March 27, 2008

Research Town Meeting & Fair set for April 1

by Tim Crosby


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale will showcase some of its best ongoing research at an event set next week.

The fifth annual Research Town Meeting & Fair is set for Tuesday, April 1, at the Student Center ballrooms. The various events will run from 12:30 to 6 p.m.

The event highlights SIUC researchers and their projects, which make up a crucial portion of the University's mission as a research institution. Organizers will set up information tables where various units will highlight their projects.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Dean will play host at the event. John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school, said the event — attended by almost 500 people last year — provides a forum for discussion of the many University activities that support research on campus, and a means to celebrate success.

"The Research Town Meeting is a great opportunity for researchers from across the campus to learn what faculty in other departments are doing, which can stimulate the kinds of interdisciplinary collaborations that are most effective at solving our society's most challenging problems," Koropchak said. "Nationally, examples of this type include artists and musicians collaborating with electrical engineers and computer scientists, and everything in between.

"We hope that faculty, staff, and students will make plans to participate, join their colleagues, and interact with faculty and students who share their research efforts at this annual event," Koropchak said.

The event will start at 12:30 p.m. with lunch and presentations from several funding agencies addressing their funding priorities, application processes and other questions from researchers. The funding agency guests include Ken Dalenberg, of the Illinois Soybean Association; Brian Humes, of the National Science Foundation's behavioral, social and economic sciences sector; and Carol Van Hartesveldt, of the NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program, who will appear via video conference.

"These sessions all have the aim of increasing awareness of emerging trends and directions of the agencies, as well as assisting faculty to gain practical skills to increase success in their proposal submissions," Koropchak said.

At 2 p.m., researchers will conduct a poster session, demonstrating their research and outlining their findings and implications. Organizers also will provide refreshments.

"We anticipate over 100 posters describing the work of our faculty and students, including those from our NSF CAREER Award winners, University Outstanding Scholar Award recipients, winners from the previous day's Undergraduate Research Symposium, and posters and displays on themes such as energy research and neuroscience," Koropchak said. "Several research centers will also participate through displays and exhibits."

At 4 p.m., the Research Town Meeting will begin with remarks from Don Rice, interim provost and vice chancellor, and an update on research at SIUC by Koropchak, followed by a question-and-answer session with audience members.

The event winds up with a wine and cheese reception, with an SIUC student jazz quartet from the School of Music providing entertainment.

Other sponsors include Black Graduate Student Association, Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, Graduate and Professional Student Council, the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Chi.