2010 S&T Fund Awards

Professor Brian Levine – UMass Amherst – Commonwealth Center for Digital Forensics and Society. This project advances a unique partnership between leading computer science researchers and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory to develop, refine and promulgate digital forensics tools for criminal investigations. Current efforts focus on software which enables law enforcement to legally and effectively observe and search open peer-to-peer networks on the Internet and gather evidence of criminal possession and sharing of images. The software is used in 45 states and is a key element of a national strategy for preventing child exploitation, recently announced by the U.S. Department of Justice. Requested funds will enable the team to refine existing tools, develop and execute an expanded research agenda and formally establish the center. Amount awarded: $105,000.

Professor Robyn Hannigan – UMass Boston – Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security. Funds will be used to launch a new institute that explores science and policy issues related to oceans, climate and regional/national security. An initial core focus area on food security and ocean acidification is planned for the first year of the program. The institute will also place an emphasis on research on coastal regions, advancing technology development on coastal environmental sensing technologies and utilizing a recently-established environmental research instrumentation facility. Amount awarded: $100,000.

Professor Hong Liu – UMass Dartmouth – Consortium on Anytime-Anywhere-Anyway Transportation. This project will support the further development of a multi-investigator consortium which is building and integrating tools for an information infrastructure system applied to transportation. The research program emphasizes three broad technical areas: 1) deployment of sensing/communications networks will help enhance infrastructure monitoring of the transportation system, 2) information analysis, retrieval and distribution technologies will allow internet-enabled transmission of real-time status information, 3) decision support systems will provide transportation system managers with a platform for more effective resource allocation. Operational partnerships have been established with transportation agencies in Massachusetts and Maine. Amount awarded: $100,000.

Professor Christopher Niezrecki – UMass Lowell – Wind and Clean Energy Science and Technology Initiative. The initiative will establish a Wind Turbine Research Group, bringing together existing campus capabilities in nanomaterials and composites, structural dynamics, manufacturing, renewable energy and workforce development. The effort provides strong synergies with other UMass System expertise in wind energy and existing Commonwealth efforts. Group has begun extensive outreach to key stakeholders and potential sponsors with a long-term goal of securing center-level funding. Immediate objectives include a regional wind turbine technology workshop and development of a blade testing rig to support the research program. Amount awarded: $110,000.

Dr. Tom Houston – UMass Medical School – Tagging Clinical Notes to Share Information for Clinical and Translational Sciences. The project is a partnership between health informatics at UMMS computer science/information retrieval at Amherst to develop cutting-edge tools which will address both local and national challenges for clinical and translational science. The investigators will build and deploy a keyword tagging system for patient records (not unlike those used in social networking media) which can be fully integrated with patient genotype data. This system will work in concert with natural language processing tools, which represent a current priority for NIH’s clinical and translational science program, but are generally regarded as insufficient for fully addressing the challenge to building a robust and minable patient information system. The system will be built on a common software/data warehouse platform (being developed by Partners HealthCare under NIH support), which has already been adopted as the standard by the UMass and many other NIH-funded university clinical and translation science research centers. Amount awarded: $113,408.