Seven UO faculty members to receive 2017 Research Excellence Awards

UO researchers making an impact in biology, mathematics, physics and psychology have been chosen as winners of 2017 Research Excellence Awards.

Presented by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, the awards celebrate the significant impact of UO faculty members engaged in research and scholarly activity.

This year seven faculty members are being recognized for research excellence in five awards categories.

The Outstanding Career Award will go to Paul Slovic, a professor in the Department of Psychology. The award is given to tenured faculty members at the associate or full professor rank with a history of distinguished scholarship. Slovic has been a fixture in the psychology department since 1966 and his work on decision making and risk perception has had huge societal impact. Slovic's research is also highly significant to academia, as he is ranked 325th among scientists of all time in the citation of his work. This significance is further displayed in the number of awards Slovic has received over the years including 

  • Society for Risk Analysis Distinguished Contribution Award in 1991

  • American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1993

  • Oregon Academy of ScienceOutstanding Contribution to Science Award in 1995

  • Stockholm School of Economics honorary doctorate in 1996

  • University of East Anglia honorary doctorate in 2005

In 2015, Slovic was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2016. These awards and titles demonstrate Slovic's long and impactful research career.

The winner of the Early Career Award is Ben Elias, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics. The honor recognizes tenure-track faculty members at the assistant professor rank who have a track record of significant scholarship and emergent recognition. Elias received the award due to his prolific publications, including a high impact paper in the pristigious journal Annals of Mathematics, as well as his national recognition through receiving an NSF Early Career Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and the New Horizons in Mathematics Prize. 

The award for an Outstanding Accomplishment Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Researcher goes to Robert Schofield, a research assistant professor in the Center for High Energy Physics. The award honors a non-tenure-track faculty member engaged in independent research activities. Schofield received the award for his crucial contributions to the first discovery of gravitational waves. This discovery was named Science Breakthrough of the Year and received the Breakthrough Prize in addition to bringing significant national attention to the University of Oregon.

The award for Outstanding Accomplishment Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support goes to Steve Wiemhold, a research specialist and instrument engineer in the Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon (CAMCOR). The award recognizes a non-tenure track faculty member with a documented record of providing exceptional and innovative technical support to UO researchers. Wiemhold has been a "hero" to the CAMCOR lab managers, and his efficient work has resulted in greater than 90% instrumetn operation time. In addition, Wiemhold teaches a vacuum systems and electronics class that has been well-received by both students and their future employers. 

This year's Innovation and Impact Award goes to Shawn Lockery, Janis Weeks and William Roberts for their work developing and bringing the NemaMetrix ScreenChip system to market. The ScreenChip allows researchers to rapidly and accurately screen phenotypes of genes, drugs, and pathways in a living organism, leading to faster discovery f medical treatments. Lockery is a professor in the Department of Biology. Weeks and Roberts are professors emeriti. The award recognizes contributions by faculty and staff from any academic discipline for outstanding entrepreneurial activity that has resulted in innovations with a measurable societal or environmental impact.

The Research Excellence Awards will be delivered — along with the Distinguished Teaching Awards and Exceptional Mentorship Awards — as part of the Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 6. The ceremony is co-hosted by the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs, the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.