February 2023



Research and Creativity Week 2023: Show Up and be Seen


Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Strategic Initiatives

“There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity. . . It's not about winning, it's not about losing, it's about showing up and being seen.” Brené Brown

The fourth NMSU Research and Creativity Week (#NMSURCW2023) will take place two weeks from today, February 20st - 25th. Organized by the University Research Council with support of Graduate Student Council, Graduate School, Honors College, Music Department, and others, this year promises rich, diverse, comprehensive programing to include:

  • Keynote speaker, Dr. Jessica Hernandez (Binnizá & Maya Ch’orti’), "Honoring our First Science: Indigenous Science"
    Keynote speaker, Dr. Grant Douglas, CSIRO Australia, “EUREECA technology for capture and containment of radionuclides from contaminated waters”
  • Faculty plenary speaker, Professor Sherwin Lau, Creative Media
  • Talks by University Research Council awardees for research and creativity excellence
  • Faculty, student and staff presentations and posters
  • Five musical performances at Atkinson Recital Hall
  • Poetry Night at Grounded Coffee Shop
  • Postdoc Symposium
  • Data Science Symposium
  • 3rd International Food Research Workshop in the Chihuahua Desert Region of North America
  • NMSU Centers and Institutes Day
  • Three-minute thesis” 2023 competition

Our research and creativity enterprise is a community and, as such, we share common values, creation and dissemination of knowledge and art. To that end, an audience is a necessary, but not sufficient aspect of dissemination. Who is in the audience matters.

I recall my first talk as a PhD student at a professional meeting, the 1985 Estuarine Research Federation conference in Durham, NH. Impeccably dressed, well-practiced, and petrified. If not for the many practice sessions with and feedback from fellow graduate students and my advisor, I would not have been properly prepared. If not for the friendly, trustworthy presence of fellow graduate students and my advisor in the conference room, I would have succumbed to a “flight-or-fight” response. If not for having been seen by Dr. Elba Escobar Briones, marine scientist from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, a decades-long collaboration would not have materialized.

NMSU Research and Creativity Week is an annual opportunity to celebrate research, scholarship and creative activity. It is an opportunity to show up and be seen displaying your new knowledge and creative products. It is an opportunity to trial run a presentation or poster. It is an opportunity to support and mentor your students and junior colleagues. It is an opportunity to learn more about our research and creativity enterprise and to make key connections that could lead to fruitful teamwork. Finally, it is an opportunity for all of us demonstrate we value and prioritize research and creativity on our campus.

Please peruse 2023 NMSU Research and Creativity Week schedule and commit to attending two daytime events and one of the evening creative events. Show up and be seen.




Get to Know the State Technology Enhancement Fund


By Dr. Tanner Schaub, Director, Reseach Cores Program

Recently, NMSU faculty and administrators may have heard about the Technology Enhancement Fund (TEF), a state-level matching funds program for cost-share and equipment needs at New Mexico’s research institutions. Here, we provide essential information on TEF and steps taken by the RCSI office to position NMSU for this opportunity.

Background: The TEF was championed by Senator Bill Soules, originally as two ideas: 1) a pool of state funds for cost-share matching on federal grants and 2) a pool of state funds to support the purchase of research equipment. The TEF was formed and funded with a $45 million appropriation for FY23, of which $20 million has been authorized to the Higher Education Department (HED) for distribution, thus far.

Program Description: The TEF provides matching funds (not funding) to be paired with non-state grants and contracts (G&C) at a minimum 1:1 match requirement for research projects and equipment purchases. (The G&C portion can be larger, but not smaller than the state funds portion.) The TEF emphasizes return on investment and requires project alignment with its review criteria, which include:

  • Advancing or transforming the frontiers of knowledge
  • Positive impact on economic and workforce development in New Mexico
  • Positive impact on underserved populations
  • Sustainability and resilience in New Mexico
  • Technology sharing plan between institutions for instrumentation grants
  • Potential for broad impact and partnerships across NM institutions

Status: The RCSI office is working with the Associate Deans of Research to identify NMSU projects with an appropriate scope and available matching funds. Over $10 million in NMSU TEF requests (backed by over $25 million in non-state G&C funds) are currently under consideration. Faculty interested in applying for the TEF should consult their Associate Dean of Research for initial approval and contact RCSI for application information. The NMSU Council of Associate Deans for Research (CADRe) will prioritize the list of TEF requests and submit it to Chancellor Arvizu. The Chancellor-approved list will be forwarded to the TEF review committee in February.

The TEF review committee comprises the Vice Presidents for Research from NMSU, NM Tech, and UNM, one representative from each institution's technology transfer office, and several appointees from the NM Higher Education Department. At present, the final details and timing of the review process are being worked out at the state level. Based on our most recent information, it appears that TEF funds will be committed in several tranches and the review process will evolve to accommodate the timing of state-level actions.

We thank Senator Soules, the NMSU government relations office, and particularly Clayton Abbey, for their hard work on behalf of NMSU research. We thank participating faculty for their efforts and patience as we await further progress from Santa Fe. For questions, contact me at tschaub@nmsu.edu or (575) 646-5156. 






Recognizing Large Proposal Submitters (January 2023)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Congratulations to Drs. Boris Kiefer and Erik Yukl for each submitting a proposal in excess of a million dollars in value in January.

Professor of physics Dr. Boris Kiefer submitted a $6 million proposal to NSF EPSCoR program. The proposal aims to develop sustainable technologies for combatting climate change, especially in often disadvantaged rural communities. However, as Dr. Kiefer explains community resilience to climate change has been hampered by “an imbalance in climate critical technology readiness, its accessibility and community responsiveness,” thus the need for a “community centric climate action program to successfully combat climate change and its consequences, in our state, our nation, and around the world.” To address this need, Dr. Kiefer’s proposal aims to leverage capabilities in three EPSCoR jurisdictions--New Mexico, Alabama, and Iowa, to develop a transformative climate education and research infrastructure. This effort involves partnerships between universities, communities, national laboratories, and industry in these three regions and is planning to expand minority and early-career project participation in STEM research and economic development.

For more information, please contact Dr. Kiefer at bkiefer@nmsu.edu.





Dr. Boris Kiefer, NMSU

Dr. Erik Yukl, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, submitted a $1.5 million proposal to the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Yukl’s research includes studying how bacteria acquire transition metals such as iron, copper, manganese, and zinc from the environment to perform essential biological functions such as respiration, photosynthesis, and DNA synthesis. Dr. Yukl’s research has important applications in human health, specifically in developing antibiotics against resistant bacteria. This proposal aims at extending Dr. Yukl’s research for five years which will have impact on treating bacterial infections.

For more information please contact Dr. Yukl at etyukl@nmsu.edu.




Dr. Erik Yukl, NMSU

Dryad, An Easy Way to Store and Share Your Research Data


By Ms. Susan E. Beck, Professor and Scholarly Communications/OER Librarian 

NMSU researchers in search of a repository for their data need look no further than Dryad. Dryad is a non-profit data repository offering both institutional members and individual researchers a secure location for research data storage. NMSU is now a Dryad member and NMSU researchers can deposit their data in Dryad. This is especially important for researchers with data sets that do not fit in any of the federal or subject repositories (see lists here).

Dryad offers several benefits. The non-profit works in partnership with major journal publishers, making manuscript submission easy. Dryad is fully compliant with funders' data access and sharing mandates. It provides metrics to track how individual data is viewed, shared, cited, and downloaded. It has an option to upload code, scripts, and software. These can be automatically sent to Zenodo. Dryad reviews all data submitted for both data and metadata integrity. Finally, Dryad preserves researchers’ data in a Core Trust Seal-Certified repository.

For more information about uploading your data to Dryad, see the Data Management & Planning Guide at https://nmsu.libguides.com/dmps or contact me at  susabeck@nmsu.edu or Dr. Tanner Schaub at tschaub@nmsu.edu.






Faculty Highlight: Integration of Research and Education in Civil Engineering


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

We value the scholarly activities of all NMSU faculty and staff, in particular those who contribute to the research mission of the university. Such contributions are regularly recognized when faculty submit large proposals or garner external awards; however, monitory value is not the only measure of research excellence. NMSU faculty regularly develop innovative approaches that often lead to strengthening our research capabilities, or contribute to research scholarships, efforts that we wish to highlight in the Research Digest.

An NMSU faculty whose scholarly innovations need to be recognized is Dr. Doeun Choe, an early career faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering. Doeun’s research interests include artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning, which is an extension of her main expert area of probabilistic modeling in Civil Engineering. As she explains, her long-term research goal is to advance knowledge on uncertainty, risk, and reliability within human-built environments and to enhance the resilience of our structures such as buildings, bridges, and other facilities that support the human’s basic and critical needs. “AI is another tool just like mathematics for engineers. It will contribute to improving knowledge within many engineering fields, especially those we couldn’t solve with our traditional tool, mathematics.” She states. “However, it is also very important that we understand and use this new tool, AI, properly.”

Teaching various topics in her area, Dr. Choe has recognized that there are gaps between students’ coursework and their research experiences. Her vision is to address this gap in the courses she offers, namely a two-semester course series that she teaches in her department, AI for Civil Engineers I: Machine Learning (CE 498/596 Undergraduate & Graduate Special Topics)  & AI for Civil Engineers II: Deep Learning (CE 596: Graduate Special Topics).  In Fall 2022, she offered AI for Civil Engineers I: Machine Learning (ML) and is currently continuing Deep Learning (AIDL) in Spring 2023. The AIML course aims to introduce broad Civil Engineering problems in various areas such as structures, materials, environmental engineering, and geotechnical engineering. Doeun’s goal for this semester was for each student to apply Artificial Intelligence learned during the course to their own scientific interest areas.

To achieve this goal, she dedicated ¾ of the course to lectures helping students learn ML tools/skills, while devoting ¼ of the course to application of ML to students’ own areas that allows students to conduct their individual research projects using the course material, which she compares to a Design Studio course. This course has so far resulted in ten high quality student research posters that were exhibited last month (January) in Hernandez Hall.

As Dr. Choe reports, the outcome of this activities include:

  • being able to identify appropriate data analysis methods for various civil engineering problems
  • being able to perform various ML analyses using Matlab/Python to solve Civil Engineering problems, and
  • being able to find an appropriate ML method and apply them for the research problems within the students' domain.

For more information please contact Dr. Choe at dchoe@nmsu.edu .






Dr. Doeun Choe, NMSU

Pathway to Space Teachers Learn How to Use CubeSats


By Dr. Paulo Oemig, Director, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium

On January 20 and 21, a cohort of New Mexico teachers participating in the Pathway to Space pilot project were trained to program sensors and build CubeSats. The Pathway to Space is a collaboration between 21st Century Academic Enrichment Programs (21stCAEP) and the NM Space Grant Consortium. Teachers are implementing space-related themes with their students and learning about space entrepreneurship, careers in the space industry, studying the properties of simulated regolith to grow plants, and rocketry.

Teachers practiced soldering, learned programming Arduino microcontrollers, set up sensors such as accelerometers, photosensors, real time clocks, and temperature/pressure sensors and integrated them into a CubeSat form-factor. This semester teachers are working with middle and high school students teams to propose ideas for experiments. Students’ payloads will be flown on a drone to test their experiments and collect baseline data.

For more information please send email to poemig@nmsu.edu





Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services maintains a list of limited submission funding opportunities for NMSU research community.  The list is accessible through a link on the Research website,  through the Research Administration tab. NMSU users can also access the list directly on SharePoint.  We encourage NMSU researchers to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to ras@nmsu.edu. 


Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the RCSI has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot available at https://pivot.proquest.com/session/login.  

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

Click on the Sign up link.DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT!
Choose New Mexico State University from the Institution drop down menu.
You will be prompted to log in using your NMSU username and password.
Follow the process for NMSU's 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to hamid@nmsu.edu



Graduate School

No significant news. For information about NMSU Graduate School visit: https://gradschool.nmsu.edu/.


Questions and comments regarding NMSU’s Research Digest should be directed to Hamid Mansouri Rad, Ph.D. at  hamid@nmsu.edu, (575) 646-6429.