Friday, April 13, 2018

33 April 2018, Moscow Idaho


University of Idaho faculty members in the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary STudies (IBEST) have been awarded $346,969 this year in new competitive grants as part of the National Science Foundation BEACON Science and Technology Center on "Evolution in Action". These funds support nine projects involving eight UI faculty members, along with graduate and undergraduate students, and four postdoctoral researchers. Funding went to Drs. James A. Foster, Barrie Robison, Celeste Brown, Eva Top, Chris Marx, Craig Miller, and Sergey Stolyar in Biological Sciences; and Dr. Terence Soule in Computer Science. The UI has now been awarded more than $4.4 million through BEACON in the last seven years.


The Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST) is an interdisciplinary research group at the University of Idaho focused on understanding the patterns and processes of evolution that occur over comparatively short periods of time. The hallmarks of IBEST research are the coupling of empirical and theoretical research, and a strong orientation toward rigorous testing of hypotheses. IBEST places high value on interdisciplinary collaborations that blend the expertise of biologists, biochemists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists to examine the underpinnings of evolutionary biology.


The BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action is a five institution consortium that includes the UI, Michigan State University, University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin, and North Carolina Ag and Tech. BEACON is an NSF Science and Technology Center founded with the mission of illuminating and harnessing the power of evolution in action to advance science and technology and benefit society. Research at BEACON focuses on biological evolution, digital evolution, and evolutionary applications in engineering, uniting biologists who study natural evolutionary processes with computer scientists and engineers who are harnessing these processes to solve real-world problems.


The proposals were peer reviewed with respect to nine different criteria, including intellectual merit, impact on institutional diversity, and educational impact. Funding decisions were made by the BEACON director, Prof. Erik Goodman (MSU), with the advice of the BEACON External Advisory Board which includes Prof. James A. Foster (UI, Biological Sciences). Prof. Foster is the director of the BEACON project at the University of Idaho.


For more information, please contact Prof. James A. Foster, the director of the UI BEACON program, at

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