At this time last year, we launched two new and pivotal programs to enhance research efforts across the university and last week, I had the opportunity to meet with five faculty members who participated in one of the programs, the Early Career Award.

The Early Career Award invests in faculty who are just starting their academic careers at UND. Through a competitive progress, dollars are awarded to young faculty members with research ideas that will help to build strong records of accomplishment – accomplishments that boost their research portfolios, their academic reputations and their opportunities to apply for and secure federal grants. Program funding for Early Career Awards comes from our friends at the UND Alumni Association and Foundation.

It was, without a doubt, the most gratifying and energizing meeting of my week as I listened to award recipients share stories about what they had accomplished in just one short year, and heard about how the program successfully fueled their efforts in their fields of research. The Early Career Award is a program I look forward to funding again in the next academic year.

Two weeks earlier, Grant McGimpsey, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development brought together a second group of talented individuals, a group of faculty members who have been mentoring nine post-doctoral research associates who came to UND, also one year ago, through the Post-Doctoral Funding program. Again, I had the opportunity to stop-by and hear about the fascinating work coming from these individuals.

Like the Early Career Award program, the Post-Doctoral program is helping the university to increase research activity. With the addition of post-doctoral associates, faculty mentors have new capacity to compete for highly competitive grant funding and capacity to convert new funding into impactful results. I am excited about both of these programs, about the results and the stories that are coming from our research labs, and about how these funding programs further contribute to our increasingly vibrant academic culture at UND.

Please join me in recognizing the following recipients of the inaugural Early Career Award program and the faculty mentors and their post-doctoral research associates who received funding through the Post-Doctoral Funding program.

Early Career Award Recipients, 2016-2017
Dr. Kouhyar Tavakolian, Professor, Electrical Engineering
Dr. Feng (Frank) Xiao, Professor, Civil Engineering
Dr. Sarah Robinson, Professor, Communication Science & Disorders
Dr. Sheila Liming, Professor, English
Dr. Ashley N. Hutchison, Professor, Counselling

Post-Doctoral Mentors, 2016-2018, with Post-Doctoral Associates
Dr. Colin Combs, Biomedical Sciences with Harpreet Kaur
Dr. Julia Zhao, Chemistry with Ying (Kate) Zhang
Dr. Frank Xiao, Civil Engineering with Alemayehu Bedane
Dr. Jyotika Sharma, Biomedical Sciences with Atul Sharma
Dr. Turk Rhen, Biology with Patrick Tamukong
Dr. Minou Rabiei, Petroleum Engineering with Behzad Tokhmechi
Dr. Nuri Oncel, Physics and Astrophysics with Soumya Banerjee
Dr. Junguk Hur, Biomedical Sciences with Kai Guo
Dr. Archana Dhasarathy, Biomedical Sciences with Janani Kumar