SD EPSCoR Track-1 Planning

South Dakota EPSCoR is conducting meetings to initiate planning for South Dakota’s next NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 proposal.

Objectives are to aid in the reduction of carbon utilization of the state’s agriculture and related sectors through advances in research and artificial intelligence; strengthening the STEM workforce and industrial base; educational and outreach activities within our institutions of higher education, business, rural and tribal communities.

Status Update

A series of meetings have initiated open discussions for both the science and education/workforce areas for the next EPSCoR Track-1 proposal.

On the research side, the precise scientific project is still coming together, but will focus on a better understanding the parameters of the carbon cycle and/or greenhouse gas production in both crop production and beef/bison feedlot operations. Management practices to minimize carbon use and greenhouse gas production will be developed. Additionally, a white paper is being developed on new, low-energy methods for ammonia production. As well, one is being developed on the socio-economic aspects of these practices on South Dakota producers and other communities. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will play a significant role in most of the projects proposed. 

White paper reviews are now completed (by Friday,  Feb. 24). We are currently narrowing down the specific hypotheses(s) to be tested. There will be a public presentation of these initiatives within the next 2-3 weeks. Opportunities to participate will be made at that time.

On the education side, we have had a kickoff meeting and discussed what the current award is doing and brainstormed about other ideas that could be included in the next proposal. Our last meeting was Friday, March 10, where we discussed what the major programs within the next Track-1 will be. Please view the agenda. We have narrowed our focus to developing a few thrusts within the educational and workforce development area. Ben Sayler has agreed to serve as Education Lead, with the leader for each of the areas being listed below. If you have any ideas or want to be part of these planning efforts, please contact Ben or that specific leader. A tentative deadline for the first draft for Section 4.4 and the relevant section of the strategic plan is May 1, 2023.

Education Lead: Ben Sayler

  • STEM for Blind, Visually Impaired, Deaf Students: Jon Mitchell
  • K12 STEM Teacher Leaders: Kim Webber
  • TCUs: STEM Summer Inst. & Other Activities: Dana Gehring
  • Science Communication: Rhea Waldman

If you did not attend a previous session and wish to be part of upcoming discussions, please complete this form.

Overall Objectives for the EPSCoR Track-1 Proposal:

  • Integration: identify 1-2 thrusts that will integrate well across the other areas; for example, the precision ag discussions should identify 1-2 areas of research that would integrate well into carbon reduction with an AI/ML component.
  • Intellectual Merit: the work is novel, hypothesis-driven, sustainable, and important to South Dakota.
  • Impact: Implementation is likely without major barriers (e.g., technical, economic, regulatory, etc.)
  • Broader Impacts: Activities can be pursued across many SD colleges and universities and of interest to tribal and other underrepresented communities.

Previous Discussions

Previous discussions to identify the scientific/research direction of the next NSF Track-1 proposal follow.

The first kickoff session was Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the SDSU Foundation Jerome J. Lohr Building (815 Medary Ave.) on the SDSU campus in Brookings.

1) Precision Agriculture: Tuesday, Oct 25
2) Carbon Reduction: Thursday, Oct 27
3) Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning: Tuesday, Nov. 1

The most recent meeting for the Education and Workforce Development efforts was Friday, March 10, via Zoom.