Campus News

UGARF awards $450,000 to further faculty research

The University of Georgia Research Foundation, through the Office of the Vice President for Research, awarded almost $450,000 in Faculty Research Grants to 67 UGA researchers for the 2008 calendar year. A total of 118 proposals were submitted in eight categories, ranging from basic and applied life sciences to humanities and arts.

The FRG program encourages junior faculty to initiate promising research. Awards average $5,000 and must be used within one year. Awards are intended as “seed money” to help tenure-track professors demonstrate the potential of new subjects of inquiry. Successful proposals cover a broad spectrum, from physics to applied economics to dance.

Past FRG recipient have gone on to leverage their findings into longer-term funding from external sources, publish their work and receive support for creative scholarship.

“Using the FRG fund, we obtained key in vivo data, which helped us to successfully compete for two external grants,” said Lianchun Wang, an assistant professor with the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. Wang, who was funded by the FRG program for $4,000 in 2007 to help purchase an environment chamber to study blood clot formation, later received $60,000 from the American Health Assistance Foundation and $308,000 from the American Heart Association to continue his work.

Michael Kwass, associate professor of history, used his 2007 award of $4,900 to study how tobacco smuggling in pre-revolutionary France hastened the downfall of the French monarchy. That, in turn, generated grants from the American Council of Learned Societies for $40,000 and the American Philosophical Society for $33,000 to explore archives in France and develop a book. Research was completed, and Louis Mandrin: A Black-Market Bandit in the Global 18th Century is now being written.

Award areas include the three major FRG programs at the university—sciences directly administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research, humanities and arts administered through the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Initiative on Poverty and the Economy administered through the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.

Each proposal is reviewed by a voluntary committee of faculty members.

Funding can cover travel, personnel, equipment and supplies. FRGs are limited to instructors and assistant professors on tenure-track appointments and to individuals holding the appointment of assistant research scientist.

This year more than half the proposals, 57 percent, received approval.

Robert Scott, the associate vice president for research who oversees the program, hopes more faculty will apply.

“It’s something that needs greater recognition by new faculty as a way to initiate a line of investigation or simply begin connecting with the research community at UGA,” Scott said.

A complete list of the 2008 funded projects is available online (­grantsandawards/index.html).