Grant News

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


November 2018

 In this issue:

  • QUBES: Math, Biology, and Community (and Carrie Diaz Eaton)
  • RAPID Response Research of a Hurricane’s Aftermath
  • Everything You Wanted to Know about OERs but Were Afraid to Ask

QUBES: Math, Biology, and Community (and Carrie Diaz Eaton)

Multiply a quantity by itself not once but twice and you have calculated its cube. That’s also what you call a 3-dimensional rectilinear shape that is equal in all three of its dimensions. What do you get when you bring together math, biology, and communities of teachers and researchers to figure out how one can improve college students’ learning of the other? You get QUBES, Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis, an NSF-funded collaborative. For now, the intersection of QUBES with Bates is equal to Carrie Diaz Eaton, who has come to Bates from Unity College as an Associate Professor of Digital and Computational Studies. Carrie’s role in the overall project is as Director of the QUBES Consortium, and in the coming months she will be kicking off a new QUBES Fellows program. To support Carrie’s role in the overall project, Bates has a received a subgrant of $105K from the College of William and Mary, from which she will be hiring student assistants and a part-time project coordinator. We look forward to learning more in the coming months from her about how QUBES is impacting education in math, biology, and related disciplines at Bates and elsewhere. For more information about QUBES, visit

RAPID Response Research of a Hurricane’s Aftermath

When natural and social scientists want to study swiftly changing phenomena, the lengthy process of peer review goes from being a sometimes aggravating necessity to an absolute barrier to timely, appropriate research. How, then, does an agency like the National Science Foundation, which prides itself upon the independence and rigor of its peer review process, also support research of natural disasters, social upheavals, and other events where time is of the essence? To address this conundrum, the NSF established an award mechanism called “RAPID”. To apply for a RAPID grant, a scientist must first reach out to an NSF program officer in an appropriate disciplinary area and secure an invitation to submit. Once invited, the scientist’s institution submits a comparatively brief proposal (RAPID project descriptions are limited to 5 pages, as compared to NSF’s usual 15 page limit), and the grant can be approved with internal review only. It does not completely do away with red tape—this is a Federal agency, after all—but cuts it to the minimum level possible.

Before he decided to apply to become Bates’ new Dean of the Faculty, one such scientist was Malcolm Hill, then at University of Richmond, in response to Hurricane Irma, which had blown through the Florida Keys, impacting the sponge communities he was studying. His RAPID grant was approved, and the research got started, but his change of roles and institutions means it has not been completed quite so rapidly as first was expected. Therefore, NSF has approved the transfer of just over $24K in funds remaining from the UofR to Bates to support the completion of the research. These funds will support a combination of laboratory analysis and field research (in the Florida Keys) over the summer by a guest student from UofR who is continuing her role in the project, and one or two Bates students preparing for Senior Thesis.

For more information about RAPID grants, you can consult the relevant portion of NSF’s Proposal and Award Policies & Procedures Guide, talk to Sponsored Programs staff at Bates, or reach out to an appropriate NSF program officer.

Everything You Wanted to Know about OERs but Were Afraid to Ask

The Davis Educational Foundation awarded Bates a $2,500 Presidential Grant to host a one day workshop to promote awareness about Open Educational Resources (OER) and to engage professionals in OER creation and adoption. The Office of the Dean of the Faculty is also helping to support this workshop. Held on April 26th on the Bates College Campus, the workshop will be open to faculty or administrators from college and universities in Maine and the NESCAC. Marilyn Billings (Bates ’75), will give the keynote address. She is the scholarly communication and special initiatives librarian at UMass Amherst, coordinator of the Open Education Initiative (OEI) launched in 2011, and a leader in finding alternatives to high cost textbooks and the use of open educational resources. Karen Cangialosi will also discuss her involvement in Open Education at Keene State College (New Hampshire). Participants will create a shared database of existing OER’s and identify areas for growth. They will also hear from several faculty about their experience with creating an OER and using it in class. The ultimate goal of the day is to raise awareness and seed a conversation about how to address the issue of textbook affordability for students. If you have any questions, please contact Krystie Wilfong or Margaret Imber.

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