Feb. 23, 2012 | Research Alert

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Research Prizes and Honors

[Have you or a colleague won a research-related prize or honor? Let the Research Alert know.]

Five Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

Lauren WebbRachel WardLaura ColginMichael WalfishKristen Grauman

Four assistant professors at The University of Texas at Austin have received 2012 Sloan Research Fellowships.

They are, left to right, Kristen Grauman and Michael Walfish in the Department of Computer Science; Laura Colgin in the Section of Neurobiology; Rachel Ward in the Department of Mathematics; and Lauren Webb in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

They will receive $50,000 over two years for the research of their choice. They are among 118 researchers to receive fellowships this year.

Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded every year by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.

Geoscientist Lauded for Drilling Contributions

Jamie Austin Jamie Austin, senior research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics, received a career service award from the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD). The award was presented at the Lisbon Port Call in January.

The award was special recognition from ECORD for three people who have had significant impact on scientific ocean drilling over a long time. The others were Catherine Mevel of the Institute of Earth Physics of Paris and Gerold Wefer of the University of Bremen.

News and Information

Texas Advanced Computing Center to Receive $10 Million in Private Funding

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin has received a commitment of $10 million from the O'Donnell Foundation to advance data-driven science, also called data-enabled or data-intensive science.

TACC, one of the world’s leading supercomputing centers, will use the funding for new data infrastructure to sustain and broaden the university’s leadership in advanced computing and computational science. When completed, these projects will benefit research in dozens of departments and labs at the university, especially in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

Feb. 15, 2012
HEADLINE: Xi Jinping's Visit to Iowa

John Doggett (On CNN Newsroom, John Doggett, senior lecturer in the McCombs School of Business, was asked to which audience Chinese vice president Xi Jinping was playing when he visited the United States.)

PROF. JOHN DOGGETT, University of Texas: Well, it's both for the American audience and also for the Chinese audience, but it's much more for the people back in China. This is an indication that this guy is going to be the next president of China, but more importantly, that he has the strength to be able to deal with the current leaders of the United States.

Biden was in China talking with him for 10 hours earlier. They did reasonably well. And then he's dealt with protesters here in the United States. He seems to be pretty unflappable.

So, yes, there are two markets that he's playing to. The Chinese market is obviously much more important, but the U.S. market is also important to him.

Research Opportunities

Important University Research Deadlines

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The University of Texas at Austin Stimulus Package Web page is online.

Funding Sources

Department of Defense

Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies
Deadline: April 16, 2012

Announcement from FY12 Defense Medical Research and Development Program
Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2012
Deadlines: Not yet available

Butyrylcholinesterase Expression in Plants
Deadline: April 26, 2012

Department of Energy

Research and Development for Next Generation Nuclear Physics Accelerator Facilities
Deadline: March 30, 2012

Reduction of Tropical Cloud and Precipitation Biases in Global High Resolution Models
Deadline: March 30, 2012

Department of the Interior

Social Science Research
Deadline: March 15, 2012


Carbon Monitoring System Program
Deadline: April 20, 2012

National Institutes of Health

NIDCD Research Career Enhancement Award for Established Investigators
Deadline: June 12, 2012

NIMHD Basic and Applied Biomedical Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, May 11, 2012; Application, June 11, 2012

NIMHD Social, Behavioral, Health Services, and Policy Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, May 4, 2012; Application, June 4, 2012

National Institute of Standards and Technology

National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) Pilot Grant Program (PDF)
Deadline: Abbreviated Proposals, March 7, 2012

National Science Foundation

Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions
Deadline: May 10, 2012

GeoPRISMS Program
Deadline: July 2, 2012

Arts, Humanities and Culture

American Folklife Center/Library of Congress
Archie Green Fellowships
Deadline: March 16, 2012

Other Funding Opportunities

John Merck Fund
Developmental Disabilities Translational Research Program
Deadlines: Preliminary Proposals, May 15; Selected Proposals, Sept. 17, 2012

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Public Health Law Research: Making the Case for Laws That Improve Health
Deadline: April 4, 2012

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Postgraduate Research Participation at the St. Louis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Deadline: Applications accepted year-round

Research Project

Beyond the Iambic/Trochaic Law: Perceptual influences on subjective grouping of rhythmic speech

RESEARCHER: Megan Crowhurst, associate professor, Department of Linguistics, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT: $196,999

Megan Crowhurst

Rhythm in human languages is often expressed as repeated pairings of syllables with different emphasis (stress), as in the place name Apalachicola, (A-pa)(LA-chi)(CO-la). Because such binary groupings (feet) recur widely across languages, linguists view them as important building blocks of language prosody.

One very common foot type (a trochee) combines two short syllables with initial emphasis (BA ba), and another common type (an iamb) pairs a short with a following long syllable, (ba baa). Linguists have hypothesized that the evolution of these foot types in language may have been shaped by two principles of auditory perception according to which (i) sound sequences that contrast volume tend to be perceived as loud-initial groupings (trochees), and (ii) sound sequences contrasting duration tend toward long-last groupings (iambs). These principles have been validated in studies that have tested the influence of volume and duration separately, using primarily non-speech sounds (for example, tones).

However, human language is more complex in that intensity (volume) and duration cues generally vary together, not separately. Moreover, other sound features, for example glottalization (laryngeal creakiness), are known to interact with stress groupings in language, although the influence of these cues on subjective grouping has not been tested with human subjects in speech perception studies.

This project takes the next step with a series of speech perception experiments designed to study these issues. First, the influence on subjective grouping of jointly varying intensity and duration will be studied. Parallel experiments will study the influence of varying glottalization both in isolation, and in combination with duration. To study the issue of whether subjective grouping preferences based on the specific features studied are language specific or general, planned experiments will be conducted with native speakers of (Mexican) Spanish and Zapotec in addition to English. This work is expected to advance our understanding of how perceptual features that influence the cognitive activity of grouping may have helped to shape aspects of human language.

The Research Alert is an electronic publication from the Office of the Vice President for Research at The University of Texas at Austin. It includes news of research honors and awards, news of research programs and deadlines, researchers quoted in news media, a listing of funding opportunities and a look at a current research project. It is available by e-mail and on the Web.

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