Research News

Research News

A sampling of current research, the SPEA faculty who are doing it, and the grants that help make it possible.

Shahzeen Attari (IUB), $3.69 million to study the impacts of agricultural decisionmaking and adaptive management on food security in Africa. The grant was presented by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) as part of their joint Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) program. Attari is a coinvestigator with Tom Evans from IU’s Department of Geography and Beth Plale of IU’s School of Informatics and Computing, as well as Kelly Caylor and Justin Sheffield of Princeton University.

Jeremy Carter and Eric Grommon (IUPUI), $173,159 from Engility Corporation to expand a series of evaluations for the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center’s Communications Technology Center of Excellence (CoE). The CoE is a program of the National Institute of Justice, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, and provides NIJ with research, development, test, and evaluation support. Research projects include process evaluations to document procurement and implementation decisions associated with the deployment of innovative technologies. The projects are being conducted across the U.S. with varying criminal justice organizations. In total, Carter and Grommon have been awarded $353,640 to support this effort.

Denvil Duncan (IUB), $91,000 from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to contribute to a project in response to Indiana House Bill 1104, which is intended to identify suitable funding mechanisms for the state’s transportation infrastructure. Duncan has been tasked with conducting a public opinion survey to determine how Indiana residents view the various revenue mechanisms under consideration.

Ron Hites, Marta Venier, and Amina Salamova (IUB), $6 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue a project that measures levels of airborne toxic chemicals being deposited in the Great Lakes. The study is part of a project launched in 1990 and this latest award renews a $5 million grant Hites received five years ago. The funding allows IU to provide the EPA important trend data on chemicals reaching the Great Lakes through the atmosphere. Hites is especially interested in studying the impact of chemicals from cities that leak into the lakes.

Sheila Kennedy and Rachel Thelin (IUPUI), for the Indiana University Center for Civic Literacy, $25,000 from the Simon Family Foundation. The grant will be used to study the gap in civics education available to students in wealthy and poor neighborhoods. Established in July 2012, the IU Center for Civic Literacy is supported by the IUPUI Signature Centers Initiative, which is designed to provide selected centers initial funding for a period of three years.

Debra Mesch (IUPUI), $375,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help answer questions about women’s giving, share knowledge with the broader sector to help fill a key gap, and inform how the foundation’s Philanthropic Partnerships team and Melinda’s Advocacy and Communications leads can better engage women. An existing body of research has indicated that women seem to give differently than men; additional work is needed to provide reliable and nuanced data for the sector. The project seeks to first provide a comprehensive picture of what is known about differences in giving by women and men. The project will also address the accessibility of information by enabling a compressive dissemination strategy to provide the public with important information about women’s philanthropy.

Doug Noonan (IUPUI) and Joanna Woronkowicz (IUB), $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to study: What was the effect of the Great Recession on the employment of artists and how have they fared during the recovery? And how do crowdfunding campaigns for arts projects differ in their results from similar campaigns for technology and other non-arts projects? Noonan and Woronkowicz will use data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and data from crowdfunding websites including Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The researchers say they want to better understand the role of artists in creating economic value and develop data that show the impact of artists on the economic fabric of society.

Joseph Shaw (IUB), $300,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Shaw and his research group were selected to receive a $300,000 Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research award because his proposed work was considered some of the most innovative and potentially transformative of any reviewed by the Division of Integrative and Organismal Systems this year. The two-year project is designed to characterize the influence of environment induced epigenetic state (i.e., genetic control by factors other than DNA) on the frequency, types, and genetic location of mutations in DNA to better understand their influence on the fitness of organisms, populations, and the selective mechanism driving their evolution.

Phil Stevens (IUB), $718,562 from the National Science Foundation to continue his studies of the impact of biogenic emissions from forests on the chemistry of the hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere. Sometimes called the “Pac-Man” of the atmosphere, the hydroxyl radical controls the atmospheric lifetime of methane and many other trace gases important to issues of air quality and climate change. In addition, the hydroxyl radical initiates the chemistry leading to the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter, the primary components of photochemical smog. Improving our understanding of this important chemistry will improve our ability to predict how changes in biogenic emissions as a result of climate change will affect the future composition of the atmosphere.

Marta Venier and Ron Hites (IUB), $300,000 from the U.S. Geologic Survey. The cooperative research grant will provide two years of funding that will allow Venier and Hites to quantify PCBs in samples collected from five tributaries of Lake Michigan. The research is a continuation of an EPA project undertaken in 1994-95. The goal is to note changes over time in the presence of environmentally persistent contaminants in air, water, sediment, and bird and fish tissue throughout the Lake Michigan Basin.

Adam Ward (IUB), $599,383 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) as part of their joint Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) program, to study decision processes, climate change, and water resources in the agricultural Midwest. His central hypothesis poses that water resource governance structure and economic concerns supersede changes in climate, flooding, drought, or water quality in influencing land management practices and resultant environmental outcomes. Ward’s co-investigators include Scott Spak and Kajsa Dalrymple from the University of Iowa.