Skip to main content

Research Awards and Grants (January 2024)

Each month College of Natural Resources faculty receive awards and grants from various federal, state, and nongovernmental agencies in support of their research. This report recognizes the faculty who received funding in January 2024.

Assessment of the Rio Grande Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi) population structure in the Delaware River

  • PI: Mali, Ivana
  • Direct Sponsor Name: Bureau of Land Management
  • Awarded Amount: $88,808 
  • Abstract:  The goal of this project is to conduct high trap intensity Rio Grande Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi) surveys along the Delaware River, a section of the species assumed range that has not been consistently surveyed in the past decade. The capture data on the Delaware River will then be compared to the capture data on the Black River, where the species has been consistently surveyed since 2016, in order to assess the current population composition and status in the under-surveyed Delaware River.

Understanding the Role of Family Members in relation to ACC Student-Athlete Mental Health

  • PI: Casper, Jonathan
  • Direct Sponsor Name: Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Awarded Amount: $$3,595 
  • Abstract: Family members (e.g., parents, grandparents, and guardians – hereafter referred to as parents) play a critical role in student-athlete (SA) mental health. However, little is known about parents’ understanding of the mental health resources provided by college athletic departments. This mixed-method study, consisting of an online survey and focus groups, will investigate the perspectives of parents of ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) SAs related to their awareness and perceived importance of campus and athletic department mental health resources as well as their role in their child’s mental health. This is critical as prior data has shown that the majority of SAs rely on parents for emotional and academic support and the issue of mental health is more prevalent in the minds of parents.

Developing a Chemical Platform Based on Cottonseed Oil to Develop Functional Finishes for Cotton Apparel

  • PI: Venditti, Richard
  • Direct Sponsor Name: Cotton, Inc.
  • Amount Awarded: $79,687 
  • Abstract: “The overarching goal of this project is to develop a chemical platform based on cottonseed oil to produce functional finishes for cotton apparel. We will evaluate cottonseed oil as the basis for the development of bio-based finishes as an alternative to petroleum-derived fabric finishes such as softeners, cross-linkers, and water repellents. The developed chemistry will be designed to maximize a strong affinity to a cotton substrate and not to hinder the fabric properties such as colorfastness, softness, or strength. This will provide a novel use for cottonseed oil and thus increase its value to the cotton producer and the cotton industry.

Cottonseed oil (CSO) is projected to be an excellent starting material to produce softening and durable press (wrinkle resistance) finishes for cotton fibers. This is because refined cotton oil is almost completely composed of triglycerides of polyunsaturated fats (e.g., linoleic acid), which are an ideal platform for derivatization. This proposal proposed routes for con”

AmeriFlux Management Project Core Site – North Carolina Loblolly/Alligator

  • PI: King, John
  • Direct Sponsor Name: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – University of California – Berkeley
  • Awarded Amount: $120,519 
  • Abstract: A cluster of research sites will be maintained according to the Ameriflux Management Program Statement of Work. The sites include a mid-rotation loblolly pine plantation (site code US-NC2 in the Ameriflux and FLUXNET databases, operational since November 2004), and companion sites in young, recently disturbed loblolly pine plantations (US-NC3 starting 2013) and a natural bottomland forested wetland (US-AR/NC4 starting 2009). All sites are located on the lower coastal plain in North Carolina, and represent a historically established land use gradient. With current common management practices and aerial coverage of commercial plantations in different edaphic and climatic regions in the SE-US, the two loblolly plantations are representative of a broader area. The core research at the individual sites and across the cluster focuses on the following topic areas: (1) the magnitude, regulation and variability of carbon and water cycles, (2) the tradeoffs of different management objectives, etc. 

CESU:  Integrating Social Science into U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Priority Efforts

  • PI: Larson, Lincoln
  • Direct Sponsor Name: US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Awarded Amount: $125,493 
  • Abstract:   This project will evaluate the efficacy of several different communication and messaging strategies related to threatened and endangered species in the southeastern United States. The first phase of the project will focus on two controversial carnivores: the red wolf (in NC) and the Florida panther (in FL). In the project, we will: (1) work with wildlife managers to identify communication challenges and desired outcomes for public attitudes and behaviors related to both species; and (2) design and test several different thematic message frames to determine how the public (residents in specific regions and/or statewide and potentially key stakeholder groups) responds to communication related to both species. Messages might focus on positive vs. negative framing of each species (e.g., gain vs. loss) or they might focus on impacts across a variety of thematic areas (e.g., ecological, socio-cultural, economic). The messages and themes will be refined based on input from project partners.

Expeditious Container Project

  • PI: Ruffino, Rico
  • Direct Sponsor Name: Civil-Military Innovation Institute, Inc. (CMI2)
  • Amount Awarded: $255,870 
  • Abstract: This proposal details a seed project that would be performed at NC State University with the objectives of 1) identifying an appropriate material for reuse and loading capacity that meets shipping restrictions; 2) providing a cost analysis of the materials; and 3) using this material to design a prototype bracing system for shipping containers. This project will be in collaboration with soldiers from 82nd ABN to provide initial requirements, an understanding of current operations, and design feedback as the project evolves. The project will integrate doctrine and data and analyze it through the full design lifecycle. Results from this project team include developing detailed requirements, gathering field research data, developing design concepts, conducting a cost analysis, and delivering a prototype.

Lignocellulosics Engineering to Advance Dewatering (LEAD)

  • PI: Pal, Lokendra
  • Direct Sponsor Name:Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance (The Alliance for Pulp & Paper Technology Innovation)
  • Awarded Amount: $150,000 
  • Abstract: The most salient cost factors for paper manufacture are fibers and drying energy. There are continued efforts in the paper industry to move towards lower grammage sheets (especially in the packaging arena) and higher machine speeds to increase productivity while conserving resources and energy. The proposed project will address the critical need for innovation in the dewatering of the paper web to maximize its solids after wet pressing through changes that result from a better understanding of equilibrium moisture and bound water, thus reducing energy consumption in the drying section while maintaining desired paper attributes.

Techno-Economic Analysis of KRICT Biorefinery Process

  • PI: Park, Sunkyu
  • Direct Sponsor Name: Korean Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT)
  • Awarded Amount: $35,100 
  • Abstract: PI Park will conduct a techno-economic analysis of the biorefinery process developed by KRICT.  This will involve (1) process model in simulation package, (2) detailed mass and energy balance, (3) discounted cash flow economic model, (4) minimum selling price calculation, and (5) sensitivity analysis.