Eight OU faculty who are principal investigators on funded external grants that support postdoctoral researchers will benefit from a new research incentive program created by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships. This first round of funding was open to eligible Norman campus and Tulsa-affiliated faculty who are lead principal investigators on awarded or pending external grants in FY22 that include support of a full-time postdoctoral researcher.
Associate Vice President for Research Development for the OVPRP Ann West said the goal of the program is, “to provide discretionary funds to these selected PIs that will help drive enhanced project outcomes and, in the long term, effectively increase the number of postdoctoral researchers working at OU."
Eight faculty in the Gallogly College of Engineering, Dodge College of Arts and Sciences, Mewborne College of Earth and Energy, and the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences received the award’s 25 percent postdoc salary match, following a multidisciplinary peer review process.
The faculty recipients are Ahmad Ghassemi, Courtney Hofman, Laura-Isobel McCall, Michael Detamore, Musharraf Zaman, Pierre Kirstetter, Tiantian Yang and Yuan Yang.
McCall’s project, funded by a grant from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, aims to understand the relationship between metabolism and location of disease symptoms. The funds awarded through the stimulus program will help enable additional experimentation.
“The VPRP stimulus program funds will help maximize the value of this award by enabling additional experimentation on the intersection between host genetics, immunometabolism and Chagas disease severity,” McCall said. “It will also support an undergraduate student, providing that student with research experience and career development.”
Tiantian Yang intends to use the VPRP postdoc stimulus funds to support his Engineering with Nature project, awarded by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. For the project, a postdoctoral scholar will conduct research related to engineering-based solutions sustainable water and energy infrastructure operation across the Great Plains.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the lack of labor and economic inflation has become more and more evident across the country,” Yang said. “The impacts are even more challenging for junior faculty to secure the most talented students and postdoctoral scholars. The VPRP Postdoc Stimulus program provides timely help and the financial resources to mitigate such situations and greatly help faculty recruit the most talented candidates with competitive salaries.”
Since 2020, the OVPRP has introduced nine research incentive programs to help faculty expand their research capabilities and interests as well as their competitiveness for significant external funding.
West said each of the OVPRP’s incentive programs involve a rigorous peer review process and that the programs have cumulatively provided nearly $1.8 million to OU faculty and have generated significant returns on investment through multiple large-scale grants, high-impact publications, conference presentations and more.
“We plan for this postdoc stimulus program, like many of the incentive programs we’ve started up, to be offered on a recurring basis,” West said. “I encourage any faculty member to continue to look for these kinds of internal funding opportunities that will help advance their research.”
More information about this and other VPRP-led funding programs are available via the Internal Support and Seed Funding page on the OVPRP website.