Science Institute

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Mission Statement

The Science Institute at Fairfield University is an endowed program in the College of Arts & Sciences that supports activities and programs in the areas of science and mathematics including innovative teaching, curriculum development, lectures, and seed grants for research, along with projects that promote the cultivation of an appreciation for scientific teaching and inquiry in the University and the community at large.

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Apply for a Grant

The cycle of applications are as follows:

  • IDC Grant: This RFP will support research projects that have a strong potential for development into externally funded research grants. Grant amounts will vary annually and will be based on indirect costs from external grants.
  • General Science Institute Grant: This RFP will award grants up to $2,000 that further the study and teaching of the sciences through research, curriculum development, faculty development, or programs.
  • Summer Student/Faculty Research Grant: This RFP will award $5,000 summer research grants to support a student for eight weeks of faculty-supervised research in the natural sciences.
  • Rolling Grant (ongoing): This RFP will support grants of up to $1,000 that may fall outside of our spring RFP schedule for areas currently underfunded at the university, but vital for the continued success and professional development of our faculty and students.

IDC Grant - Grant deadline: October 16, 2023

General Science Institute Grant - RFP: January 17, 2024; Grant deadline: February 15, 2024

Summer Student/Faculty Research Grant - RFP: February 1, 2024; Grant deadline: March 1, 2024

Rolling Grant - RFP & Grant deadline: Ongoing

About The Science Institute

  1. The Institute considers the sciences to include the study of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and some areas of the social sciences that employ scientific approaches. The Institute also welcomes proposals from social and behavioral scientists and humanists that are scientific in approach, or that attempt to cast light on questions of philosophy, history, or criticism relevant to the sciences and scientific inquiry.  The Science Institute supports projects in these areas through the financial resources of the Science Institute Quasi Endowment, the Science Endowment Fund, the Klimas fund, and a portion of Indirect Costs generated by previously funded research grants.
  2. The Science Institute director is appointed by the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and supported by an advisory committee made up of faculty. Together with the dean’s office, this committee has responsibility for disseminating information to the faculty regarding the mission of the Institute, and for establishing guidelines and procedures for reviewing and selecting proposals.  The Science Fund is administered by the dean of the College and is subject to review by the Academic Vice President in accordance with normal institutional operating procedures.
  3. Members of the committee are appointed by the dean, in consultation with the director of the Science Institute, serving a three-year term. The composition of the committee includes faculty from three different science/math departments.
  4. At least one Requests for Proposals (RFPs) will be solicited annually, dependent on funding. The specific goals and objectives for each RFP will be included in the call, along with an application for that RFP. Proposals should address projects which enhance the educational experience of students and/or faculty development through programs in the sciences (as defined above). Applications may be submitted by College faculty from the appropriate departments, accompanied by a note of support from the faculty member’s department chair (where applicable).  Seed grants for faculty research that will increase the likelihood of procuring external funding are particularly encouraged, as are programs and activities that further engage undergraduates in scientific inquiry. Proposals that advance the implementation of the University strategic plan and/or the strategic priorities of the College of Arts & Sciences will be given special consideration. 
  5. The Science Institute director in consultation with the Advisory Committee, recognizes the primary responsibility to award funds in a judicious manner. The Science Institute utilizes an annual, limited allotment of funds.  Applications are competitive and funds are distributed after a thorough consideration of all proposals.  While a good faith effort is made during the selection process to fund worthy proposals, there should be no expectation that submitted proposals will be funded.  Applicants are therefore encouraged to seek simultaneously other funding sources.  Science Institute grants are designed for “seed money” for research projects or small-scale projects or initiatives. Perennial, long-term, or large-scale projects will require alternate funding to continue beyond the scope of Institute grants.
  6. Applications are submitted electronically to Proposals must follow the published application form and guidelines for that particular request for proposal. The proposal must include a detailed budget of anticipated expenses, which directly refer to the activities in the proposal. The Science Institute will consider all applications as final submissions.  The committee reserves the right to ask for further information as needed.  However, applicants should not expect to appeal – by addenda or post-deadline details – decisions of the dean. The dean’s letter of notification will attempt to give useful feedback and suggestions.
  7. Faculty award recipients will be expected to submit a brief report at the end of the award period that summarizes the actual use of the funds and the significance or impact of the project with respect to the goals of the program.

The Science Institute welcomes your ongoing participation and encourages all faculty members in the College to maximize this wonderful but limited resource.

Past Award Recipients

  • Joseph Deluca, Faculty/Student Research: Reducing transphobia among college students: A randomized controlled trial
  • Karl Schmidt, Faculty/Student Research: Stress alterations of the discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine in rodents
  • Janet Striuli, Laura McSweeney, Campus Event: Breaking the stereotype on who math majors are and what they do! In Fall 2023
  • Brian Walker, Student Development: Presentation of Student Research – 11th International Penguin Conference, Vina del Mar, Chile by Jada Ormsbee
  • Mike Andreychik, Faculty/Student Research: Reexamining Foundational Assumptions about Implicit Bias
  • Gregory Burzynski, Curriculum Development: The Sound of Science: Enriching Non-STEM-Major Experiences through Excursions to the Long Island Sound
  • Kerry Cannity, Faculty/Student Research: The Stability of Immediate and Delayed Memory Against Anxiety and Attention Problems
  • Anita Fernandez, Faculty/Student Development: Research Student Participation (3 students) in the 23rd International C. elegans Meeting in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Frances Forrest, Curriculum Development: Enhancing the Anthropology Curriculum through the use of High-Quality Skeletal Casts
  • Shannon Gerry, Curriculum Development: Field trip to Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk with 5 Honors Program students
  • Emily Hangen, Kerry Cannity, Kathleen Tomlin, Faculty/Student Research: Proven Performance vs. Unproven Potential: Gender Bias in Evaluation of Potential Hires
  • Shannon Harding, Faculty/Student Research: Taurine supplementation in socially isolated female rats: effects on spatial memory and anxiety- adepressive- like behaviors
  • Amanda Harper-Leatherman, John Miecznikowski, L. Kraig Steffen, Campus Event: Fairfield University Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Gathering Fall 2023
  • Matt Kubasik, Faculty/Student Research: Acquisition of Schrödinger Software for Conformational Searching of Small Peptides
  • John Miecznikowski, Faculty/Student Research: Preparation and characterization of first row transition metal complexes that contain novel pincer ligands with oxygen, nitrogen, and oxygen donor atoms
  • Shelley Phelan, Faculty/Student Research: Isolation of high-quality RNA from breast cancer cells for quantitative PCR
  • Ashley Byun, Faculty/Student Research: The First Cat Call: Reconstructing the Ancestral Vocalizations of Felidae
  • Laura Dumitrescu, Faculty Research: High-dimensional Methods for Longitudinal Sampling Surveys
  • Anita Fernandez, Faculty/Student Research: An RNAi screen for modifiers of the dhc-1;mel-28 mutant phenotype
  • Emily Hangen, Faculty Research: Painful Promotion: How likeability interacts with empathy in the development of coworker envy and resulting motivation
  • Brian Walker, Faculty Research: Microplastic Contamination in Atlantic Puffins and Arctic Terns Breeding in the Gulf of Maine
  • Matthew LaClair, Ashley Byun and Victoria Pellegatto ‘23, Faculty/Student Research: If You Give a Monkey an iPad
  • Jillian Smith-Carpenter and Bianca Pineiro ’25 and Julianna Manson ‘24, Faculty/Student Research: Structural and Chemical Characterization of Self-Assembling Nucleopeptides
  • Robert Navarian and Brody Matijevic ‘25, Faculty/Student Research: Constructing an Emergent Constraint for Mid-Latitude Extreme Precipitation
  • Brian Walker and Jada Ormsbee ‘24, Faculty/Student Research: Presence of Microplastic Contamination in Magellanic Penguin Chicks from Punta Tombo Colony, Argentina
  • Kerry Cannity, Faculty/Student Research: Therapist Disclosure to Combat COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy
  • Pierre Christian, Faculty/Student Research: Black Holes in Virtual Reality
  • Shannon Harding and Aaron Van Dyke, Faculty/Student Research: Social isolation during mid- or late-adolescence: effects on anxiety, social behaviors and cognition in male and female rats
  • Shannon Harding, Curriculum Development: Collaborative teaching in the sciences: Interdisciplinary teaching in Psychology, Physiology, Pharmacology, and Mathematics
  • Olivia Harriot, Curriculum Development: Use of the miniPCR® DNA Discovery System Pro in a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE)
  • Jessica Karanian, Faculty/Student Research: Elucidating the role of sensory cortical regions during memory errors
  • Anita Fernandez, Faculty/Student Research: Characterization of sperm function in C. elegans mutants with defective dynactin
  • Matthew LaClair and Ashley Byun, Faculty/Student Research: Examining interspecies social learning in zoo primates
  • Brian Walker, Faculty/Student Research: Incidence of microplastic contamination in penguins using non-invasive fecal analysis: a comparison of captive and wild birds
  • Ashley Byun and Cristina Navarro-Martinez’22, Faculty/Student Research: Ancestral Reconstruction of Cat Calls
  • Chelsie Counsell and Rebecca Buonopane’22 , Faculty/Student Research: Investigating the role of adjacent habitat quality in structuring cryptic reef communities
  • Anita Fernandez and Julia Stobierska’23, Faculty/Student Research: Fertility in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model to study microtubule motor regulation
  • Brian Walker and Gabriel Rodrigues’22, Faculty/Student Research: Analysis of Microplastics in Animal Feces – A Focus on Penguins, with Gabriel Rodrigues
  • David Winn and Andrew Maresca’23 , Faculty/Student Research: Study of high speed photodetectors for detecting photon-jets at the Large Hadron Collider
  • Zhanar Berikkcz, Creation of the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM) Student Chapter and Workshop for Fairfield Students in Mathematics
  • Ashly Byun, Faculty/Student Research: Ancestral Reconstruction of the Calls of Cats (Felidae)
  • Shannon Gerry, Faculty/Student Research: Upgrade of LabChart software
  • Matthew Kubasik, Faculty/Student Research: Acquisition of Enterprise WebMO for Secure Remote Access to Quantum Chemistry Software
  • Angela Biselli and Brenna Petrelli, Faculty/Student Research: Study of the Optimal Configuration for the DVCS Experiment with Polarized Target
  • John Miecznikowski and Natalia Bertolotti, Faculty/Student Research: “Synthesis, Experimental Characterization, and Electrocatalytic Activity of nickel(II) pincer complexes
  • John Miecznikowski and Allison Smolinsky, Faculty/Student Research: Synthesis, Experimental Characterization, and Electrocatalytic Activity of nickel(II) pincer complexes
  • Ashley Byun and Murray Patterson, Faculty/Student Research: Reconstructing the Ancestral Calls of Cats (Family Felidae)
  • Mark Demers, Faculty Development: Instructional Technologies in Mathematics
  • Anita Fernandez, Faculty/Student Research: Deciphering the dynein/MEL-28 interaction that controls fertility in the nematode worm C. elegans
  • Ben Fine, The Axiomatics of Free Group Rings
  • Matthew Kubasik, Software Upgrades for IgorPro Software for Research in Quantum Biophysics
  • Margaret McClure, Faculty/Student Research: Psychology Majors Attendance at Scientific Conferences in the Field of Clinical Psychology: Dissemination of Research on Intimate Partner Violence in College Dating Relationships
  • John Miecznikowski, Acta Crystallographica Section E: Crystallographic Communications
  • Robert Nazarian, Faculty/Student Research: Analysis of Large Data sets in Ocean and Nuclear Physics
  • Brian Walker, International Symposium on Avian Endocrinology in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Ben Fine, Elementary & Universal Theory of Group Rings
  • Shannon Gerry, Expanding the Biology Museum Collection Skeletons
  • Shannon Harding, Neuropharmacology research and post-graduate opportunities at National University of Ireland at Galway
  • Ashley Byun, Faculty/Student Research: The expeditions to locate and document the distribution of the critically endangered southern muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides) in the Serra do Mar, Brazil
  • Brian Walker, Faculty/Student Research: Patterns of Cortisol expression in college students in response to participation in Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Patrick Brooks, Faculty/Student Research: New York Virtual Volcano Observatory (NYVVO)
  • Ashley Byun, Faculty/Student Research: Use of Local ethnozoological information to locate and document the distribution of the southern muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides) in the Serra do Mar and Serra da Bocaina, Brazil
  • Amanda Harper-Leatherman, Matthew Kubasik and John Miecznikowski, Faculty/Student Development Event Re: Annual Alumni Gathering
  • Amanda Harper-Leatherman and Michael Andreychik, Using the Implicit Association Task (IAT) to investigate unconscious (implicit) bias towards single parents
  • Margaret McClure, Faculty/Student Research: Psychology Majors Attendance at Scientific Conferences in the Field of Clinical Psychology: Dissemination of Research on Intimate Partner Violence in College Dating Relationships
  • John Miecznikowski, Faculty/Student Research: Journal of Visualized Experiments
  • Shannon Gerry and Ashley Stoehr, Curriculum Development: Marine Biology Research Cruise
  • Aaron Van Dyke, Faculty/Student Research: eMSTAT: Statistical Analysis Software for Advancing Faculty-Mentored and Course-Based Undergraduate Research
  • Michael Andreychik, A Large Scale Study of Interventions to Reduce Implicit Bias
  • Paul Baginski, Non-Abelian Davenport Constants
  • Sara Brill, Aristotle’s Political Animals: Teaching at the Interstices of Aristotle’s Zoology, Politics and Ethics
  • Sharon Gerry, Aquarium Field Trip for the Ichthyology Capstone
  • Amanda Harper-Leatherman and Dr. Aaron Van Dyke, Faculty and Student Development for Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans
  • Linda Henkel, Does Editing our Photos Edit our Memories
  • Margaret McClure, Faculty/Student Research: Psychology Majors Attendance at Scientific Conferences in the Field of Clinical Psychology: Dissemination of Research on Intimate Partner Violence in College Dating Relationships
  • Shannon Gerry and Clinton Moran, Marine Biology Research Vessel and Aquarium
  • John Miecznikowksi, Funding for Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars Events
  • Jillian Smith-Carpenter, Faculty/Student Research: Synthesis and Characterization of 1, 2-Dithiolane Modified Self-Assembly Peptides

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