Five Islander Faculty Win Grants for Collaborative A&M System Research Proposals

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Five Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researchers earned $45,000 in grant funding thanks to their participation in the 2018 Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Annual Research Conference (TARC). The conference concluded with eleven teams composed of partnerships between seven Texas A&M University System universities and other Texas institutions taking home seed funding grants for their research proposals, and one overall winning team bringing in a $20,000 grant. 

“We are pleased to see our researchers leading and collaborating on many of these awards. It speaks volumes of how Islanders are making an impact on multiple fronts,” said Dr. Ahmed Mahdy, vice president of Research, Commercialization and Outreach. “A&M Corpus Christi is always seeking mutually beneficial collaboration opportunities, but we are especially excited to collaborate with our sister A&M institutions.” 

Of the five faculty winners, Dr. Hua Zhang, assistant professor of engineering, will serve as the principal investigator (PI) for the team that took first place. Their team, CIRI, is comprised of faculty from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas A&M University Prairie View and Texas A&M University. Zhang’s team will research and develop a Community Infrastructure Resilience Index (CIRI) tool designed to help decision-makers determine funding priorities for improving community infrastructure.

“The problem we are trying to address is that small or medium communities do not have the capability to identify or prioritize projects that will significantly improve community resilience,” said Zhang. “This leads to an inability to compete for and win capital investment.”

The CIRI research team is already putting their funding to work and anticipates submitting another grant proposal for continued funding as well as initiate pilot evaluations that will engage a variety of community and industry stakeholders.

Additional Island University faculty who created multi-institutional research proposals and won seed funding are listed below:     

  • Dr. Jose Baca, assistant professor of engineering who is the PI for the Real Fit team. The team includes Texas A&M University and Del Mar College who are working on a program that will motivate rehabilitation patients to follow therapy routines and exercise programs through mixed reality technology to maintain their fitness levels.
  • Dr. Tianzing Chu, assistant professor of geographic computing sciences, is working with the Aqua Smart team which is led by Texas A&M University-Texarkana and includes Texas A&M University to develop an autonomous smart water control system.
  • Dr. Michael Starek, associate professor of civil and geospatial engineering and Dr. Junfei Xie, assistant professor of computer science, are on the Aggie System Swarmers team which is led by Texas A&M University-Commerce and includes Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University. The team is developing real-time unmanned systems remote sensing technologies for geospatial intelligence.