This Week in Illinois Research

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“This Week in Illinois Research” is a weekly communication for the campus research community, from the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Susan Martinis. 


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A Fresh Start

From the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

I know I am not alone in using some of the slow down over the winter semester break to bring a little order to the paperwork, notes, and mementos that have piled up—scattered between my administrative, lab, and remote offices and on my computer. It feels inspiring to start the new year with a clean slate! In the spirit of organizing and getting ready for the new semester, I’d like to tidy up my inbox and share a few odds and ends that have rolled in since we last published This Week in Illinois Research

  • If you have reports due to any of our sponsors, please knock those out ASAP. Start the semester off right!
  • We are seeking a Faculty Fellow–Humanities, Arts, and Related Fields in the OVCRI. This is an excellent opportunity for mid-career and senior faculty for career development. 
  • We are also looking for a new Director of the Beckman Institute. We welcome your help in spreading the word to candidates who might be interested.  
  • Did you see the brief YouTube video that MCB put together highlighting our new cryoEM capabilities on campus?  
  • NSF released Higher Education R&D (HERD) numbers earlier in the month. Even though it's FY20 data, it's interesting to dive in. (And I'm happy to note that we've moved up to the #3 slot in Department of Energy expenditures.)
  • Last year marked the retirement of two truly remarkable sponsored projects (the Illinois Basin-Decatur carbon capture project and the Blue Waters supercomputer). What an impact these teams had on our campus and the broader scientific community!

There's much more below, so read on—and if you have news to share, feel free to add to my inbox anytime!

Sincerely,

Susan

Featured Stories

Carle Illinois Students Design Bionic Knee Brace to Empower Cerebral Palsy Patients

Carle Illinois College of Medicine students Dylan Mann and Shahnoor Amin have developed a new bionic knee brace that "could help cerebral palsy patients overcome muscle stiffness that limits their mobility." The device is one of 13 C

The Power of I: Leveraging Amazon Web Services to Combat COVID-19

Wondering how to use cloud technology in your projects?

Artist's Solo Show Emphasizes Black Resilience Through Historic Vigilantism

Patrick Earl Hammie’s latest work, “I Am … Legend," highlights "Black resilience through historic vigilantism" by combining celebratory drawings from “Soul Train” with painted images of lynch mobs.

Around Campus

Nicolás Yunes Awarded a Simons Foundation Target Grant

Nicolás Yunes has been awarded a Simons Foundation Target Grant for Astrophysical Investigations of Dynamical Chern–Simons Theory, a project exploring "predictions beyond Einstein’s general relativity, with an impact on understanding black holes, dark matter, singularities, and dark energy."

SPA Announces Holiday Hours

SPA will be closed from Dec. 24—Jan. 4, so submit your proposals no later than THIS WEDNESDAY at 5:00 p.m. SPA will submit these proposals by Dec. 21st (and will resubmit any proposals with errors on Dec. 22nd and 23rd).

Emad Tajkhorshid Featured in DOE's ACSR Discovery Newsletter

Emad Tajkhorshid was featured in the DOE's ACSR Discovery newsletter about his team's use of Titan, a retired Cray XK7 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to "run simulations on important viral processes with nanoscale molecular dynamics software."

Jennifer Novak-Leonard Co-Authors Recent Study Exploring Public Funding for Artists

Jennifer Novak-Leonard is the co-author of a recent study that shows that people are significantly more supportive of public funding for artists when "they see artists as collaborators who are working to bring attention to and help solve problems in their communities."

Save the Date for the 2022 AgTech Innovation Summit on March 9th

Save the date for the 2022 AgTech Innovation Summit on March 9th. The event will "explore how technology solutions are addressing some of the most significant challenges facing agriculture today—and learn about what is on the horizon."

Check Out the Beckman Institute's Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series

Check out the Beckman Institute's Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series on Wednesday to learn about ethics, authorship, and data management issues in the research environment. Heidi Imker will present. 

National Landscape

Weak or Flawed Health Studies May Contribute to Misinformation and Misinterpretation

A recent article in Science explores how weak or flawed health studies contribute to misinformation and misinterpretation, affecting public health. 

Higher Education Funding Levels Delayed for at Least the Next Two Months

Congress recently passed a temporary measure to avoid a government shutdown, delaying the annual appropriations process and locking in the higher education funding levels for at least the next two months.

Pick Your Favorite "Breakthrough of the Year"

Pick your favorite "Breakthrough of the Year" in the 2021 Annual People’s Choice poll from Science. Cast your vote for your favorite breakthrough in three categories: Ancient Origins, Health and Medicine, and From Molecules to Space.

Attend Webinar to Learn About New NSF Funding Solicitation

Make plans to attend a webinar on Tuesday and Wednesday to learn about a new NSF funding solicitation that  "supports fundamental science centered on the responsible conduct of research and the adoption of that knowledge by STEM researchers, practitioners, and educators at all career stages."

Chair of the House Science Committee Announces Her Decision to Retire

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chair of the House science committee, has announced her decision to retire at end of her term. Johnson leaves a legacy as "the rare example a congressional panel still capable of crafting bipartisan legislation."

Peter McPherson Announces Retirement as President of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Peter McPherson has announced his retirement as the president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, effective September 2022. McPherson has held the position for more than 16 years.