Research Office Newsletter - Spring 2010
Tech Partners with the Western Transporation Institute (WTI)
The Montana Tech Department of General Engineering and students from ASCE and AGC hosted the Western Transportation Institute signing ceremony. Front Row, L-R: Dr. Hal Millegan, MT Tech; Steve Albert, WTI; Dr. Jerry Stephens, WTI; Dr. Joseph Figueira, MT Tech; and Dr. Brian Kukay, MT Tech.
(March 3, 2010) Montana Tech’s Department of General Engineering has partnered with The Western Transportation Institute (WTI) to form the Western Transportation Institute at Montana Tech. This partnership provides opportunities for Tech faculty from many departments to collaborate with WTI for innovative research in ground and air transportation issues in rural areas.
According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 83 percent of the nation’s land is considered rural. Rural transportation issues can differ from issues faced by metropolitan areas. These issues include safety, maintenance backlogs, increased transportation of freight, extreme weather conditions, and decline of transportation options, among many others.
The Western Transportation Institute is a nationally recognized center of excellence located at Montana State University Bozeman. WTI’s research includes safety, winter maintenance, road ecology, infrastructure maintenance, systems engineering development, mobility and public transportation, and transportation planning and economics. The U.S. Department of Transportation designated WTI as a University Transportation Center in 1998.
The research partnership will provide opportunities to develop interdisciplinary research between Tech faculty, WTI and Montana State University for many issues which not only have local impact, but also worldwide impacts. There also will be the potential for student fellowships between Tech and MSU and the prospect of expanding Tech’s research capabilities. “This is a big opportunity for Tech,” said Dr. Hal Millegan. “It is multidisciplinary in using expertise from many fields and departments across campus.”
Projects under development at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana Tech include:
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
In collaboration with the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Lab at Montana Tech (Dr. Tom Moon, Electrical Engineering, and Dick Johnson, General Engineering), WTI at Montana Tech is developing a project that will utilize Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to survey asphalt conditions on roads in Montana. The data will be used to build a virtual model of the state which will aid the Montana Department of Transportation in determining the best asphalt mix to use in an area based on local conditions and road use. This project will also aid in developing a training programs and college courses.
Calibration of AASHTO Design Equations
Calibration of AASHTO Design Equations
The most recent changes to the codes from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) allow for adjustments to be accounted for in bridge design equations. Some states have already implemented the code changes which take into account region-specific materials that precast concrete facilities use in bridge construction. The Montana Department of Transportation has also expressed an interest in comparing existing and newly proposed, precast, prestressed concrete bridge girders to one another. “The MDT is very pro-active and continuously assesses its current status and future needs in regards to the newest code requirements,” said Dr. Brian Kukay.
Office of Sponsored Programs and Grant Accounting Moves to Museum Building
Office of Sponsored Programs and
(March 15, 2010) The Office of Sponsored Programs and Grant Accounting has moved to the Museum Building, rooms 212 and 213.
The new office location puts Sponsored Programs just down the hall from the Research Office which makes it easy for researchers to visit one location for research and grant questions.
Joanne Lee and Carrie Chesbro are now in MUS 212, with Director Carleen Cassidy in MUS 213. Phone numbers for Carleen Cassidy, Joanne Lee and Carrie Chesbro remain the same.
Associate Vice Chancellor's Corner
Busy year – moves, money and man(woman)power.
The MBMG move from Main Hall precipitated a series of actions. The Office of Sponsored Programs moved to the Museum Building, providing the research active faculty with their version of “one stop shopping”. If you have not done so, stop by and say hi to Carleen, Joanne and Carrie. The MBMG move also freed up space in the ELC allowing the moves of existing laboratories to more appropriate locations, and the generation of new offices and laboratories on the first floor. CAMP, MET and Environmental Engineering are still sorting out the new space and expanding their research programs.
The growth of CAMP continued unabated, provoking some of the actions above with their own resources. Four new CAMP employees were hired and major new DOD contracts are under discussion. CAMP has grown from a $250,000 per year operation to a $1,500,000 operation in six years. Congratulations to all.
Patent applications and licensing consortiums continued to grow, led this year by Electrical Engineering. It seems to be getting serious – we are spending as much time on revenue sharing agreements as we are on patent applications.
The Undergraduate Research Program completed another successful year, capped by a commendation from the NWCCU accreditation team. The URP committee and staff, and certainly our very talented student participants, deserve a round of applause here.
The Montana Tech chapter of the research society, Sigma Xi, shows signs of rejuvenation, thanks to the efforts of a couple of old war horses and some young legs. Stay tuned in the fall.
Finally, I want to repeat my congratulations to this year’s winners of the Montana Tech Distinguished Researcher Awards, Gary Icopini, Xiaobing Zhou, and Rick Douglass. Well done gentlemen.
I wish you all a pleasant end to your year, and best wishes for a peaceful and productive (or not) summer.
2010 Distinguished Researcher Awards
Left to Right: Dr. Xiaobing Zhou, Geophysical Engineering, Dr. Rick Douglass, Biology, and Dr. Gary Icopini, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology
(April 30, 2010) Montana Tech recognized outstanding contributions to college research efforts by faculty and staff with the presentation of the 9th Annual Distinguished Researcher Awards to three individuals. A committee selected the annual award winners from nominations submitted by the campus. Awardees receive $1,000 and a plaque acknowledging their achievements.
Research Expenditures by Department
The Office of Sponsored Programs and Grant Accounting released grant expenditures by department for Fiscal Year 2009. These numbers allow a comparison of research activity by department across campus.
Montana Tech Research by the Numbers
In March, the Research Office released the Research, Graduate Studies and International Programs Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2009. Research Funding data was analyzed and compared to previous years to determine the ‘health’ of Research at Montana Tech.
For more information, check out the full Annual Research Report for 2009.
Grant Writing Activity $ Value
Thesis Abroad Program Restarts
The Thesis Abroad Program provides qualified graduate students with the opportunity to augment their graduate research while obtaining cultural and academic experience at a foreign host institution.
If you are interested in proposing a student for this program, please contact Dr. Joseph Figueira.
The Montana Tech Office of International Programs was established in 1998 to encourage, enhance and formalize Montana Tech’s international programs. Between 1998 and 2008, the campus received three major grants totaling $350,000 from the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to support this effort. The objective was to seed the amount of international research collaborations among faculty at Montana Tech and interested international partners, and provide opportunities for graduate student participation. The graduate student program eventually became formalized as the “Thesis Abroad” program.
The intent of the Thesis Abroad program is to provide qualified graduate students with the opportunity to conduct research while at a foreign host institution. Several International Universities have participated in the program and have hosted our students in the past. The program provides financial support to Montana Tech graduate students participating in thesis research at approved collaborating foreign institutions. Students must be full time graduate students in good academic standing. The program provides up to $5,000 of living stipends to these students to cover travel and per diem expenses while visiting the host institution.
The campus will continue to support the Thesis Abroad Program in FY2011 with $10,000 in IDC funds. These funds require a 1:1 departmental match. Matching funds can also come from grant funds. The stipend available for each graduate student participant will be $5,000. It is anticipated that this funding level will support four students.
The Thesis Abroad Governing Committee is currently accepting applications for the Fall and Spring of AY2010/2011. The program is open to all graduate students at Montana Tech. The committee will review, rank, and award scholarships from the funds available. The proposed Thesis Abroad project must be endorsed by one of Tech’s approved international partners, and a Montana Tech academic department.
What is a DUNS Number?
A DUNS Number is a unique 9 digit number assigned by Duns and Bradstreet, Inc. for Grantees. Federal Agencies will request this number as part of the proposal paperwork for grant opportunities.
Montana Tech's DUNS number is 071408496.
Principal Investigator's Training Required
Board of Regents Policy 401 requires all individuals who wish to pursue grant-sponsored Research at Montana Tech attend a training session before submitting any grant proposals.
The Office of Research and the Office of Sponsored Programs at Montana Tech offer a joint training session for all researchers every August. Additional sessions are scheduled throughout the year as needed. The workshop overviews the functions of the Research Office and Sponsored Programs Office as well as cover Intellectual Property Issues, Research Integrity and Tech’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
Notices of upcoming training sessions are sent via email. If you would like to be added to the list for the next training session, please contact the Research Office.
Beginning January 4, 2010, all proposals to the National Science Foundation will be required to provide certification of student training in the ethical conduct of research. This requirement applies to all undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers working on research projects. Student researchers will be required to complete the training and may attend the relevant section of Principal Investigator’s Training to complete this requirement. Contact the Research Office for more information about the implementation of this new requirement.
Find more information about the Board of Regents policy at: mus.edu/borpol/bor400/401.pdf
More information on the grants process at Montana Tech available on the Research Office Website at www.mtech.edu/research/policies/
Grant System: FedConnect
Fedconnect is a new system that several agencies (such as the Department of Energy) are using for grant proposal submittal in addition to Grants.gov. Check the funding announcement carefully for instructions on which system the agency wants used for proposal submittal. PIs will need to register with Fedconnect to receive notifications of funding opportunity changes or to submit proposals.
If you are submitting a full proposal, the documentation must include a signed page from Dr. Joseph Figueria, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research authorizing the submitting of the proposal. Call the Research Office for details and assistance. The proposal will be rejected during review if this approval is not included. White Papers and Concept Papers do not need a signed approval page prior to submission. Contact the Research Office for more information and assistance.
Papers, Publications & Presentations
The Research Office monitors faculty publications as one way of tracking scholarly activity on campus. All publications are self-reported by the authors. The chart below illustrates the number of papers in press, presentations, and published works submitted to the Reserach Office over the past 6 years. The data includes Research Faculty and the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. View the publications list for 2009.
Fringe and Indirect Cost Rates
New Funding December 2009 - May 7, 2010
Ted Duaime, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Long-Term Monitoring in the Anaconda - Warm Springs Area, $404,983 from ARCO 2/15/2010 - 5/31/2011
Mike Stickney, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Montana Regional Seismic Network Operations 2010-2014, $341,662 from the USGS 2/01/2010—1/31/2014
John Metesh, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Yellowstone Controlled Ground Water Area (YCGWA) Monitoring, $141,000 from the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park 5/1/2010—4/30/2011
Matt Donnelly and Dan Trudnowski, Electrical Engineering: Load for Spinning Reserve (Task 3), $127,064 from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/Battelle Memorial Institute 4/5/2010—5/15/2011
Brian Park, Center for Advanced Mineral and Metallurgical Processing, Provide Technical Support for Potential Modifications to South Mine Pit Water Treatment Operations (Copper Basin, Tennessee), $99,148 from Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc. 4/7/2010—4/6/2011
Courtney Young, Metallurgy: Lunar Soil Simulant—A Multiple Terrestrial Resource Approach, $59,375 from NASA 3/1/10—9/30/10
Paul Conrad and Rich McNearny, Mining Engineering: DevelopWEPP Mine: A Management Tool for Western Alkaline Surface Coal Mines, $58,000 from Washington State University 8/1/2009—7/31/2011
John Morrison, Electrical Engineering: Development of a Generic Hardware/Software System that Interrogates a Battery, $39,427 from Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA) 2/10/2010—9/30/2011
Matt Donnelly and Dan Trudnowski, Electrical Engineering: Design, Implement and Test Residential Appliance Control Strategies for Grid Friendly-style Appliance Controllers in GridLAB0-D, $30,000 from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/Battelle Memorial Institute 4/12/2010—9/30/2010
John Metesh , Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Yellowstone Controlled Ground Water Area Database Administration, $29,882 from the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park 10/1/2010—9/30/2011
Matt Vincent, Technical Outreach: Milltown Turbidity Sampling, $15,000 from the Natural Resource Damage Program 4/22/2010—12/31/2010
Ted Duaime, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: DEQ Crystal Mine, $14,480 from the Department of Environmental Quality, 3/10/10 - 9/30/10
Bwalya Malama, Geological Engineering: Characterization of Shallow Subsurface Hydraulic Heterdegeneity in the Silver-Bow-Butte Area Through Field and Laboratory Experiments, $13,217 from Montana State University/Montana Water Center 3/1/2010—2/28/2011
Ted Duaime, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Idaho Pole Site ~ Groundwater Information Compilation (Task Order 9), $9,950 from the Department of Environmental Quality 4/7/2010—12/31/2010
Bwalya Malama, Geological Engineering: Hydrogeophysics Collaboration and Consultation, $8,200 from Boise State Idaho 10/1/2009—6/30/2010
Allison McIntosh, Nursing: Geriatric Education Center (GEC) Grant Program (Year three funding) $7,280 from the US Department of Health and Human Services 7/1/2009—6/30/2010
Tom Patton, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Water Resources for Investigation Program (Joint Funding Agreement), $5,775 from the US Geological Survey 10/1/2009—9/30/2010
Matt Vincent, Technical Outreach: Butte-Silver Bow Water Conservation/Public Education Contract, $4,906 from the Butte-Silver Bow Public Works Department 3/4/2010—6/30/2010
Courtney Young, Metallurgy: Lunar Soil Simulant—A Multiple Terrestrial Resource Approach, $3,542 from Montana State University 3/1/10—9/30/2010
Amy Verlanic, Technical Outreach: Know How 2 Go Week (Workshop), $3,125 from the Student Assistance Foundation 1/31/2010—2/5/2010
Tom Patton, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Water Resources Investigations Program (Joint Funding Agreement), $920 from the US Geological Survey 10/1/2009—9/30/2010
Grants.gov Warning: Submit Early to Avoid System Delays!
Grants.gov has been experiencing extreme system slowness due to the large number of users submitting proposals. This problem is expected to get worse as submission of economic stimulus package proposals begins. Many institutions are experiencing timeouts and multiple errors when attempting to submit research proposals.
If you are preparing a proposal to be submitted through Grants.gov, please notify the Research Office as soon as possible. It is imperative to submit the final proposal to Grants.gov several days in advance of the deadline, in order to fix errors and work through the system problems. Proposals submitted on the deadline date may not be completed in time causing you to miss the agency’s deadline, and some agencies will not accept late proposals even if it is a result of Grants.gov issues.
Did you know? Tips and Tricks
All Montana Tech Employees have to fill out a Conflict of Interest Declaration Form every year.. Find details at www.mtech.edu/research/policies/policies_and_procedures.html
Submitting a proposal with human subjects? See instructions for Human Subjects Research Approvals on the Research Office’s Policies and Procedures webpage.
Search Grants.gov for the latest funding opportunities: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/find_grant_opportunities.jsp