e-Veritas Archive | September, 2017

Initial Applications to Revised Provost’s Research Awards Due October 20

The Provost’s Research Awards (PRAs) are designed to foster excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activities at the University of Miami. The provost’s goal is to continue to build and maintain a world-class research university featuring a community of scholars, scientists, and artists with robust externally funded programs. The PRAs provide seed funding that is designed to contribute significantly to the University’s research portfolio.

There are several changes that have been made to the PRA program that the Office of the Vice Provost for Research would like to bring to the faculty’s attention:

  1. While the PRAs will continue to fund both direct costs ($6,500) and faculty salary ($10,500), the number of PRA awards will be reduced by half.  (The other half of the provost’s funds are being allocated for the U-LINK interdisciplinary initiative.)
  • Interested faculty must submit an abbreviated application or LOI by October 20 to their associate dean for research in accordance with guidance issued by each school. Specific instructions will be issued by your dean or associate dean for research. Each individual school will review applications from their own faculty and will rank the top half of proposals. These applicants will be invited to submit a full PRA application by December 4. These applications will be reviewed by the Research Council and funding decisions will be made by March 5, 2018.
  • Anyone receiving PRA funding in the last three years (FY2014, 2015, 2016) MUST submit final reports for their previous projects. Applications from faculty with final reports in default will not be accepted. These reports must be received by October 20.

The other details of the PRA funding program are largely unchanged. Please view the RFA for additional information.


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The Perfect Equation

By Steven Pierre
University Communications


Zac, Zoe, and Chelsea Cosner

The beach, palm trees, and mild winters of Miami were a far cry from College Station, Texas, where Chris Cosner started his academic career. The budding mathematics department at the University of Miami also made Cosner certain his move to Miami in 1982 would be a good one. “My former university was in a small town, and having grown up in San Diego and the Bay area, it was boring,” the professor of mathematics recalled. “The circumstances here were positive and Miami as a city was enticing—it felt like home.”

But, for Cosner, the icing on the cake was the tuition remission benefit offered as part of joining the University. He wanted to start a family and being able to send his future kids to college at little cost was a big draw. “At that time, I didn’t know what my kids would want to do, but this at least provided a feasible option at a great university,” Cosner said.

For his children, Chelsea, Zac, and Zoe, UM became the perfect fit for their interests after high school. “It turned out that Chelsea and Zoe wanted to go in the direction of medicine. Zac, on the other hand, was more of an outdoor type, so he was interested in environmental science,” said Cosner.

The tight-knit, community-oriented siblings were accepted into a variety of schools around the country—but none with the potential experiences offered at UM. “It worked out great and they all went into areas where UM is well represented. Their interests matched up well with the departmental strengths at UM,” said Cosner.

Between interning in Miller School of Medicine labs and studying abroad, Cosner’s children made the most of their undergraduate experience. Chelsea graduated in 2015 with a degree in neuroscience; Zac and Zoe, fraternal twins, graduated in 2017, Zac with his degree in ecosystems science and Zoe with hers in biochemistry and math. Although the three followed separate paths since graduation, with Chelsea and Zoe in medical school and Zac promoting ecotourism in Florida, Cosner says they’re still close. “The kids hang out together from time to time and whenever they’re home. They’re really tight.”

Knowing the value of education, Cosner always hoped to send his children to a school that would help them reach their goals, and UM’s programs and tuition remission benefit proved to be the perfect equation. “I knew that UM was great when I got here and I knew that it was improving, so the chances of UM being able to provide a great education for my kids were only increasing with time.”

To learn more about tuition benefits, visit benefits.miami.edu.


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Art Therapy for Enhanced Well-Being

Art therapy is a mental health modality, in which clients, facilitated by an art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and resulting artwork to explore, express, identify, reconcile, and manage challenging mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational experiences. As such, art therapy, as part of a comprehensive, curative course, provides therapeutic opportunity for self-and-situational acceptance, significance, reorientation, and renewed motivation in personal wellness pursuits. Seminar participants are invited to engage in both the educational process and experiential practice of art therapy for enhanced well-being. This Faculty and Staff Assistance Program seminar will be facilitated by Rachel A. Upton-Rice, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, a registered, board-certified, and licensed creative arts therapist from the University of Miami Hospital’s Behavioral Health Services Department.

Coral Gables campus: Tuesday, September 26, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

Miller School campus: Wednesday, September 27, 12-1 p.m., Don Soffer Clinical Research Center, room 692

FSAP Health and Wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ‘Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with ULearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.


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Discounted Tickets for Sesame Street Live!

Jump to the beat on Sesame Street at an all-new, interactive show that unfolds on one of the world’s most famous streets at the funniest, furriest party in the neighborhood! Sesame Street Live! plays at the Watsco Center on Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27. All University of Miami employees and students can purchase tickets at a special $10 discount by presenting their UM ID at the Watsco Center Box Office. Offer is valid only for the $35 and $25 price level.


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New Forecast Model to Help Severe Weather Preparation

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 20, 2017)—Predicting the weather three to four weeks in advance is extremely challenging, yet many critical decisions affecting communities and economies must be made that far in advance. Now, for the first time, model forecasts could help NOAA’s operational Climate Prediction Center (CPC) significantly improve its week 3 and 4 temperature and precipitation outlooks for the U.S.,  helping decision makers and managers prepare for hazards like heat waves, cold spells, heavy rain, and even hurricanes.

The Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) is a two-year project, led by Ben Kirtman, professor of atmospheric science, that combines multiple global models from NOAA, NASA, Environment Canada, the Navy, and National Center for Atmospheric Research to produce once-a-week real-time experimental forecasts as well as a set of forecasts for past dates, called reforecasts, now available to both CPC and the research community.

“The multi-model reforecasts perfectly dovetail with the real-time forecasts so that you can perform a robust calibration and skill assessment,” said Kirtman, who heads the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and the Center for Computational Science Climate and Environmental Hazards Program. “The research you do can immediately translate into potential improvements of an operational product, and that’s really exciting.”

Also exciting, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma’s rampage across the Caribbean and Florida this month, is SubX’s potential for predicting near-term hurricane activity.

“It definitely could help with hurricanes,” Kirtman said. “Essentially, we want to be able to predict that 3 to 4 weeks from today there is either a greater or a reduced chance of hurricanes developing.”

3-4 Week Forecast ModelThe SubX reforecasts are being produced for 1999-2015, providing a robust dataset that CPC forecasters can compare to known conditions from that time to adjust the real-time SubX forecasts and improve the week 3-4 outlooks.

The one-year, real-time predictions provide CPC with additional models to experimentally guide the week 3-4 outlooks, which previously used only 1-3 models. In addition, the external community is able to access the data for research to better model sources of predictability that underpin NOAA’s ability to produce skillful predictions in this timescale.

“Ultimately, you can think of our project as trying to figure out how to pull the best properties of all kinds of different tools to ultimately make better models and forecasts,” Kirtman said. “In addition to testing the benefit of combining the models into one forecast, the skill of the individual models will be evaluated against one another.”

Kirtman describes improving prediction on the week 3-4 timescale as a “new frontier.” Past efforts have focused on short-term weather forecasts and seasonal outlooks, but new research showing potential predictability for this time scale, as well as public demand, has focused attention on this problem. Advances in this area could substantially help NOAA better prepare decision makers and managers for hazards like heat waves, cold spells, and heavy rain.

NOAA’s forecasters at CPC have already begun experimentally using SubX’s multi-model reforecasts and real-time forecasts, and the potential benefits are clear. “The fact that SubX is providing us additional models to look at gives us a good chance of observing things in the models that may not have appeared in the smaller group of models or a single model,” said Dan Collins, researcher and forecaster at CPC. “This [dataset] also provides a better capability to really examine these models in an equal comparison and understand where they are skillful and where they are not.”

Rigorous evaluation of forecast skill over the next year will allow CPC to determine whether the SubX system, or any of its individual models, should become operational.

The SubX project is supported by NOAA’s OAR Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections Program, and a partnership including NWS/STI, Navy and NASA. SubX dataset is accessible to the external community through a public archive at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) Data Library: http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/SOURCES/.Models/.SubX/

For more information about the SubX project, visit http://cola.gmu.edu/kpegion/subx/.





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