The University of Hawaiʻi System has received more than $427 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) over a 10-year period from fiscal year 2012 through 2021 for cutting-edge research in a variety of fields. On August 30, NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan visited UH Mānoa to learn more about the world-class research conducted by faculty, students and staff.
Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer, and the 15th director of NSF, a $8.8 billion independent federal agency and the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education.
“The National Science Foundation essentially is responsible for unleashing great ideas and talent all across our nation, and in the state of Hawaiʻi, there is tremendous talent and ideas,” said Panchanathan. “There is also amazing context. If you look at the domain of sustainability, or if you want to understand climate and oceanography, and understanding astronomy, here is a place that is a living laboratory. …The University of Hawaiʻi and other institutions in the islands are doing a fantastic job.”
In FY 2021, UH was among the top 50 institutions receiving the most funding from NSF, ranking higher than Harvard University and Duke University.
“We are grateful that the National Science Foundation awards an average of more than $42 million annually to UH research projects over the past 10 years. This is a testament to the high quality of research being conducted throughout the UH System by our world-class faculty, students and staff,” said Vassilis L. Syrmos, UH vice president for research and innovation.
UH hosted Panchanathan’s visit at C-MORE Hale on the Mānoa campus. Several faculty members presented their NSF-funded research:
- Marine Sciences at UH, Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education—Professor David Karl, UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST)
- Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series—Professor Angelicque White, SOEST
- Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)/Change Hawaiʻi: Harnessing the Data Revolution for Island Resilience—Hawaiʻi EPSCoR Director Gwen Jacobs and Professor Jason Leigh, director of the UH Mānoa Laboratory for Advanced Visualizations and Applications
- NSF CAREER: Soil Pedogenesis, Agroecology, and Their Interactions—Assistant Professor Noa Lincoln, UH Mānoa Indigenous Crops and Cropping Systems
- Ola I Ka ʻAina: Reviving Ecosystems Utilizing Science, Math and Indigenous Knowledge—Associate Professor Esther Widiasih, UH West Oʻahu Mathematics, Natural and Health Sciences
- Hoʻomalu Haleleʻa: Community-led Innovation for Integrated Flood Resilience—Associate Professor Mehana Vaughan, UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
—By Marc Arakaki