• Coastal infrastructureU Maine launches center for studying, developing coastal and offshore structures

    During a laboratory dedication on Monday at the University of Maine, the Harold Alfond Foundation announced a $3.9 million grant to the University of Maine to match $9.98 million already raised, formally establishing the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center on campus. The UMaine Composites Center is the largest STEM research and development program located in a Maine university, and is at the heart of one of UMaine’s seven Signature Areas of Excellence — Advanced Materials for Infrastructure and Energy.

  • STEM educationDHS seeking faculty, students for summer 2016 research programs

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students interested in participating in one of its 10-week programs in summer 2016, including its Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions and its Homeland Security — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (HS-STEM) Summer Internship Program. The deadlines for applying for both programs occur in December 2015.

  • CybersecurityNSF highlights more than forty years of supporting cybersecurity research and education

    New report highlights NSF-funded cybersecurity research and education. Today, NSF invests nearly $160 million each year in interdisciplinary research, education, and workforce development help protect national and personal security. This support helps scientists develop the tools, training, and people that will keep the nation safe and maintain online privacy.

  • RadicalizationFBI delays release of interactive tool to identify violent extremists

    Facing criticism, the FBI has decided to delay the release of “Don’t Be a Puppet,” an interactive program aiming to help teachers and students identify young people who show signs of flirting with radicalism and violent extremism. The program was scheduled for release Monday (yesterday). Civil rights advocates and American Muslim leaders, invited by the agency to preview the program, harshly criticized it for focusing almost exclusively on Islamic extremism. They noted that practically all the mass school shootings – and most of the violence perpetrated by extremists — in the United States had nothing to do with Islamic militants.

  • Cyber skillsIdentifying students cognitively equipped to succeed in cybersecurity

    The University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) will partner with the U.S. Air Force to conduct a two-year study designed to advance the cyber workforce. The Air Force says that by assessing abilities rather than knowledge, it will broaden its cyber pipeline while improving outcomes and maintaining a highly skilled workforce.

  • FirefightingOnline residential fire simulation tool for training firefighters

    Firefighting is not what it used to be. Whether it is a complex blaze raging in an urban high-rise or a seemingly straightforward single-level home fire, modern building construction and furnishings have made fighting fires more difficult: Flames burn hotter, produce more smoke, and spread more quickly. But fire research has advanced, too, and researchers are working with five major urban fire departments to build new knowledge on modern residential firefighting into game-based online simulations with an engaging, dynamic format.

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  • STEM educationScholars challenge colleges to reform STEM learning

    America’s colleges and universities need to transform not only how but what they teach in introductory science courses, a group of scholars say. The researchers say that college students are expected to learn too many facts that do not connect across their coursework or prepare them to apply scientific knowledge in their lives. They believe a different set of strategies taking hold in K-12 schools can be used to improve learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, during the first two years of college.

  • Risk analysisExperts are often fallible, so expert advice should be examined carefully

    Evidence shows that experts are frequently fallible, say leading risk researchers, and policy makers should not act on expert advice without using rigorous methods that balance subjective distortions inherent in expert estimates. Many governments aspire to evidence-based policy, but the researchers say the evidence on experts themselves actually shows that they are highly susceptible to “subjective influences” — from individual values and mood, to whether they stand to gain or lose from a decision — and, while highly credible, experts often vastly overestimate their objectivity and the reliability of peers. 

  • STEM educationMath story time at home markedly improves math achievement in school

    Adding math talk to story time at home is a winning equation for children’s math achievement, according to new research. The study shows a marked increase in math achievement among children whose families used Bedtime Math, an iPad app that delivers engaging math story problems for parents and children to solve together. A recent study found that math-anxious parents who help their children with math homework actually undermine their children’s math achievement – but the new findings demonstrate that structured, positive interactions around math at home can cut the link between parents’ uneasiness about math and children’s low math achievement.

  • IntelligenceThe growing link between intelligence communities and academia

    By Scott Firsing

    The events of September 11 2001 were a catalyst for change in the intelligence profession.One noticeable change: The number of universities offering an intelligence studies-related degree has grown from  a handful to few dozen. Universities are starting to develop curricula that feature practical real-world exercises and structural analytical techniques. This is often happening in collaboration with the intelligence community. Like most businesses or agencies do, universities are starting to develop specific niches. This expansion is being led by the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE), which was formed in June 2004. The field will only grow. It’s a necessary expansion to produce the professionals needed to ensure America’s national security and that of its allies for generations to come.

  • STEM educationTransforming collegiate math experience

    Throughout higher education, math courses have some of the highest failure rates nationwide. Even though math is a skill nearly every person uses on a daily basis, it has become a significant impediment to degree completion. This is what led Florida International University (FIU) to the creation of the Mastery Math program in 2010 — a high-tech, high-touch approach to improving student performance in College Algebra. FIU’s Mastery Math Program, which utilizes evidence-based teaching techniques including peer mentoring and a state-of-the-art computer lab, has since led to other projects that are reversing course on this trend.

  • Terrorism researchDOJ grants fund research into homegrown terrorism

    The University of Arkansas (UA) and Arkansas State University (ASU) will receive grants from the Department of Justice (DOJ) totaling over $900,000 to study domestic radicalization. UA will receive $399,531 to identify behavioral characteristics of homegrown terrorists who were able to evade arrest or neutralization for a long period of time to determine how their longevity affects potential recruits and the overall sustainability of larger terror groups. ASU will receive $508,403 to study how violent domestic extremists use the Internet to organize like-minded individuals, disseminate ideas and recruit new members.

  • Hurricane researchFlorida universities are national hub for hurricane mitigation research

    The National Science Foundation the other day announced grants to Florida International University and University of Florida totaling nearly $8 million that will position the state to become a national hub for research into making homes and businesses safer in hurricanes and tornadoes.

  • Middle EastLost generation: Wars prevent 13m children in Middle East, north Africa from going to school

    The UN children’s fund, in a report issued earlier today (Thursday) said that conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa have been preventing more than thirteen million children from attending school, undermining their hopes for a better future. “We’re on the verge of losing an entire generation of children in the Middle East and North Africa,” UNICEF regional director said.

  • Cybersecurity grantsDHS S&T awards Mobile Technology Security (MTS) research grants

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) on Monday announced a $759,727 cybersecurity Mobile Technology Security (MTS) research and development (R&D) award which will help secure mobile devices for the federal government. The goal of the next-generation mobile security management tools project is to look at innovative technology solutions which protect the operating layer of the mobile device, but also incorporate user identities and actions to protect against vulnerabilities.