The Office of Research recognized staff and faculty during an awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 24.

The awards, part of this year’s Research Week celebrations, are given for outstanding achievements, contributions, and service in research development and research administration.

“Our researchers are the bedrock of the WSU research enterprise. These faculty and staff are outstanding in their fields, and work with colleagues across the university to perform the wide range of leading-edge research conducted at WSU,” said Chris Keane, vice president for research. “We are pleased to recognize our outstanding colleagues, and their contributions to the university.”

The following awards were presented to faculty and staff recipients by Keane and WSU President Kirk Schulz:

Pacesetter Award

This year, two individuals received the Pacesetter Award, given to a promising WSU pre‑tenure faculty member who has set new achievement standards in obtaining grants, publications, and citations. Since joining WSU in 2015, Lonnie Nelson, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, has served as the lead PI on funding totaling just over $5 million through FY2019 and has published 31 articles with more than 100 citations. Kiwamu Tanaka, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, has been the lead PI on funding totaling over $2.4 million through FY2019. During his time at WSU since 2014, he has published 30 articles and has been cited more than 850 times.

Largest New Individual Grant

The award for Largest New Individual Grant was presented to Wipawee “Joy” Winuthayanon, assistant professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences. In FY2019, Winuthayanon received a $1.59 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the oviductal epithelium environment to tackle the poor success and inherent problems associated with assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Largest New Team Grant

Jonathan Yoder, director of the State of Washington Water Research Center and professor in the School of Economic Sciences, and his team won the award for Largest New Team Grant. Other team members were: Jennifer Adam, Michael Brady, Lav Khot, Chad Kruger, Mingliang Liu, Julie Padowski, Troy Peters, Nigel Pickering, Kirti Rajagopalan, Claudio Stockle, Georgine Yorgey. They received a $4.9 million award from the USDA‑NIFA to study innovative ways to sustainably secure and more efficiently use water to produce food.

Creative Activity, Research, and Scholarship Award

Focused on fields within arts, humanities, and social sciences, the Creative Activity, Research, and Scholarship Award this year went to Matthew Sutton, Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor and history department chair. Sutton has published 5 books, 16 academic journal articles and chapters, and 12 select articles and editorials. Additionally, he has received 21 grants and fellowships, 15 honors, awards, and prizes.

Technology with Impactful Contribution to Society Award

Arron Carter, associate professor and Vogel Endowed Chair of Wheat Breeding and Genetics in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, was recognized with the Technology with Impactful Contribution to Society Award. Carter played a leadership role in the 2011 invention of the “Otto” Soft White Winter Wheat variety, which has proven effective in both disease resistance and high yield in the US Pacific Northwest. Since its release, “Otto” has been planted throughout the state, and has been grown on more than 1.1 million acres of farmland.

Exceptional Service to the Office of Research Award

Todd Butler, associate dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and professor in the Department of English, won the Exceptional Service to the Office of Research Award. Butler’s active engagement in service to the Office of Research has included being a reviewer for internal and limited submission competitions, working on various committees in the Office of Research, such as the Grand Challenges committee, and providing valuable input and advice to the Office of Research.

Service Recognition Award

The Service Recognition Award is given to individuals who have performed their grant and contract administration responsibilities outstandingly above and beyond the expected or required performance within his/her work unit or area. This year’s awardees were:

  • Tom Busch, fiscal analyst II, department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Christopher Cree, campus proposal coordinator at WSU Tri‑Cities
  • Ariana Evensen, grant and contract specialist at WSU Spokane

Contribution Recognition Award

The Contribution Recognition Award is given to an individual or group whose meritorious efforts have made a unique difference on the WSU system in the field of grant and contract administration. The winners were:

  • Susan Cao, project specialist in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
  • Mary Cody, fiscal office and management analyst in the Institute for Shock Physics

Pioneer Award

The administrative team from the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, led by Becky Manning, received the Pioneer Award. This distinguished award, only given out twice in the past, recognizes an individual or a group whose meritorious efforts have made a unique difference with a far reaching, significant and influential impact on the WSU system locally, regionally, nationally and/or internationally in the field of grant and contract administration. The team also includes: Pama Manoranjan, Trang Voulgarakis, Sara Pepper, Kristina Elkins, Troy Jackson, and Selestine Njoga. The Allen School administrative team provided support for Kenya-based faculty following a cooperative agreement with the Center for Disease and Control that required immediate implementation.

The team worked with central WSU administration to devise a mechanism to forward and reconcile funds that were transparent and compliant with internal and external audits. Additionally, the team sought and received help from multiple sources, including WSU’s Office of Research, Finance and Administration, International Studies, the Attorneys General office, and others to grow these programs.

Research Week competitions

As part of this year’s Research Week celebration, the Office of Research and the Graduate School also cosponsored several competitions: seed grants for individual investigators ($10K and a research assistantship for two semesters) and a team planning grant ($50K + a research assistantship for two semesters), as well as the travel grants for developing industry collaborations and pitching the business value of your research.

Read the following article to learn about the winners of this year’s competitions and their impressive work.