University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The College of Engineering is recognizing its 26 most accomplished, first-year, doctoral students with the distinction of Dean’s Fellows for 2018-19, a program which rewards entering Ph.D. students with financial support, academic acknowledgement, and career-making research opportunities. Since enrolling here last September, these diverse students have shown unlimited potential, as demonstrated by their impressive range of backgrounds.

See the complete list of Dean’s Fellows with bios »

Inside UMass reports that three research projects at UMass Amherst, all awarded to engineering researchers, are among 13 at colleges and universities across the state sharing $195,000 in seed funding from the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) Acorn Innovation Fund. The seed grants are for $15,000 apiece. See entire article: Faculty Receive Seed Funding as Part of MTTC Acorn Innovation Fund.

Professor Sanjay Arwade of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is a co-principal investigator on a multi-disciplinary, inter-institutional team of engineers, scientists, and social scientists that last August was awarded a $100,000 NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant to identify with industry partners the key priorities for offshore wind research. As the abstract for the NSF award explains the vast potential for offshore wind energy (OWE), “The U.S. OWE resource is enormous and could provide 10 to 20 times the national need for electricity.”

Inside UMass reports that three members of the College of Engineering faculty have contributed to a seminal white paper issued by the Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Research (POWER-US). The report (“Reaching Convergence in U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Research: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Innovation”) concludes that the U.S. can tap into a vast offshore wind energy resource and better steward its marine environment by organizing large-scale research and fostering public-private partnerships.

See entire report »

Researchers from the UMass College of Engineering and the University of Waterloo in Canada won the outstanding paper award at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 15. The winning paper describes their research into virtual-reality headsets to simulate and measure drivers’ hazard-anticipation performance. As the authors say, such research is desirable because virtual headsets are “several orders of magnitude less expensive” than other simulators and “could greatly extend the powers of simulation.

Michael Knodler Jr., a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the director of the UMass Transportation Center, has been selected to receive a UMass Public Engagement Project (PEP) Fellowship for the coming year. “It is with great pleasure that I write to you on behalf of the PEP program to offer you a Spring 2019 Faculty Fellowship,” wrote Dr. Lisa M. Troy, the director of the PEP Fellowship Program and director of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. “This award is a strong expression of our organization's confidence in your potential to reach broader publics with your research.”

The UMass Amherst Office of News and Media Relations has produced a new video about the research of Assistant Professor Emily Kumpel from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Kumpel works on strategies to make drinking water safe for the billion people worldwide who have only an intermittent water supply.

Watch Video: Kumpel Discusses Strategies for Engineering Safe Drinking Water Systems

Forbes magazine, which had previously profiled Ph.D. student Julie Bliss Mullen from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in a feature story last June, has now named her in the magazine’s all-star listing of “30 Under 30 for Science” in 2018. Bliss is the co-founder and CEO of Aclarity, a company she has started as a CEE doctoral student. Aclarity produces a device which uses low levels of electricity to purify and disinfect water, and even to remove metals, without filters or chemicals. The technology is based on her research at UMass Amherst. See Forbes for entire list.

A feature story in Science News looks at the water testing laboratory at UMass Amherst run by David A. Reckhow, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and his staff. The Reckhow facility offers room for researchers and communities to test out new methods of water treatment. The story also notes that Reckhow and his team have a new Mobile Water Innovation Laboratory that can be used to visit communities and do testing on site.

“Is there a difference between a rotary and a roundabout?” Boston Globe correspondent Morgan Hughes asked a very New-England-centric question in a recent edition of the Globe. “Transportation experts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have the answer.” Yes, the UMass Transportation Center has launched a series of informational videos that explore a range of issues often questioned by the driving public. The series is made up of short, five- to 10-minute videos released monthly and hosted by staff from the center.

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