U-Idaho Receives $557,577 from Competitive Proposals as part of BEACON Science and Technology Center

Tuesday, February 28 2012

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho faculty members in the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST) were awarded $557,477 for the next academic year, as part of the NSF BEACON Science and Technology Center on "Evolution in Action." These funds will support 11 U-Idaho faculty members, seven graduate students and two postdoctoral students for the next academic year.

The faculty members funded were: Larry Forney, James A. Foster, Luke Harmon, Craig McGowen, Bree Rosenblum (affiliate facility), Paul Hohenlohe and Eva Top (in Biological Sciences); Robert Heckendorn and Terence Soule (in Computer Science); Michael O'Rourke (in Philosophy); and David Tank (in Forest Resources).

The Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST) is an interdisciplinary research group at U-Idaho focused on understanding the patterns and processes of evolution that occur over comparatively short periods of time. The hallmarks of IBEST research are the coupling of empirical and theoretical research and a strong orientation toward rigorous testing of hypotheses. We place a high value on interdisciplinary collaborations that blend the expertise of biologists, biochemists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists to examine the underpinnings of evolutionary biology.

The BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action is a five institution consortium that includes U-Idaho, Michigan State University, University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin and North Carolina A&T. BEACON is an NSF Science and Technology Center founded with the mission of illuminating and harnessing the power of evolution in action to advance science and technology and benefit society. Research at BEACON focuses on biological evolution, digital evolution and evolutionary applications in engineering, uniting biologists who study natural evolutionary processes with computer scientists and engineers who are harnessing these processes to solve real-world problems.

Forty-five out of 98 proposals received funding. The proposals were peer reviewed with respect to nine different criteria, including intellectual merit, impact on institutional diversity and educational impact. Funding decisions were made by the BEACON director, Erik Goodman, with the advice of the BEACON External Advisory Board.
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