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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Geography


Geography Faculty and Research Staff Receive ASPIRE Grants for 2017-2018

The Office of the Vice President for Research announced funding decisions for the 2017 ASPIRE I, II and III internal research competitions, and USC Geographers were prominent among the winners.

ASPIRE grants were initiated in 2012 to fund promising research and shared research infrastructure to help strengthen the University of South Carolina’s competitiveness for external grants and bolster scholarship throughout the USC System. USC Faculty researchers submitted a total of 161 proposals to the ASPIRE programs this year. Prakash Nagarkatti, the Vice President for Research, notes, “In 2012, we founded ASPIRE to boost the research and scholarship at USC across all disciplines, and all system campuses. Now, in our sixth year of ASPIRE funding, it is becoming apparent that we are meeting our goals. We have documented growth in interdisciplinary research across the entire university, and a significant return on investment, totaling about $50 million in extramural funding for lines of research that began with ASPIRE grants. I am so proud of this growth, and of the outstanding researchers who are receiving funding for 2017.”

Three proposals from USC Geographers were funded:

Zhenlong Li (Assistant Professor): "Enhancing situational awareness by mining big social media data in near-real time for disaster managerment: A cyber-GIS approach" (Aspire 1-I: Junior faculty development)

Caroline Nagel (Associate Professor) and Conor Harrison (Assistant Professor): "Mapping the social geography of Jim Crow-era Columbia: An historical GIS project". (Aspire 1-IV: senior faculty exploration)

Peng Gao (post-doctoral research associate): "Basin-level heavy rainfall and flood analyses" (Aspire 1-IIB: Postdoctoral scholar development)