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Saturday, November 22, 2014

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University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website,, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit

"Green Revolution" Changes Breathing of the Biosphere

November 21, 2014

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845

Computer model links stronger seasonal oscillations in carbon dioxide to intensive agriculture

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The intense farming practices of the "Green Revolution" are powerful enough to alter Earth's atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, boosting the seasonal amplitude in atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 15 percent over the past five decades.

The trend line of atmospheric carbon dioxide readings in Barrow, Alaska from 2003 to 2012 is superimposed on an artist’s rendering of intensive farming in the Corn Belt of the Midwestern United States. Credit: Fang Zhao and Ning Zeng/ShutterstockThat's the surprising finding of a new atmospheric model developed by University of Maryland researchers, which estimates that on average, the amplitude of the seasonal oscillation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of 0.3 percent every year. A study based on the results of the model, called VEGAS, was published Nov. 20, 2014 in the journal Nature.

"What we are seeing is the effect of the Green Revolution on Earth's metabolism," said UMD Atmospheric and Ocean Science Professor Ning Zeng, the lead developer of VEGAS, a terrestrial carbon cycle model that, for the first time, factors in changes in 20th and 21st century farming practices. "Changes in the way we manage the land can literally alter the breathing of the biosphere."

According to Zeng, this seasonal impact of modern agriculture is carbon neutral in terms of climate change. However, the huge amount of carbon that is alternately sequestered and then released by crop production, points to the potential of agricultural practices that would capture and store carbon long-term to reduce the rise in atmospheric carbon.

One current example, he says, is no-till farming -- which has been steadily increasing in the U.S., but has barely caught on in Europe, Africa or Asia. This practice results in a small part of the carbon stored in the crop biomass being incorporated permanently into the soil over time. If applied world-wide to crop land already in production, no-till farming could potentially pull a significant amount of carbon out of the atmosphere, Zeng says. Another approach to biocarbon sequestration that Zeng has been studying in recent years is the growing, harvesting and long-term storage of trees.

Scientists have known since the 1950s that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit an annual low during late summer and early fall in the Northern Hemisphere, which has a greater continental landmass than the Southern Hemisphere, and therefore has more plant life. The atmosphere's carbon dioxide level falls in spring and summer as all the hemisphere's plants reach their maximum growth, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. In the autumn, when the hemisphere's plants are decomposing and releasing stored carbon, the atmosphere's carbon dioxide levels rapidly increase.

In a set of historic observations taken continuously since 1958 at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory, and later in other places including Barrow, Alaska, researchers have tracked these seasonal peaks and valleys, which clearly show an increase in the atmosphere's overall level of carbon dioxide, Earth's main greenhouse gas. Between 1961 and 2010, the seasonal variation has also become more extreme. Carbon dioxide levels are currently about 6 parts per million higher in the Northern Hemisphere's winter than in summer.

While the forces driving the overall increase in carbon dioxide are well understood, the reasons behind the steepening of the seasonal carbon dioxide cycle are harder to pin down. Because plants breathe in carbon dioxide, higher atmospheric levels of the gas can stimulate plant growth, and this so-called "carbon dioxide fertilization effect" probably plays a role. Climate scientists also point to the warming in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes that makes plants grow better in cold regions as an important factor. But even taken together, those factors cannot fully account for the trend and spatial patterns toward increasing seasonal change, said Zeng.

Zeng points out that between 1961 and 2010, the amount of land planted with major crops grew by 20 percent, but crop production tripled. The combination of factors known as the Green Revolution—improved irrigation, increased use of manufactured fertilizer, and higher-yield strains of corn, wheat, rice and other crops—must have led not only to increased crop productivity, but also to increases in plants' seasonal growth and decay and the amount of carbon dioxide they release to the atmosphere, he reasoned.

UMD graduate student Fang Zhao and other collaborators worked with Zeng, who developed the first of several versions of the VEGAS model in 2000, to add information on worldwide crop production. The researchers combined country-by-country statistics collected yearly by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) with climate data and observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from several sites. To ensure that their results did not overstate the Green Revolution's effect, the researchers ran their model using an estimate of worldwide crop production slightly lower than the FAO statistics.

Once the Green Revolution was factored in, VEGAS' results generally tracked the actual carbon dioxide peaks and valleys recorded at Mauna Loa. Between 1975 and 1985, carbon dioxide levels rose faster at Mauna Loa than they did in the model, but this could be due to regional weather patterns, Zeng said.

Other atmospheric models factor in changes in land use, from natural vegetation to cropland, Zeng said, but the VEGAS results described in Nature are the first to track the effect of changes in the intensity of farming methods. There are still many unknowns. For example, the Green Revolution has not affected all parts of the world equally, and there isn't enough detailed information about changing farming practices over the past 50 years to build those detailed variations into the model.

"We dealt with the unknowns by keeping it simple," said Zeng. "My education was mostly in physics, and physicists are brave about making the simplifying assumptions you have to make to reach a general understanding of some important force. Our goal was simply to represent the intensification of agriculture in a model of the carbon cycle, and we have accomplished that."

In addition to Zeng and Zhao, also supporting this research were UMD researchers Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor in atmospheric and oceanic science and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology; and Ross Salawitch, a professor with appointments in atmospheric and oceanic science, chemistry and biochemistry, and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center.

Cole Field House: Where Tradition Meets Innovation

November 21, 2014

The University of Maryland unveiled the vision for a dynamic academic, research and athletic facility in Cole Field House. The $155 million project will renovate and expand Cole Field House to include the Terrapin Performance Center, the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance and the future home of the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

University of Maryland Breaks Ground for A. James Clark Hall

November 21, 2014

Elise Carbonaro 301-405-6501

New building to serve as hub for human health innovation in the state of Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering today will host the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new A. James Clark Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park. The new building will cultivate transformative new engineering and biomedical technologies to accelerate advancements in human health.

Clark Hall renderingTaking place at 10:00 a.m. on November 21 at the site of the new building in the Paint Branch Parking Lot, adjacent to the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, the event will bring together honored guests, dignitaries, and representatives of the University of Maryland and University System of Maryland to celebrate the impact Clark Hall will have on the advancement of biomedical research.

"Our researchers are hard at work on biomedical projects that are staggering in their potential impact—a cure for multiple sclerosis, a cancer vaccine, a magnetic pain reduction system and many others," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "When complete, this new building will give them the space and facilities to finish the job."

The 184,000-square-foot building will accommodate the Clark School's rapidly growing programs and foster collaboration among the many disciplines involved with human health innovation, from bioengineering and mechanical engineering to biology and information technology. 

"I'm proud that Maryland continues to be a leader in the biotech industry, and the A. James Clark Hall will help us continue to build the skilled workforce we need to remain competitive, support groundbreaking advances in the biomedical and engineering fields, and attract additional economic opportunities," stated Congressman Steny Hoyer. "This world-class facility will not only attract faculty and students, but it will also ensure that the University of Maryland remains at the forefront of engineering and biomedical technologies to advance human health innovation. I look forward to the new opportunities for federal research partnerships and will continue to support significant research advancements at the University of Maryland and throughout our great state."

Clark Hall renderingClark Hall will facilitate world-class research and educational programs, offering state-of-the-art laboratories, student project space, and a new home for the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices. Located within an hour's drive from many of the nation's top bioscience research forces, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Clark Hall will serve as a central hub for new partnerships for organizations throughout the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region.

"This new start-of-the-art facility for bioengineering research and education will attract exceptional faculty and students to Maryland, support leading edge research and education, and benefit the state of Maryland's innovation ecosystem through the creation of new companies and new jobs," said University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan.

While the vision, design, and development of Clark Hall brought together the minds of University of Maryland and Clark School administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as a team of talented architects and builders, the plans could not be executed without the generosity of two benefactors – A. James Clark (B.S. '50) and Dr. Robert E. Fischell (M.S. '53, Honorary Sc.D. '95).

Clark's steadfast commitment to undergraduate education moved him to endow a fund for undergraduate scholarships in 1994, and in 2005, a new A. James Clark Scholarship Fund to provide financial support to undergraduate engineering students based on merit, need, and diversity. In recognition of Clark's philanthropic leadership, the University of Maryland School of Engineering was named the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Inspired by his strong interest in the promise of biosciences and biotechnology, Clark made a generous gift to support the design and construction of A. James Clark Hall, which will be the 27th structure built by Clark Construction on the University of Maryland campus.

"Mr. Clark's contribution to this new building and the University of Maryland is not only a symbol of commitment to his alma mater, but a symbol of his vision for the future of human health," said Darryll Pines, Clark School Dean and Farvardin Professor.

Fischell is the inventor behind major medical breakthroughs, including highly flexible, drug-eluding coronary stents, the first implantable insulin pump, and a magnetic pulse device for treating human pain ranging from migraine headaches to backaches. His latest inventions include the first rechargeable pacemaker for cardiac patients, an implantable device that warns a patient and medical personnel of a heart attack at the very first sign of its start, and a neurostimulator implanted in the skull that can detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain and correct it before a seizure occurs.

In 2005, Fischell and his family helped to establish the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the future Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the University of Maryland, and, most recently, Fischell committed a generous gift toward the establishment of A. James Clark Hall.

"Dr. Fischell's commitment to the commercialization of health innovations has made an enormous impact on society, and the Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices will help our students and faculty to take part in the improvement of human health worldwide," said William Bentley, the Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering.

Slated to open in 2017, Clark Hall was designed by a team of architects at Ballinger and will be developed by Clark Construction Group.

UMD Student Leaders Named National University Innovation Fellows

November 19, 2014

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Fellows' Accomplishments and Vision for Future Featured on White House Blog

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – In celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month and Global Entrepreneurship Week, the University of Maryland (UMD) is proud to announce that three students have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIFs) by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter). Mackenzie Burnett, Jordan Greenwald, and Ashmi Sheth are three of only 65 university students from 45 higher education institutions across the United States to be chosen as fellows this semester, the third semester in a row a UMD student has earned the distinction. They join fellow UMD Innovation Fellows Valerie Sherry, Atin Mittra, and Meenu Singh in the University Innovation Fellows Leadership Circle, a pilot program at select universities with teams of UIFs endorsed directly by their university presidents. 

Mackenzie BurnettThe University Innovation Fellows are a network of student leaders working to create lasting institutional change that will increase student engagement with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation. The program is part of a national movement to help all students gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge required for them to compete in the economy of the future.

The UMD UIF Leadership Circle has already made great strides in expanding UMD’s innovation and entrepreneurship landscape.

The UMD Leadership Circle also hosted the first ever UIF Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup bringing together 40 UIFs from other campuses around the country to UMD and D.C. to discuss creative collisions, which according to UIF Meenu Singh, means infusing “traditional innovation and entrepreneurship tools and methods into a variety of facets of student life.” The energy and creativity of the regional meetup was contagious and each UIF from around the country left UMD with a spark of innovation to implement on their campus.  The recent meetup was even featured in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog for National Entrepreneurship Month.

Ashmi ShethThe UIF program inspires current fellow Jordan Greenwald "because you not only get to interact with innovative students from around the country, but you have the opportunity to learn design thinking and the lean start up model. It’s a great way to see what other universities are doing in the way of entrepreneurship and innovation and connect with students from around the country.” Jordan recently founded a student club, the Entrepreneurship Connector, and is currently focused on building his clothing company. Jordan is implementing the skills learned from this UIF training to his business through customer discovery, experimentation and rapid iteration.

As part of the UIF training, the fellows do an analysis of their campus innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Both Ashmi Sheth and Mackenzie Burnett saw a need to unify those resources and are currently working on how to bring student innovation and entrepreneurship groups together on campus in better and more creative ways.

Jordan GreenwaldUMD prides itself as a pioneer in educating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, ranked as one of the nation's top public schools in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Princeton Review ranked UMD No. 9 among public universities and No. 21 overall for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program. The university was also recognized as No. 1 among public universities and No. 2 overall for tech entrepreneurship by the 2013 StartEngine College Index.

Epicenter is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows program at

Michael R. Poterala Tapped to Lead UMD's Legal Affairs

November 19, 2014

Crystal Brown,

Michael R. PoteralaCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has named Michael R. Poterala as the new Vice President and General Counsel for the university. Poterala joins UMD from North Carolina State University and will officially start at Maryland in January 2015.

“Michael is a rare find,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “He helps clients solve problems without being over-protective, has strong innovative and entrepreneurial instincts, while remaining mindful of the law and risk management. He is a welcome addition to campus.”

"Major public research institutions today operate in a dynamic environment characterized by funding challenges, disruptive technologies, changing metrics and intense competition for federal and industrial support," says Poterala. "I am pleased to be joining the University of Maryland to provide President Loh and everyone at the university with the counsel and support they need to maintain UMD's status as a leader among its peers."

Poterala has served as NC State's Deputy General Counsel since 2011. During his tenure at NC State, Poterala was the lead attorney for the largest sponsored research agreement in the university's history, created a campus-wide organizational compliance program, and facilitated the formation of the Leaders in Nonwovens Commercialization, LLC, an affiliated entity that generated $3.8 million in revenue in its first year of operation. Poterala was also the chair of a panel that advised student-athletes and their families to facilitate a successful transition to a professional sports career.

Previously, he worked for 13 years at Michigan State University in various roles, including associate general counsel, visiting professor of law, assistant vice president for research and graduate studies, and executive director of MSU Technologies. At MSU, Poterala was tasked with revamping the university's tech commercialization operations. He oversaw growing the office, licensing technologies that produced over $16 million in total revenue, and reducing legal expenses. Poterala also represented MSU in the creation of the Big Ten Network.

Prior to academe, Poterala worked in two prominent Detroit law firms for 10 years, representing clients in state and federal courts in a wide variety of civil litigation. Poterala served most notably as the Michigan general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America, which honored him in 1998 for outstanding achievement in investigating and prosecuting film, video and television piracy.

Poterala also served for several years as an elected board member and president of the Northville Public Schools Board of Education in Michigan.

He received his undergraduate degree in finance and law degree from Georgetown University.

UMD Scientist Awarded NIH Grant to Further Lyme Disease Research

November 17, 2014

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

Department of Veterinary Medicine's Dr. Utpal Pal works to eliminate Lyme disease

Dr. Utpal Pal, Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Medicine Image Credit:  Edwin RemsbergCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – With more than 300,000 new cases per year, according to newly revised estimates from the CDC, Lyme disease continues to be a persistent threat to public health in the United States. Yet a vaccine to prevent the often devastating complications of human infection is still unavailable. Dr. Utpal Pal, an associate professor from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland, has been on the front lines in the war against Lyme disease for the last five years and is considered a worldwide leader on the subject. This year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Pal $1.5 million to continue his quest to eradicate Lyme disease.

Pal and his research team first began studying Borrelia burgdorferi -- the bacteria that causes Lyme disease – at the University of Maryland in 2006, and received an initial $1.5 million research grant from the NIH in 2009. Since then, Pal and colleagues have learned a lot about this curious bacteria that can adapt to and survive in a variety of different hosts including deer ticks, mice, dogs and humans, who contract the bacteria from deer ticks.  "Borrelia is so interesting because it doesn't actually produce any toxins that we know of but induces an immune response in the body that causes inflammation," says Pal. "It also looks different inside each host it infects."

Inside his state-of-the-art lab, Pal's team grows Borrelia in test tubes, genetically modifies the pathogen, and uses it to infect ticks at different stages of development to figure out which components of the bacteria help it to survive. Pal is credited with identifying a number of proteins that contribute to Borrelia's robust nature and pinpointing genetic markers that could serve as new targets for diagnosis and prevention of Lyme disease. In this next phase of research, Pal and his team will work to further understand the biology of Borrelia and host responses during infection with the ultimate goal of creating a human vaccine.

Additionally, Pal is interested in developing a rapid, low-cost and reliable point-of-care test for infection. Currently, Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test but the results can take several days and often don't detect the bacteria in low levels at the initial stage of infection. "It's very important to invest time in diagnosis of Lyme disease because the sooner you know you have it, the easier it is to treat," explains Pal. If left untreated, advanced Lyme disease can cause serious complications such as arthritis, facial paralysis and heart palpitations.

A visiting assistant professor from Ondokuz Mayıs University in Turkey, Dr. Ozlem Buyuktanir, recently spent a year in Pal's lab and was able to create a prototype for a diagnostic test which can be executed at a doctor's office within a few minutes using a patient's blood sample. Pal and his collaborators plan to seek industry partners as well as federal funding to further this part of their research.

The most recent grant awarded by NIH will support five more years of Lyme disease research in Pal's lab. Pal and his team are optimistic that their efforts will one day contribute to the development of a vaccine and control the spread of Lyme disease in the United States.

Combined Depression, Substance Abuse Linked to Lower Income

November 13, 2014

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Young adults with co-occurring depression and substance abuse have a higher likelihood of being unemployed and having lower income in midlife than those with neither disorder, according to a study by Dr. Rada K. Dagher and Dr. Kerry M. Green in the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

Dr. Rada K. Dagher "In the United States, co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders impact around nine million people each year, yet these disorders are still generally treated separately," said Dr. Dagher, the study's lead author. "How we treat these dual disorders can have a significant impact on people's ability to earn a livelihood."

This study, published in Psychiatry Research, is the first to investigate the impact of co-occurring depression and substance abuse in young adulthood on socioeconomic status later in life. The researchers utilized data from the Woodlawn Study, which explores risk and protective factors on the path to successful or troubled adulthood in a group of African Americans from the same disadvantaged inner city community in Chicago. The study cohort was recruited when in first grade (in 1966-67) and followed up in adolescence, young adulthood, and midlife. Study authors focused on the sample of young adults (age 32-33) and their socioeconomic outcomes in midlife (age 42-43).

Results showed that 7.1 percent of the population experienced both substance abuse and depression, 8.6 percent had depression without substance abuse, and 11.9 percent had substance abuse without depression. While the study also found that young adults with substance use disorder without depression had a higher likelihood of experiencing periods of unemployment than those with neither disorder, there was no difference in household income between the two.

Clinical interventions that integrate the treatment of both substance abuse and depression have been proven to result in better outcomes among patients with these co-morbidities than traditional interventions that treat each disorder separately.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the primary federal law guaranteeing health coverage for most Americans, is providing new access to mental health and substance abuse benefits for approximately 32 million Americans.

Given that both mental health and substance abuse treatment services are considered essential health benefits under the ACA, there is no financial disincentive for insurance companies to cover integrated treatment of these disorders when they co-occur among patients. Integrated treatment usually combines elements of both substance abuse and mental health treatment into a unified and comprehensive treatment program for patients with comorbid disorders.

The study concludes that "policymakers interested in decreasing socioeconomic disparities could target resources towards interventions aimed to reduce depression and substance abuse comorbidity among minority populations" and that future research on socioeconomic status and mental health "could benefit from studying comorbid mental disorders, rather than focusing on each disorder separately."

UMD Researchers Receive $2.5m Grant to Study Link Between Aid and Conflict

November 12, 2014

Andrew Roberts, 301-405-2171

College Park, MD - Over the past 30 years, conflict between countries has become relatively rare; however intrastate conflict – civil wars, territorial disputes, and insurgencies - remains a persistent global phenomenon. The United States has distributed more than $200 billion in development assistance between 2001-2010, with the vast majority disbursed to conflict-affected states. New research at the University of Maryland seeks to leverage major advances in information, technology and methodology to better understand the relationship between aid and conflict.  The project 'Aiding Resilience? The Impact of Foreign Assistance on the Dynamics of Intrastate Armed Conflict’ has just received a $2.5 million grant from the Minerva Initiative of the U.S. Department of Defense to study the association between development aid and the likelihood, escalation, severity, spread, duration, and recurrence of violence, spanning the phases before, during, and after armed conflict.

The Minerva Initiative is a program to support university-based social science research that was launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008. The goal of the Initiative is to bring together universities, research organizations, and individual scholars to improve the DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape various regions of the world. Because two of the initiative’s key objectives are to develop foundational knowledge about sources of present and future conflict, and to understand the economic contributors to stability, the ‘Aiding Resilience?’ study is of particular interest.

Global Development Aid

“The overarching goal of our project is to establish when and why aid contributes to reduced violence, and when and why it doesn’t,” says Professor Paul Huth, Director of the UMD Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM), Professor of Government & Politics and principal investigator for the study. “Besides the relevance that the findings will have to aid and conflict-related policy decisions, the data resources created through our study will provide information essential to the successful planning and deployment of assistance around the globe.”

Typically, researchers have approached the topic at the country level, studying aid in general terms and narrowly examining specific aspects of conflict. By contrast, Dr. Huth and the other members of the project team are focused on disaggregating existing data and collecting new information to develop a far more comprehensive and holistic view of aid’s impact on conflict. “We are combining expansive aid data with diverse sets of other information, including geospatial data, demographics, history, and so on.”

To support this undertaking, Dr. Huth is supported by a number of researchers at UMD and beyond. “We have intentionally built an interdisciplinary, international team,” says Dr. David Backer, Assistant

 Director of CIDCM and co-principal investigator on the Minerva grant. “Collaborators in multiple countries will be collecting and analyzing data and building tools to help visualize our findings.”

Partners on the project include the College of William & Mary, the Institute of Development Studies (UK), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Switzerland), and Development Gateway – each contributing vital, distinctive expertise to the project. The work based at UMD will be concentrated in CIDCM and the Center for International Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM). Dr. Kevin Jones, a Research Associate at CISSM and also a co-principal investigator on the Minerva grant, highlights the appeal of linking units to work together. “This project capitalizes on two significant research clusters within the university that have world-class expertise on analyzing the underlying dynamics of localized conflict. The combination of the UMD resources with the external partners provides a unique opportunity to move the data-collection and analysis process forward much farther than our respective individual efforts might.”

“These studies are of broad value to conflict and aid researchers, who are limited by the information that is currently available. Beyond its contribution to policy, science and public resources, the grant will support student learning at all levels,” says Dr. Backer. “More than 100 undergraduates and graduate students will contribute to this study, from data collection to analysis, to the creation of new tools.”


November 21
Under Armour founder and alum Kevin Plank to contribute $25 million to launch nation’s preeminent academic, research... Read
November 21
Computer model links stronger seasonal oscillations in carbon dioxide to intensive agriculture. Read
November 21
UMD's Clark School of Engineering will host the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new A. James Clark Hall. The new... Read
November 19
In celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month and Global Entrepreneurship Week, UMD is proud to announce... Read