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Alabama Water Institute

AWI Awards $198,500 in Research Support to UA Faculty

Equipment, proposals and publications are critical tools for ensuring successful research at The University of Alabama. The Alabama Water Institute recently awarded $198,501.44 in multiple grants to AWI-affiliated faculty members to support their water-related research efforts.

The AWI has provided the following funds to eight researchers through the institute’s Equipment Support Program:

Dr. Hamid Moradkhani, Alton N. Scott Chair Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Center for Complex Hydrosystems Research, has received $44,000 for computing servers. Moradkhani’s center is heavily dependent on computational resources for creating and running complex water-related models. This equipment received $9,700 in cost-share contributions.

Dr. Ruigang Wang, associate professor in UA’s Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, was awarded $32,000 for a quadrupole mass spectrometer. It is widely used in water electrolysis, electrocatalyst studies, real time gas analysis and plasma diagnostics. The cost-share received for this equipment is $20,000.

“Water pollution is hazardous to the health of humans and other organisms, and development of materials for detection, removal and/or decomposition of aqueous pollutants is of critical importance,” said Wang. “This QMS offers a facile way to characterize materials used in electrocatalysis and separations for water-related applications.”

Dr. Feng Yan, assistant professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, was awarded $27,000 from AWI to help purchase time-resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy equipment. It will provide a fundamental understanding of newly developed photosensitive materials for quantum dots, nanomaterials, and catalyst, photocatalyst, and photovoltaics applications. The equipment also received approximately $40,000 in cost-share funding.

“This TRPL will be the first instrument of its kind here as UA has no similar instruments for the time-resolved carrier lifetime characterization,” said Yan. “It will strengthen UA and AWI’s competitiveness for external funding opportunities.”

Dr. David Cruz-Uribe, professor and chair of UA’s Department of Mathematics, received $16,000 for a high-performance computing node. The node will be added to the department’s HPC cluster specifically to assist junior faculty who are actively engaged with water-related research. This equipment also received $4,000 in cost-share funding.

Dr. Arial Shogren, assistant professor in UA’s Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded $12,705 to purchase four submersible field fluorometers and loggers to measure hydrologic tracers at high temporal frequency. They will be used to support multiple proposals for, as well as for experiential learning across multiple freshwater studies and ecohydrology courses at UA. This equipment also received $3,485 in cost-share funding.

“Ultimately, obtaining information about where water is going at multiple spatial and temporal scales is necessary to quantify human impacts on aquatic ecosystems and detect environmental change,” Shogren said.

Dr. Carla Atkinson, associate professor in UA’s Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded $9,215.40 to purchase six HOBO dissolved oxygen loggers to estimate stream ecosystem metabolism in three intermittent streams in Alabama. This equipment received $3,056.40 in cost-share funding.

“Intermittent streams are not commonly monitored, and the implementation of infrastructure to monitor these unique systems is often challenging,” said Atkinson. “With the additional information from these sensors, we will be able to better inform the management and protection of intermittent streams, particularly as the number of intermittent streams is projected to increase across the United States in the future.”

Dr. Keivan Davami, assistant professor in UA’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, was awarded $4,000 for a camera to measure infrared temperatures with $995 in cost-share funding. The compact infrared camera is ideally suited for almost all NIR and CO2 laser processing tasks, such as additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Davami will use the camera for non-contact temperature measurements during laser shock peening and temperature monitoring during metal melting processes.

Dr. Evan Wujcik, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, received $3,000 to purchase a voltage source and controller system to be incorporated into his lab’s existing electrospinning equipment. This equipment also received $3,000 in cost-share funding. The component will be used in the development of new water-centric applications for scalable fibers.

The AWI has also awarded the following funds through its Interdisciplinary Innovations Program:

The AWI also provides faculty members with publication support. For more information about how to apply for AWI support programs and for deadlines, contact Stefanie O’Neill at

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