For several years, conference travel grants have been enabling faculty members to present their work all around the world. Each semester, dozens of faculty members travel nationally and internationally, giving presentations on their research, scholarly and creative work. This academic year University grant recipients have already traveled to California, Columbia, Japan, Fiji, New York, England and so many other places; by the end of this semester even more ground will be covered.
Although these conference travel grants are available to faculty of all disciplines, many often associate these grants exclusively with the sciences. To combat this, Research & Innovation, which offers the conference travel grants each year, has begun efforts to increase proposal applications in other fields. Thus, a new opportunity has been implemented; research travel grants specifically for the College of Liberal Arts and Reynolds School of Journalism are now available.
With up to $3000 in funding per grant, faculty members such as Inge Bruggeman, head of the Black Art Press in the College of Liberal Arts, have been putting this opportunity to good use. In the last year alone, Bruggeman has had the chance to bring her work to both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Penland, North Carolina.
Bruggeman specializes in book and publication arts, a field which merges the concept of literature with artistic design and philosophy. She credits these travel opportunities with helping generate awareness as well as influencing the work of the Black Rock Press. Her recent work Active Reading: Artist Books and Embodiment examines how books and readers interact; the books in this series are built to require active physical engagement from the reader, such as climbing a ladder or walking along a long, unfolding manuscript. This innovative work became the subject of a presentation she gave at the nationally attended College Book Art Association conference.
Since then, Bruggeman was able to travel to the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina to work on her newest series Deposits. This series, which uses collage to create a metaphor between memory and stratified sediment, will be on display at the Oats Park Art Center in Fallon this spring. (Those interested in book book and publication arts may want to look into a new upcoming minor in the field.)
Of course, the pre-existing travel grants are still being widely used among faculty of all colleges. In summer 2017, Yu Yang, assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented his research on carbon nanotubes to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) conference in São Paulo, Brazil. His poster presentation on the effects and uses of the materials in microbial life-forms. Joined the ranks of several other in-depth posters and presentations and contributed to the huge event of shared chemistry research.
Yang is known for his work in carbon geochemistry and environmental biochemistry, and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in these fields, specifically concerning environmental sciences. In recent years, Yang's research has brought him a good deal of recognition, including the titles of IUPAC Young Observer Fellow and the Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Investigator.
Bruggeman and Yang agree that travel opportunities like these do far more than advance and share their research and scholarly activity. Residencies, conferences and the like also have a direct influence in the classroom as well. Bruggeman was able to view exhibits of artists' books from around the country, while Yang had the opportunity to attend presentations from his international peers.
Ana de Bettencourt-Dias, the associate vice president for research, helps manage these grant programs. "We, at R&I, are excited about the research and creative work that our faculty and colleagues are doing," she says. "We are delighted to be able to support their travel, both for conference presentations, and to conduct ‘field work'. This enables us to showcase worldwide the amazing creative and innovative work being done at UNR."
Going forward, R&I hopes that even more faculty will join Bruggeman and Yang as national and international academic travelers.