Rice appointed to National Science Foundation committee

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Rice,-Jim-tinyProfessor James A. Rice, head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at South Dakota State University, has been named to his second advisory committee to the National Science Foundation.


Rice, who first joined the faculty at State as an assistant professor in 1988, has been appointed to the Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education at NSF. He also serves on the foundation’s Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure.


The AC ERE is the most important means by which NSF receives external input on its environmental portfolio of funding activities and suggestions for environmental research and education initiatives. The initiatives figure prominently in NSF’s 2006-2011 strategic plan.


Rice is one of 12 members from across the country that comprise the committee, which meets twice a year at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va.


“This is an interesting opportunity,” said Rice. “It’s a committee that provides important input to NSF, as its recently released report on critical transition points in complex environmental processes — like global climate change — has shown.


“It’s also a chance to interact with the people who actually manage the environmental research and education programs at NSF,” he added. “It also provides the opportunity to interact directly with the director and deputy director at NSF.


“Being on the committee provides great insight into how NSF functions.”


For Rice, whose research interests are in environmental chemistry and geochemistry, the appointment is not only professionally rewarding, but also one that can benefit the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU.


“This is something I can contribute to from a technical point of view as an environmental geochemist,” said Rice. “It will also benefit our department, especially our younger faculty, because one of our research focus areas is in environmental and sustainable chemistry.


“The interactions that take place through this committee provide insight into the directions NSF is going, so I can better guide faculty members as they develop and submit research grant proposals,” he added.


Rice noted that serving on two NSF advisory committees also enhances his role as director of the South Dakota EPSCoR, Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, program, a position to which he was appointed in 2002.


“The Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure is important to what we try to accomplish in the EPSCoR program, because we are a large state with a small population, and in the EPSCoR program, we’ve learned that cyber-enabled communication and collaboration greatly enhances our ability to secure competitive research funding,” he said.


“The two committees are complementary assignments in the sense that so much of environmental science involves the collection of data via cyber-enabled, research infrastructure,” Rice added.


The NSF is an independent federal agency whose board members, including the director and deputy director, are appointed by the president of the United States. With an annual budget of $6.1 billion, NSF is a major funding source of all federally-supported, basic science and engineering research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.


Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from seven different colleges representing more than 200 majors, minors and options. The institution also offers 23 master’s degree programs and 12 Ph.D. programs.


The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.


Photo: Professor James Rice