Grant News

Check out these recent articles about grant-funded research and initiatives at Bates from the Bates Communications team!


September 2017

In this issue:

  • Diverse BookFinder Wins National Leadership Grant for Libraries
  • Chair of Digital and Computational Studies Matt Jadud Comes to Bates, Brings NSF Grant Along
  • Nathan Lundblad Selected for Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Bantu Mabaso ’18 Wins Babson College Social Innovation Challenge
  • Federal Budget Update
  • Transferring Biological Research Materials Just Got Easier: An Introduction to the UBMTA

Diverse BookFinder Wins Second Round of IMLS National Leadership Grant

As reported a year ago, Prof. Krista Aronson, Psychology, and Christina Bell, Humanities Librarian, won a Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a Federal grant-making agency. Sparks! Grants are designed to provide early-stage funding to experimental projects that, if successful, may be scaled up through a subsequent National Leadership Grant for Libraries. In this case, the Sparks! Grant enabled the creation of a website and online, searchable database, now dubbed the Diverse BookFinder, which will be going live later in September.

We are pleased to announce that, on the basis of their work to date and a scaled up proposal, IMLS has selected the Diverse BookFinder project for a National Leadership Grant. This grant, which provides $249,760 over the next three years, will enable two major enhancement to the Diverse BookFinder website: First, the development of a collection development tool, through which librarians can upload listings of their picture book collection, and receive an analysis of how it compares to the Diverse Book Collection held at Ladd Library. This tool will enable librarians to more effectively identify gaps and weaknesses in the representations of people of color in their picture book collections and find the books to help remedy those weaknesses. The second enhancement will be search engine optimization, to enhance the discoverability of the website to librarians and lay users (e.g., parents) through the definition of commonly searched colloquial terms and phrases relevant to the project. Following these enhancements, the project team will embark on a program of strategic dissemination directed toward children’s librarians, aided by a project Advisory Council.

Congratulations to Krista, Christina, and all who have aided them in this project along the way!

DCS Chair Matt Jadud Comes to Bates, Brings NSF Grant Along

Matt Jadud has come to Bates from Berea College in Kentucky. His primary role at Bates will be as an Associate Professor and the Chair of our new program in Digital and Computational Studies, and he has quite a bit of constructive work to perform in that role. In addition, though, he is also the PI of an active grant from the National Science Foundation’s “Improving Undergraduate STEM Education” (IUSE) program. The grant, entitled “Collaborative Research: Promoting a Growth Mindset Using Automated Feedback,” provides $81,642 to Matt (and more to colleagues at Virginia Tech and UNC-Charlotte) to develop and evaluate a new strategy for generating automated feedback on programming assignments. Their intent is to provide a more welcoming experience for students, recognizing the effort they put in as they work on solutions, with the goal of promoting what educational researchers call a “growth mindset.” We look forward to implementation of these programming educational strategies and Bates, and more as the DCS program grows and begins to take shape.

Nathan Lundblad Selected for Scientific Advisory Committee

Nathan Lundblad (Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy) has been selected as one of the U.S. scientists to serve on an advisory committee to the Bose-Einstein Condensate Cold Atom Laboratory (BECCAL) experiments being designed by a scientific team from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Over the next year and a half, the Scientific Definition Team or SDT will consult with DLR scientists on experiments to be performed as a follow-up to the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) experiments presently underway on the International Space Station. Nathan’s involvement as one of the principal investigators for the CAL projects helped pave the way for his involvement in BECCAL. U.S. engagement with the BECCAL group has been organized by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). To support Nathan’s participation in the SDT, Bates will receive a grant from JPL for $33,887.

Bantu Mabaso ’18 Wins Babson College Social Innovation Challenge

Bates student Bantu Mabaso, a Politics major and member of the Class of 2018, participated in Babson College’s Social Innovation Challenge in April 2017. Bantu presented on behalf of the Phalala Youth Empowerment for Food Security team, a program that she had founded in her native country of Swaziland with the support of a grant from the Davis Projects for Peace program, coordinated by the Harward Center. As a result, Babson has awarded a further grant of $3,000 to this program, which will be used to implement a poultry raising project to diversify the revenue streams of young farmers in Swaziland. This skills-based education and mentorship initiative has dual goals of empowering youth and combating food shortages brought on by severe drought. By these means, Bantu and her team hope to promote climate-resilient agricultural enterprises. We congratulate her on this recognition and new resources!

Federal Budget Update

In the June issue of this newsletter, we reported on the White House’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018, which included cuts of unprecedented depth to Federal agencies that fund academic research and other programs of interest to Bates. In that report, however, we emphasized that “the power of making appropriations resides in Congress, which often creates budgets that differ significantly from executive requests.” Since then, bills have begun to come out of the House and Senate committees on Appropriations, which in some cases suggest significant improvements over what was proposed by the Executive Branch. During Congress’s August recess, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance has begun to analyze those bills that would fund grant programs that may be relevant to the College. A page has been created on the Bates website at to update the College community on developments impacting funders such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, as well as others. If you have questions regarding a specific agency or program, please let us know, and we will see what we can find out. This webpage will be updated as time permits and more information becomes clear from Washington DC, until a full Appropriations package has passed both houses of Congress and been signed by the President.

Transferring Biological Research Materials Just Got Easier: An Introduction to the UBMTA

As of July 7, 2017, Bates has signed on to the Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) program, which allows non-profit institutions to easily transfer biological materials between researchers. This master agreement, originally developed by the National Institutes of Health, includes more than 600 participating institutions and serves to simplify the administrative process involved with the exchange of biological materials. Researchers at Bates College are reminded to reach out to Sponsored Programs for all incoming and outgoing transfer requests, for review of applicable agreements and preparation for signature by the Dean of the Faculty. In cases where the transfer is being effected between Bates and another UBMTA signatory, we expect fewer delays and less paperwork. For more information about the UBMTA and a list of participating institutions, you can visit the UBMTA website.

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