Welcome to Alaska NSF EPSCoR

Alaska NSF EPSCoR improves Alaska's scientific capacity by engaging in research projects supported through National Science Foundation and state funds. EPSCoR is commencing "Fire and Ice," a five-year project to study climate-driven changes to Alaskan wildfire regimes and coastal ecosystems. The organization is also concluding a six-year project entitled "Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments (ACE)," which examines the mechanisms by which communities adapt to environmental and social change. For more information on ACE please visit our Program Structure section or see the project's Strategic Plan, Midcourse Report or newsletters. If you're looking for project data or related data please visit our data portal. We've also created a small poster that tracks the timeline and structure of NSF EPSCoR in Alaska. Alaska NSF EPSCoR also helps to administer "Teaching Through Technologies," a three-year educational project to excite high school students about science through experiments with unmanned aerial vehicles, 3-D printers and codeable digital devices.

Three UAF researchers receive EPSCoR awards

Benowitz, Collins, and Tape

Three UAF researchers have received individual NSF EPSCoR "Track-4" awards, which enable scientists to collaborate with major research centers to continue their work.

Jeff Benowitz, a Research Assistant Professor with the Geophysical Institute, received $220,043 for his proposal “Why are Young Volcanic Rocks Undateable: Chemistry, Environment, or Instrumentation?” The funding will enable Benowitz and a graduate student to work with researchers at Oregon State University to determine the age of young volcanic rocks from Alaska’s Aleutian and Wrangell arcs. The project will investigate how the chemistry and environments of samples and the sensitivity and precision of instruments contribute to uncertainties in determining the age of young volcanic rocks, and enable the development of new methods to more accurately date the rocks.

R. Eric Collins, an Assistant Professor with the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, received $187,301 for his proposal “Advancing Machine Learning in Biological Oceanography through Interdisciplinary Collaborations.” Collins and a graduate student will travel to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts to use machine learning to predict distributions of Arctic marine microbes and their use and transformations of metals. They’ll then use this knowledge to design methods for adaptive biological sampling using flow-through systems and ocean profilers.

Ken Tape, an Associate Professor with the Geophysical Institute, received $200,382 for his proposal, “Predicting Beaver Colonization of the Arctic and Creation of Tundra Stream Oases.” Tape and a postdoctoral researcher will spend six months at Northern Arizona University working with experts in satellite image analysis to further his research into the expansion of beaver habitat into arctic tundra.

Research posters and presentations

We're making an effort to make research posters and presentations by our Fire and Ice researchers available on this site. Our first offerings are two posters and a powerpoint by Boreal Fires faculty:

EPSCoR highlights

F&I faculty LeeAnn Munk, Jason Fellman and Eric Klein

We've produced our first PDF highlight from the Fire and ice project, about some first collaborative steps toward stream monitoring. Many thanks to Molly Tankersley of the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center for the text and photos.

We also have available a number of PDF highlights about research and outreach from the concluding Alaska ACE project. Alaska EPSCoR's YouTube site also includes links to multiple recent videos from the ACE project. We also now host sound signatures of planes flying over the North Slope, courtesy of a Northern Test Case research project by UAF MS student Taylor Stinchcomb.

Northern Test Case presentations available

On April 9-10, 2018, a group of Alaska NSF EPSCoR Northern Test Case researchers traveled to the village of Nuiqsut to discuss research findings with local residents. Eight presentations from that meeting are now available as PDFs. We've also posted PDFs of three more presentations from an earlier meeting, held in Fairbanks June 5-6, 2017.

Fire and Ice is a go!

The National Science Foundation has announced a 5-year, $20 million award to fund the next phase of Alaska NSF EPSCoR research.

The award will support a five-year research project entitled “Fire and Ice: Navigating Variability in Boreal Wildfire Regimes and Subarctic Coastal Ecosystems (F&I).” F&I researchers will employ remote sensing, fieldwork, lab experiments, and modeling to study two Alaskan regions undergoing climate-driven changes: the boreal forest, which is experiencing changes to wildfire regimes, and the Gulf of Alaska, where changing physical and chemical conditions are impacting nearshore marine ecosystems and organisms. The project will involve more than 30 faculty members located across the three main UA campuses, as well as five new faculty hires, six postdoc hires, 44 graduate and 45 undergraduate research assistantships. Researchers in the study come from a variety of disciplines across the physical, biological and social sciences. The award is one of seven EPSCoR Track-1 awards recently announced by the NSF, and the award period began October 1.

UAF scientists seek input for NSF Engineering Research Center proposal

A group of UAF researchers have been funded by the National Science Foundation to draft a proposal for an Engineering Research Center focused on the Arctic. The scientists behind the effort are currently soliciting partners, as well as key input from stakeholders through an online questionnaire
The center would work to develop integrated solutions for coastal Arctic communities threatened with erosion, flooding, and the loss of clean water and infrastructure in the next decade due to the amplified effects of climate change in the Arctic.  Key elements of the planning effort and eventual proposal include education, workforce development, implementation processes, research, and technology innovation with diverse partners across the state. The ultimate goal of the center would be to create communities and economies based on sustainable use of local and renewable resources. Principal Investigator of the planning effort is Erin Whitney of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, and among the co-investigators are Alaska NSF EPSCoR Associate Project Director Pips Veazey and EPSCoR hires Frank Witmer and Bill Schnabel.

Vis Space

Our decision-making and visualization space on the UAF West Ridge has a new, simple moniker: Vis Space. The space will still offer all of the same capabilities and possibilities as it did before, just under a new name.

Storymap of North Slope soundscapes research

In 2016, EPSCoR grad student Taylor Stinchcomb and her advisor, Todd Brinkman, set up 20 sound recorders along the Colville River on the North Slope in order to monitor and analyze aircraft noise, which may have an impact on caribou populations and hunting practices. She's compiled the research into an excellent Storymap, which describes both methodology and results.

For more information

For more information on Alaska NSF EPSCoR in general, this poster gives an overview of the history of the organization in Alaska.

The Alaska EPSCoR data portal gives access to datasets generated by or related to NSF EPSCoR research.

The Alaska Science and Technology Plan, which prioritizes the state's S&T activities, was crafted with extensive EPSCoR input. The plan was written by the Alaska State Committee for Research, a panel of academic, political and business leaders charged with overseeing Alaska EPSCoR and advising on the state's research enterprise.

For more information on the Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments (ACE) project in particular, please visit the below links:

The Strategic Plan outlines Alaska EPSCoR's goals and methods for the project, which runs from 2012-18.

The Midcourse Report highlights the accomplishments and impacts of the first three years of the current research project.


EPSCoR acknowledgement and logos

By our grant terms, any person receiving benefit from Alaska NSF EPSCoR must acknowledge it in any publications, presentations, websites, newsletters, dissertations, theses, etc. that result from Alaska NSF EPSCoR support.

For the Fire and Ice project (2018-2023), please use the following language: "Acknowledgement to (or "Support from") Alaska EPSCoR NSF award #OIA-1757348 and the state of Alaska."

For the ACE project (2012-2018), please use the following language: "Acknowledgement to (or "Support from") Alaska EPSCoR NSF award #OIA-1208927 and the state of Alaska."

Alaska NSF EPSCoR logos for use in posters and other presentations are available here as EPS, JPEG and TIFF files.

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