Faculty and Students Awarded Nearly $300K in Research Prizes and Grants


University employees and students, including Department of Psychology faculty members Christopher Harshaw, center, Tracey Knaus and Laura Scaramella, far right, gathered Jan. 24 to celebrate research at the University of New Orleans.

The University of New Orleans has awarded nearly $300,000 in research grants and awards to 21 faculty members and 20 undergraduate students.

During a Jan. 24 awards presentation hosted by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs that underscored the power of research and the opportunities that exist for UNO scholars at all levels, leaders highlighted the interesting work and accomplishments that are happening on all areas of campus.

“We really are a determined community of scholars and researchers,” President John Nicklow said before the winners were named. “We’re innovating every day, creating new knowledge and outcomes in service of a better world.”

Matt Tarr, vice president for research and economic development, told those gathered that simply being nominated for these awards is an honor that places those in the running among the University’s top researchers. Representatives from the University of New Orleans Research Council, which reviews nominees, presented the following prizes.

Ryan Gray, assistant professor of anthropology, won the Early Career Research & Scholarship Award. The one-year $7,500 prize is open to assistant professors who have passed their third-year review and who have distinguished themselves in their creative and scholarly activities.

Gray has secured several grants to fund his research and has acquired external funding to update a lab. He consistently publishes and presents at conferences and is under contract for his second book in addition to having several other book-length works in progress. Gray recently worked on a collaborative effort with the National WWII Museum, the Department of Defense and the University of Innsbruck that resulted in the excavation of a crashed plane from World War II and the hunt for the remains of its Tuskegee Airman pilot.

Gunter Bischof, professor of history and philosophy and director of Center Austria, won the $10,000 Creativity, Research & Scholarship Award. The prize is available to a faculty member who has achieved the rank of associate professor or professor and who has distinguished themselves in their creative and scholarly activities.

Bischof has led Center Austria since its inception 20 years ago. Since 2013 alone, he has produced seven refereed edited books, four edited volumes that are non-refereed and a dozen book chapters. He has been awarded numerous research grants and helped raise funding for an endowed professorship and an endowed chair. He has earned honors from numerous institutions, including the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and serves on many boards.

Uttam Chakravarty, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, won the $7,500 Creativity, Research & Scholarship Award with a Research Focus, which is available to associate professors who have passed their third-year review and have distinguished themselves in their creative and scholarly activities.

Chakravarty joined UNO in 2012 and has been successful in securing external research funding, receiving more than $1 million dollars as a principal investigator and co-investigator. He has published 16 referred journal articles and 25 conference papers and currently supervises four Ph.D. students and three master’s students. At the time of his nomination, his work had been cited 287 times according to Google Scholar.

In addition to these faculty awards, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs presented various internal grants as well.