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Five Illinois Institute of Technology Faculty Members Receive The Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

CHICAGO -- Illinois Institute of Technology is the recipient of five prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) – the highest number of CAREER awards for Illinois Tech in any one academic year. Additionally, it’s the highest number of 2016 CAREER awards for any university in Illinois.

Among Illinois Tech’s distinguished group are four faculty members from Armour College of Engineering and one faculty member from the College of Science. The assistant professors are:

  • Lin Cai, department of electrical and computer engineering for Fundamental Studies of Sustainable Wireless Communication System Powered by Renewable Energy
  • Lili Du, department of civil, architectural and environmental engineering for Integrated Online Coordinated Routing and Decentralized Control for Connected Vehicle Systems
  • Carrie Hall, department of mechanical, materials, and aerospace engineering for Control of Advanced Fuel-Flexible Multi-Cylinder Engines
  • Ankit Srivastava, department of mechanical, materials, and aerospace engineering for Transformation Elastodynamics and its Application to Wave Control in Solids
  • Jeff Wereszczynski, department of physics for The Effects of Post-translational Modifications and Histone Variants on Chromatin Fiber Dynamics

The NSF CAREER Awards honor early career-development activities of teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.

According to the National Science Foundation website:

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

Each year NSF selects nominees for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from among the most meritorious recent CAREER awardees. Selection for this award is based on two important criteria: 1) innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology that is relevant to the mission of the sponsoring organization or agency, and 2) community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, education or community outreach. These awards foster innovative developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of the participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the Nation’s future. Individuals cannot apply for PECASE. These awards are initiated by the participating federal agencies. At NSF, up to 20 nominees for this award are selected each year from among the PECASE-eligible CAREER awardees who are most likely to become the leaders of academic research and education in the twenty-first century. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy makes the final selection and announcement of the awardees.

Reviewers are asked to address the two NSF merit review criteria, but they are also asked to note the effectiveness of the integration of research and educational activities. Specifically they are asked to evaluate:

  • The proposed research project, including preliminary supporting data where appropriate, specific objectives, methods and procedures to be used and expected significance of the results
  • The proposed educational activities, including plans to evaluate their impact
  • How the research and educational activities are integrated with one another and results from prior NSF support, if applicable