The National Science Foundation awarded eight Indiana University professors the prestigious Early Career Development Awards, totaling over $6 million. The grants support partnerships between leading scientific researchers and elementary and graduate school teaching activities.
The winners are studying a wide range of areas, including how to make drug development more affordable, the importance of non-rainfall water to areas with dry climates, and resilience to natural disasters.
“Many students benefit from the opportunity to engage in independent research, and to the extent that we can have those activities support our larger research goals that’s obviously good for the research project and good for the students,” says Kim Novick, School of Public and Environmental Affairs professor.
Novick is studying reforestation and climate change. She’ll also use part of her funding to develop a citizen-science program, where regular people, including grade-school children, collect research data.
Novik’s citizen-science project will study “leaf-out.”
“We are right now in the middle of leaf-out,” Novik says. “If you go outside you’ll see that some trees are beginning to get their leaves, whereas others have not yet.”
By going on hikes, citizen-scientists will record when different types of trees start regrowing their leaves. The data will help Novick better understand the way forest ecosystems function.
Other outreach programs funded by the Career Awards include support for an exhibit at a children’s museum and the opportunity for university students to carry out field research in southwestern Africa.
All of the grants are awarded to junior faculty, for five years.