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Quarterly Research Report: July 1–December 31, 2017

Quarterly Research Report cover for Q2FY18

Download the Quarterly Research Report for Q2FY18

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville recorded increases across several metrics in the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 (Q2 FY18). Proposal dollars requested remained on a steady rise, awarded dollars improved since the first quarter, and dollars spent on Research and Development (R&D) exceeded expectations.

While the total number of proposals submitted in the first two quarters of FY18 is slightly down (a 6 percent decrease), the total amount requested ($328 million) represents a bold increase of 21 percent when compared to the first two quarters of FY17 (table 1, fig. 1 and fig.2). This increase is contributed to the stable positive trend demonstrated by the Tickle College of Engineering (TCE) and to the significant increases in the proposal amounts requested by the College of Nursing, and Research Centers and Institutes in Q1-Q2 FY18 (fig.9). In addition, there were 45 proposals submitted requesting amounts of $1 million or larger in the first two quarters of FY18. The total amount requested by these 45 proposals was $174 million. Thirty-six of these proposals aim to perform basic research, while the rest would provide public service.
 The total award amount of $82 million received in Q1-Q2 FY18 is down 7 percent compared to the Q1-Q2 FY18 (table 1, fig. 3). However, this amount represents a 1 percent increase over a five-year average of the amounts received in the first two quarters of the last five fiscal years (FY14-FY18). It is also noteworthy that this decrease is no longer as dramatic as it was in the end of the first quarter, when the total amount received was down 19 percent compared to last year.

Looking at the total research expenditures, all of our colleges, centers and institutes displayed substantial increases in the Q1-Q2 FY18 when compared to the Q1-Q2 FY17 (table 1, fig. 11). The total expenditure amount of $105 million spent on R&D is 34 percent higher when compared to last year (table 1, fig. 4).

Notable Achievements

Jason Hayward and Hairong Qi from TCE’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, respectively, secured a $1 million project funded by the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The project, titled “Investigation of DEtectors, Algorithms, and Systems (IDEAS) to Advance Autonomous Radiological/Nuclear Search,” will focus on investigation of advanced organic scintillators, light collection in organic scintillation detectors, and advanced algorithms in an effort to develop technology to search for, locate, and characterize radiological/nuclear materials, preferably with unmanned, autonomous vehicles.

Nina Fefferman, a scientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, received $360 thousand from the National Science Foundation through Smithsonian Institute for her project “Predicting the Evolution of Vector-Borne Disease Dynamics in a Changing World.” This project aims to advance an understanding of how disease transmission is affected by and evolve in response to environmental change.

Another researcher from College of Arts and Sciences, Annette Engel, received a $260 thousand award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through Louisiana State University to examine how seasonal and spatial shifts in salinity due to river diversions influence species composition and food web structure in both natural and created marshes.

As always, I invite your feedback on anything you would like to discuss involving the Office of Research and Engagement, your research concerns and interests, and aspirations you may have for future research activities at UT.

Bruce LaMattina
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Development