Research Excellence

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is home to a diverse portfolio of research, scholarly, programmatic, entrepreneurial, and outreach activities.

UWM in the News

Dr. Junhong Chen, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has engaged private industry partners to develop the next generation of water sensors and support economic development within the region. Dr. Chen, in collaboration with industry partners A.O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter Inc., and Baker Manufacturing, LLC, have developed the sensors to detect contaminants and heavy metals in water for use by the industry partners. This public-private partnership, supported with grant funds from the National Science Foundation and private industry, will contribute to the $500 billion a year global market for water engineering systems.

Dr. Ilya Avdeev, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Junhong Chen, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Brian Thompson, President of the UWM Research Foundation, have received a $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation to create an Innovation Corps site. The award will allow 90 teams, each consisting of an academic, entrepreneur, and private-sector mentor, to be provided training on technology commercialization. At the end of each training period, teams will determine whether to proceed with technology commercialization—and be connected with resources in order to do so. The project will also involve collaborations with industry and with other educational institutions; Marquette University, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Concordia University will also recruit participants into the program.

Dr. Xavier Siemens, Associate Professor of Physics, will lead a five-year, $14.5 million award from the National Science Foundation to create the NanoGrav Physics Frontier Center. The Center will involve 11 institutions and 60 scientists and students from across the United States and its territories, including two of the most sensitive radio telescopes on Earth: the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The team will search for low-frequency gravitational waves to provide a better picture of the origins of the universe and confirm one of Albert Einstein’s last predictions of the theory of general relativity.

Dr. Ramin Pashaie, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, is the latest UWM recipient of a National Science Foundation Early CAREER award, the agency’s premier grant program for younger researchers.The assistant professor of electrical engineering studies the brain using optics and photonics. His primary tool is optogenetics, a technique that combines optics and molecular genetics. Using mice as a model, he genetically modifies neurons to become sensitive to light. Then he can control and manipulate the cells’ activities by exposing them to light of specific wavelengths.

Pashaie’s five-year, $506,451 grant will fund a project designed to further elucidate the role of brain cells called astrocytes. Scientists have traditionally believed that these cells’ sole purpose is to provide a support network for neurons. However, recent studies have revealed their role in data processing in the brain’s cortex and involvement in the regulation of blood flow. Pashaie proposes a new technology that will selectively manipulate and record activity of neurons and astrocytes during hemodynamic signaling.

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The Center for International Education has received a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships award.Designated a National Resource Center for International/Global Studies, UWM’s Center for International Education will receive $1.7 million to support curricular internationalization, K-16 outreach, and faculty professional development activities over the next four years. It also includes $195,000 per year to support undergraduates’ advanced foreign language studies through academic year and summer intensive study fellowships.

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Academic Affairs has received a $1.48M grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a national Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological advancement (DETA). Diane Reddy, Psychology and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Tanya Joosten, Academic Affairs and Communication, will be co-directors of the DETA Center. Grant partners include UW System, UW-Extension, MATC, and EDUCAUSE.

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The College of Nursing has received a National Institutes of Health award for the project Self-Management Science Center (SMSC) at UWM. This P20 Developmental Research Center grant, funded by National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), is for $1.45 million over five years.

Dr. Rachel Schiffman is the Center’s project director. The first two pilot research projects will be led by Dr. Michelle Polfuss and Dr. Bev Zabler, respectively. The purpose of this program is to support the initial enhancement of research capacity at institutions with emerging research programs. Centers are expected to lead to improved capabilities at institutions with nascent research programs, increase the number of investigators involved in interdisciplinary research of importance to NINR, and foster larger-scale research projects capable of competing for higher levels of support.

Dr. Michelle Bolduc, Associate Professor of French, recently received a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations award for the project Rendez-vous with Rhetoric: New Translations and Commentary on the Writings of Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project supports the preparation of 25 articles for publication from the New Rhetoric Project of Chaïm Perelman (1916-1984) and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca (1926-1994). These articles will be translated from French to English and annotated, then disseminated in both a print volume and an open-access Web site.

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Dr. Junhong Chen, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and industry partners from A.O. Smith, Badger Meter, and NanoAffix Science LLC, have been awarded a National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation award for $800,000. The project, Enabling Low-cost, Real-time Monitoring of Heavy Metal Ions in Drinking Water, focuses on the translation and transfer of a low-cost and real-time heavy metal ion detection technology derived from industry/university research collaborations.

Dr. Nicolas Russell, Assistant Professor of French, recently received an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations for the project Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron: A New Translation and Critical Edition. Dr. Russell and his collaborator, Dr. Mary McKinley of the University of Virginia, will support the print and e-book publication of a critical edition and translation into English of the Heptameron, a 16th-century French text by Marguerite de Navarre.

Distinguished Professorships

UWM Distinguished Professors have a significant impact on their fields of study. With remarkable productivity, international reputations, and glowing testimonials from peers, UWM Distinguished Professors continue to make significant scholarly contributions to their disciplines. Of the 47 professors who have achieved this status since 1973, 25 remain on the faculty, continuing their leadership role at UWM. The Office of Research also maintains information on the selection, roles, and responsibilities of UWM Distinguished Professors, and the Historical List of Distinguished Professors.

Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories

UWM is home to more than 100 centers, institutes, and laboratories. These entities conduct research and scholarship, programs, and outreach in order to contribute to the scientific, cultural, educational, and economic conditions of the campus, region, and globe. These centers, institutes, and laboratories generate millions of dollars of extramural research awards each year in order to advance the mission of each entity and the University.

The Research Growth Initiative® (RGI)

The Research Growth Initiative® is a competitive internal seed program that supports high-quality research projects in the early stages. The program’s objective is to increase UWM’s research productivity, scholarship, creative endeavors, collaborative projects, and external funding by investing in projects selected through an independent and objective process.

Research and Creative Activities Support Awards (RACAS)

The RACAS award (formerly known as the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Support Award [FRACAS]) provides competitive support for faculty and instructional and research academic staff across the breadth of meritorious scholarship at UWM. Supported projects are expected to result in appropriate scholarly products that will increase the national and international recognition of the awardees, their programs, and the institution.