SD Researchers Receive NSF EPSCoR Track 4 Awards

Posted on: January 14, 2020   |   Categories: Announcements, News & Updates
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Two faculty researchers from South Dakota were recently selected to receive EPSCoR RII Track 4 awards from NSF.

Dr. Bret Lingwall, an Assistant Professor in the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, received a $242,123 award for his research entitled: Form Finding and Optimization of the Structural Foundations of Mega-Flora. Dr. Lingwall specializes in the areas of geotechnical, bio-geotechnical and earthquake engineering. He joined SD Mines in 2015. He has a PhD from the University of Utah and is a Professional Engineer (UT). His current work focuses on bio-geotechnics which includes microbial bio-cements and the foundations of mega-flora. His active research portfolio includes numerical modeling of geologic materials, soil-structure interaction, dams and levees, liquefied soils, seismic hazards analysis, surface fault rupture mitigation, very soft soils, retaining walls, geosynthetics, paving materials, and laterally loaded foundations.

Dr. Wenqin Xu, an Assistant Professor in the University of South Dakota Department of Physics, was awarded $207,462 for his research entitled: Operating High Purity Germanium Detectors in Liquid Scintillator. Dr. Xu earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He studied heavy flavor quarks in heavy ion collisions created at the Brookhaven National Lab and measured the theta13 neutrino mixing angle with the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment. He worked at Los Alamos National Lab and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, focusing on understanding the properties of neutrinos. He joined USD in 2016.

NSF EPSCoR created the RII Track-4 program to provide opportunities for non-tenured investigators to further develop their individual research potential through extended collaborative visits to the nation’s premier private, governmental or academic research centers. Through these visits, the EPSCoR Research Fellows learn new techniques, benefit from access to unique equipment and facilities, and shift their research toward transformative new directions.

The experience gained through the fellowship is intended to provide a foundation for research collaborations that span the recipient’s entire career. These benefits to the Fellows are also expected to in turn enhance the research capacity of their institutions and jurisdictions.