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Five research projects awarded through challenge fund

New real-time digital simulator training
Field Application Specialist Michael Toutant, right, of OPAL-RT Technologies trains doctoral students Ujjwol Tamrakar and Fernando Bereta Dos Reis, and Associate Professor Reinaldo Tonkoski of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to use the new real-time digital simulator. The new equipment will allow research to emulate batteries and renewable energy generation and to see how different energy management strategies designed by the research group impact the electricity grid.

Five research projects at South Dakota State University were awarded funds through the SDSU Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Challenge fund for the next fiscal year. The challenge is to support the growth of sponsored research, scholarship and creative activity with a goal of enhanced competitiveness among SDSU faculty for future external funding to complete the research.

The challenge is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Division of Research and Economic Development. The challenge awards up to $100,000 to be divided among three areas: arts and humanities, scholarship of teaching and learning, and science and technology.

“It is important that as a high-performing research university we make the effort to invest in the growth of our faculty and the scholarly work conducted throughout the university,” said Daniel Scholl, vice president of research and economic development. “These investments create opportunities for initiatives and research projects to grow from a smaller scale into large, well-funded projects through national grants and collaboration with other universities and industries to generate the type of knowledge that solves our most complex problems.”

The five projects selected to receive funds through the challenge are:

  • Editorship of Victorian Periodicals Review. Katherine Malone is an assistant professor in the Department of English and has been selected as editor of Victorian Periodicals Review, a quarterly academic journal that serves as the flagship publication of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. The periodical is published by Johns Hopkins University Press and Malone’s role will oversee all aspects of the journal’s publication. The journal will raise the profile of the university internationally, increase the opportunity for future external grants and provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Assessing ceramide and mapping the metabolome in older adults consuming the dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet. Cydne Perry is an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences. Her research will help identify molecular causes of metabolic disease in older adults to aid in the development of effective and feasible therapeutic methods to address metabolic health. The population of older adults is expected to increase to 98 million by 2060 and the work in this area is to enhance longevity, reduce chronic disease risk and economic burden associated with health-care costs.
  • Proof-of-Concept: Harnessing the big data from smart grids for anomaly detection and classification. Zhen Ni, an assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, is expanding research capacity through a proof-of-concept study of developing new machine-learning algorithms to handle the big data issue in smart grids. The end goal is to develop a new framework that integrates a power system synchrophaser network with a cloud-based big data computing engine to address the challenge of real-time processing of increasing data generated by the interconnected power grid.
  • Battery energy storage system-based virtual inertia for a resilient power grid. The project’s research objective is to address variability issues in power grids with large amounts of renewable energy sources to efficiently improve frequency stability. As more renewable energy sources are installed in the power grid, mechanical inertia in the system is reduced due to fewer large-spinning generators, like coal. The reduced inertia causes technical issues related to maintaining needed system frequency to avoid increased power outages. Timothy Hansen, assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, is the principal investigator, while Reinaldo Tonkoski, an associate professor in that department, is the co-investigator on the project.
  • Impact on students' cognitive creative behaviors from an artist-in-residence program in higher education: Baseline data for a NEA research: Art works-value and impact grant submission. This project will focus on using the existing Stuart Artist-in-Residence program at SDSU to better understand the impact made by artist interactions on students’ creative behaviors. The project intends to close the gap in knowledge at the higher education level Artist-in-Residence programs are experiencing. There is a growing interest across multiple academic disciplines of using the programs to enhance students’ creative cognition. But the available research and literature is primarily focused on K-12 education, how to create the programs and the impacts on the artists themselves. Pat Crawford, associate professor and director of the School of Design, is the principal investigator.