary research area; yet the research priorities for NSF?s Arctic Social Sciences program were last updated in 1999.

The Arctic Horizons project will bring together members of the Arctic social science research and indigenous communities to reassess the goals, potentials, and needs of these diverse communities and ASSP within the context of a rapidly changing circumpolar North. A series of five topical and regional workshops held across the country will bring together approximately 150 western and indigenous scholars to discuss the future of Arctic social science research. Additional participation by the broader Arctic social sciences, indigenous science, and stakeholder communities will be solicited through an interactive web platform that will also share workshop and
project outcomes, supported by special sessions at national and regional conferences. The results of the workshops and on-line input will be compiled at a final synthesis workshop with a report produced to describes the communitys vision for the future of Arctic social science research. This re-envisioning process will help shape future Arctic social science research and inform Arctic economic, environmental, and political policy development.

Arctic Horizons project provides a framework and process that will bring together the Arctic social science research and Arctic indigenous communities to reassess goals, potentials, and needs in the diverse disciplinary and transdisciplinary currents of social science research of the circumpolar North. A series of five regional workshops and one synthesis workshop will engage approximately 150 western and indigenous scholars in the re-visioning process. Additional participation by the broader Arctic social sciences, indigenous science, and stakeholder communities will be solicited through an interactive web platform that will also be used to share workshop and project outcomes (e.g. videos of speakers, workshop notes, copy of the report), as well as through special sessions at regional conferences (e.g. Alaska Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Arctic Science Summit Week, Association of American Geographers). Whenever possible, keynote addresses will be video live cast through the platform and preserved for convenient review. Dynamic embeddable data visualizations will present the running results of project analytics, including text analysis of associations in the transcripts of workshop discussions, participant survey results, citation surveys, and an analysis of all 737 NSF grants issued since 1981. The resulting community-based vision will inform research investments for Arctic social science research over the next decade. Arctic social sciences have experienced substantial growth and development over the past 15 years, transitioning from an emerging field of research to a well-established multidisciplinary research area since the last arctic social sciences visioning workshop held in 1999.

The project is the collaboration of five institutions, all of which have a strong history of supporting Arctic social science research (UAF and Brown) or are developing new programs that support Arctic social science research (UNI and PSU). The process will be overseen by a senior advisory panel that includes social scientists and indigenous community members. The project will leverage the broad research networks of the PIs to recruit participation from a diverse and wide-ranging group
of early, mid and senior career scholars, ensuring gender and disciplinary equity and the participation of underrepresented groups. This will be achieved through targeted invitation to workshops, a promotional campaign for web input through electronic media, and through participant recruitment at conferences and meetings. The capstone event is a synthesis workshop where the information generated at each of the regional/topical workshops and the on-line input will be combined in a report on the research priorities collectively identified by the Arctic social sciences community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS | Award Amount: 105.54K | Year: 2016

Non-technical abstract:
Van der Waals heterostructures are a new class of materials that could lead to new novel electronic and optoelectronic devices. These materials are formed by vertically stacking atomic layers such as graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and transition metal dichalcogenide (e.g. molybdenum disulfide) layers. The forces between these layers are relatively weak. However, they can dramatically change the properties of the system and induce phenomena that are absent in individual layers. By stacking or epitaxially growing different atomic layers on one another, one may design and fabricate artificial materials with unprecedented optical, electronic, and vibrational properties that cannot be achieved in natural crystals. Raman spectroscopy, which is a direct, noninvasive, and sensitive optical probe, is used to explore the interlayer coupling, the interface effect, and the interaction between vibrations and charge carriers in these heterostructures. This research provides crucial guidance in designing novel electronic and optoelectronic devices using stacked atomic layers. The research activities have a powerful impact on the undergraduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. The principal investigator integrates the research topics into two existing courses. Undergraduates at all levels, including freshman students, are encouraged to participate. The principal investigator also uses departmental contacts with area high schools and collaborates with Physics Education faculty colleagues and the director of the Classic Upward Bound program to involve teachers and students at regional high schools. Engaging high school students and undergraduates in research is very important in advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in young people.

Technical abstract:
This research explores fundamental physical properties of various van der Waals heterostructures using Raman spectroscopy of interlayer phonons (typically at low frequencies) and photoluminescence. The research projects include: (i) Develop an interlayer-phonon-based Raman technique to characterize the rotational angle and Moire wavelength of heterostructure superlattices. This study offers a simple method of characterizing Moire pattern features without using scanning tunneling microscopy; (ii) Explore the electronic, optical, and vibrational properties of complex multilayer van der Waals heterostructures and the indirect-direct gap transition in MoS2 bilayers intercalated with different middle layer materials. This research provides crucial guidance in designing novel electronic and optoelectronic devices using stacked van der Waals multilayers; (iii) Study van der Waals heterostructures that involve Dirac materials. In particular, the research team investigates the change in the electronic band structure of twisted bilayer graphene after it is placed or sandwiched between hexagonal boron nitride. This study probes the change in the electronic and vibrational properties of graphene at the hetero-interface; (iv) Probe the interaction between carriers and interlayer phonons in twisted bilayer graphene devices with a dual-gate. This study explores the Coulomb interaction between two charged graphene layers and the interlayer potential formed upon gating. The techniques and methods established in these research activities can be applied to heterostructures formed from any two-dimensional crystals stacked in any desired sequence.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2015

This award will support the establishment of an international Research Coordination Network (RCN) for science-policy interface among researchers, policy and decision makers, and young local and indigenous leaders to better understand and enhance resilience to ongoing dramatic changes in the Arctic. Arctic-COAST will provide an interface between the transdisciplinary research of biophysical, socio-economic, and decision-making academic research domains and policy applications to address the resilience of coastal socio-ecological systems. The Arctic coastal zone, especially in Eurasia, lacks an integrated framework for monitoring socio-ecological systems that could provide key observations for measuring resilience and assessing environmental and community sustainability. Knowledge and policy gaps exist with respect to understanding coastal socio-ecological systems, indicators of sustainability and resilience, scenario-based modeling, and scientific foundations for adaptive governance responses in the Arctic.

By integrating data-rich regional case studies, developing data management tools, and presenting information through an education web-based portal, the network will contribute to research cyberinfrastructure in the circumpolar Arctic. Using a resilience framework as an overarching concept, Arctic-COAST will be instrumental in closing knowledge and policy gaps to foster sustainable development of Arctic ecosystems and communities, which is one of the deliverables for the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council during the US Chairmanship 2015-2017.

Arctic-COAST employs a transdisciplinary approach of biophysical, socio-economic and policy research that will interface from the projects inception. Arctic-COAST knowledge structure encompasses five crosscutting themes related to Arctic coastal social-ecological systems (SES) resilience: indicators and monitoring, community resilience, adaptive governance, future scenario building, and nurturing new Arctic leaders. A sixth information and knowledge management theme is an integrated effort that summarizes, presents and delivers RCN results.

Arctic-COAST will synthesize and disseminate knowledge about the state, dynamics and resilience of coastal SESs focusing on the circumpolar Arctic. To bridge existing knowledge gaps, Arctic-COAST will (1) provide systematic, synthetic knowledge about Eurasian and Northern American Arctic coastal SESs; (2) compile spatial, systems-based understandings of SES resilience for different geographical scales and regional contexts; (3) craft future research directions for Arctic SES resilience and ecosystem stewardship, focusing on governance issues; and (4) foster a new generation of scientists, policy and decision makers capable of adaptive management. Arctic-COAST will fund regular meetings and workshops to promote exchange, collaboration, training and educational opportunities for scientists, early career and Indigenous scholars, students and local community members.

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