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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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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Apply Now for the CCS Fellow Program

The application deadline for the Center for Computational Science’s CCS Fellows Program, which aims to  inspire a new generation of computational science leaders to cross the traditional boundaries between disciplines, is Friday September 22.  The program, which is designed to equip students with new cross-disciplinary skills and experience, provides mentorship outside their area of expertise or interest.

“CCS Fellow” is a prestigious designation awarded to two undergraduate students and two graduate students per year. Students from any of UM’s schools and colleges may apply.

CCS Fellows develop their computational skills and expand their research experience under the guidance of two faculty mentors. CCS Fellows have the opportunity to use the University’s Advanced Computing facilities for their research, and work closely with CCS faculty and staff. No stipend is offered, but there is a cash prize at the end.

Competitive applicants have some experience in a computational setting, and are able to outline a cross-disciplinary project that they would like to pursue. The project details do not need to be clearly defined at the time of application; however, the disciplines that would come together in the project should be clearly stated.

The application form and instructions are available at  http://ccs.miami.edu/engagement/ccs-fellows-program/ For more information, please email: ccsengagement@miami.edu.


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Prilleltensky to Step Down as School of Education and Human Development Dean

UM News


Isaac Prilletensky

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 1, 2017)—After 11 years of distinguished service, Isaac Prilleltensky has decided to step down as dean of the School of Education and Human Development to devote more time to his scholarly endeavors, Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president and provost, announced on Friday.

In his announcement, Duerk said Prilleltensky “offered to continue to serve in the deanship until the end of the 2017 fall semester, and I have enthusiastically accepted this offer. Thereafter, he will begin a one-year sabbatical to write a new book. Professor Laura Kohn-Wood, associate vice provost for institutional culture, will oversee the Office of Institutional Culture while he is on leave.”

Throughout the sabbatical, Duerk said, Prilleltensky will continue to provide him and the office consultation and engagement, albeit at a reduced effort, in his duties as vice provost for institutional culture. When he completes his sabbatical, Prilleltensky will return to UM as professor of educational and psychological studies, and Erwin and Barbara Mautner Chair in Community Well-Being, and continue his role as vice provost for institutional culture.

President Julio Frenk and Duerk have begun organizing a committee to conduct a national search for a new dean.

In his message, Duerk noted Prilleltensky’s many accomplishments as dean. Among them:

He instituted successful new programs, including an undergraduate major in Human and Social Development, master’s programs in Community and Social Change, Education and Social Change, and Physical Fitness and Nutrition, and an online Sport Administration graduate program.

He established a Community Well-Being Ph.D. and reinstituted Higher Education master’s and Ed.D. programs. Also under his tenure, the Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center was established, and the school raised $22 million for the last capital campaign.

Under his leadership, the school’s three departments were unified under a single vision and mission, resulting in a 2012 change in name from the School of Education to the School of Education and Human Development.

A focus on the study, promotion, and integration of educational, physical, and psychological well-being in multicultural communities was initiated. The school’s square footage doubled and facilities were consolidated from seven spaces across campus to two buildings, which house four new research labs.

Over the years, Duerk said, Prilleltensky also made significant contributions to the life of the University, including serving on the search committees for the president and the dean of Arts and Sciences. He was also a founding member of the Culture Leadership Team. His work on culture transformation at UM led to his appointment as vice provost for institutional culture in 2016.

While serving as dean, Prilleltensky also maintained an active research program, developing and validating tools for measuring and enhancing well-being, including the Fun for Wellness, an online program now available to all UM faculty and staff.

Since joining UM, his scholarly work has been recognized by the American Psychological Association with three awards, and in 2015 he won an award from the National Newspaper Association for his humor writing in Miami Today.

“Please join me in thanking Isaac for his outstanding service to the school and our University,’’ Duerk said in his announcement. “We wish him the very best for his sabbatical and look forward to his continued vital role in our community upon his return.”

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Dipen J. Parekh Named Chief Clinical Officer

UM News

Dipen Parekh, M.D.

Dipen Parekh, M.D.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 1, 2017)—Dipen J. Parekh, chair of the Department of Urology and director of robotic surgery, has been named chief clinical officer of the University of Miami Health System.

“Dr. Parekh is one of the world’s most experienced and innovative surgeons in robotic-assisted urologic oncology, and the perfect person to continue the critically important process of building and enhancing our medical practice,” Edward Abraham, acting executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth, said in his announcement last week.

As Abraham, who is also dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine, noted, Parekh brought the da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system to UHealth, leading it to the spectacular milestone this month of the 5,000th da Vinci procedure performed at University of Miami Hospital. Among the benefits of these procedures, Abraham said, are greater precision, smaller incisions, shorter recovery times, and improved patient outcomes.

Since joining the Miller School in 2012, Parekh, who holds the Victor A. Politano Endowed Chair in Urology and is a member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has restructured the clinical, operational, and financial management of the Department of Urology, significantly increasing patient access to urology services while enhancing patient satisfaction.

His internationally acclaimed research is advancing treatment on many fronts, and he has shared those advances with surgeons around the world.

As chief clinical officer, Parekh will be in charge of all UHealth outpatient and inpatient services, and will work closely with all the chairs and clinical faculty to enhance the clinical enterprise.

His appointment, Abraham said, will give Thinh Tran, M.D., UHealth’s chief operations officer, more time to focus on the health system’s extensive operational issues.

“Working together, and with all of us, Dr. Parekh and Dr. Tran will accelerate our transformation to the health system we need to be in today’s rapidly changing environment,” Abraham said.


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