New Grants Seed Research for Junior Faculty
Office of Research Creates Catalyst Funding for Recently Hired Researchers

The UT Dallas Office of the Vice President for Research has announced awards from a new program designed to provide research support to early career faculty.  More than $184,000 has been distributed from the new Catalyst program to five researchers who are in the early stages of applying for federal and state funding.

The goal of this new, annual program is to encourage and support research that holds promise for future development and funding.

“Catalyst grants are just one part of our strategy to increase the number of faculty submitting proposals and the number of proposals that are externally funded.”

Dr. Bruce Gnade,
VP for research

“The research productivity of UT Dallas faculty engaged in externally funded research is quite good compared to relatively small top-tier research universities,” said Dr. Bruce Gnade, vice president for research. “But if we are to reach Tier One status, we need to do even better. Catalyst grants are just one part of our strategy to increase the number of faculty submitting proposals and the number of proposals that are externally funded.”

The program targeted assistant professors hired since the summer of 2006.  Researchers who had not yet received major federal grants were contacted and invited to apply for grants that were capped at $40,000 each.  Invitations were sent to eligible researchers from schools across campus in February.  The winners were notified in early April.

This year’s awardees are funded from June 2010 through August 2011.

Winning proposals were selected by a committee within the Office of Vice President for Research, along with approval by the deans from the finalists’ schools.

Catalyst funds may be used for research assistants, capital research equipment, materials and supplies, summer salary support, research-related travel and more.  As a condition of winning a Catalyst award, researchers are required to continue submitting external grant proposals and to submit a final report to the vice president for research.

Researchers eligible for next year’s Catalyst awards should receive an invitation to apply in spring 2011.

Researcher   Project Title   Award   Affiliation
Daniel Krawczyk   “The Neural Basis of Extreme Visual Expertise”   $39,500   Center for BrainHealth
Fatemeh Hassanipour   “Enhanced Oil Recovery by Analysis of Vortex Flow in Porous Media”   $40,000   Mechanical Engineering
Christopher Hinkle   “Amorphous-Si Based Anode Materials and Solid-Electrolyte-Interphase for Li-Ion Batteries”   $40,000   Materials Science and Engineering
Nicholas Gans   “Super-resolution of Target Details for Improved Target State Estimation and Classification”   $40,000   Electrical Engineering
Banks Miller   “A database matching judicial decisions to campaign contributions in state supreme courts”   $24,720   Political Science

For more information about Catalyst grants, contact Dr. Dena Jackson, assistant vice president for research development: 972-883-2138 or [email protected].

Catalyst Research: What Goes On Inside a Chess Expert’s Brain?



Center for BrainHealth Assistant Professor Daniel Krawczyk received $39,500 to study the effects of expertise on the brain.  Krawczyk plans to analyze the differences between how chess experts and novice players visualize a chess board and comprehend the complex game.  The research is expected to fill the gap in understanding how the brains of expert chess players are reorganized to play and win the game.

“The project will contribute to my career goal of establishing a highly innovative line of research on human expertise,” Krawczyk said.  “Given the international caliber of the UT Dallas chess team and the buildup of brain science on campus, I hope to help establish the University as both a premier university in chess tournament play and a center of excellence of the study of chess expertise.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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