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Faculty Research

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette believes that faculty research is central to fostering student engagement and creating a quality learning environment. Our support and encouragement of applied research, combined with our dedication to providing students with a classroom experience enriched with active learning and community involvement, is one of the University's greatest strengths when it comes to attracting high-quality faculty and students.

UL Lafayette is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University with High Research Activity. The University reported research and development expenditures in the amount of $65.2 million dollars for the 2012 National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey. With an additional $9.4 million spent on other sponsored programs, the University spent a total of $74.6 million dollars on research and sponsored programs in 2012. Over the last three fiscal years, our largest federal sponsors were the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.

Over the past decade, our faculty's innovative research has placed UL Lafayette among the top 200 universities in the nation when it comes to research and development funding. Whether they are utilizing our state-of-the-art facilities, taking advantage of Louisiana's unique coastal geography and ecology, or our close association with the unique Cajun and Creole cultures, scientists at UL Lafayette are conducting real-world research seeks to explain and solve real-world issues that affect the lives of people around the globe.

Our faculty's research is helping to preserve our past, enhance our lives, and shape our future.

  • Dr. Peter Sheppard, associate professor of education, received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help the University produce highly qualified teachers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The new program, called "Strengthening Teacher Education through Mathematics & Science Teaching Scholars in Louisiana," is for students who aim to double major in education and a STEM discipline.
  • Researchers from the University's Institute for Coastal Ecology and Engineering and the School of Geosciences received a $480,000 grant to study the water management and usage in the 9,000-square-mile Chicot Aquifer. The aquifer collects and supplies groundwater for 15 parishes.
  • Mechanical engineering professor of practice Dr. Ray Boudreaux's NASA-funded research focuses on astronaut bone loss, which is especially important for astronauts who spend extended amounts of time in space. Dr. Boudreaux collaborated with labs at Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and MIT to determine how astronauts can reduce that bone loss by performing specific exercises. His research is expected to influence NASA's plans for a mission to Mars.
  • Dr. Miao Jin, an assistant professor at the Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS), was presented with the most recent NSF Career award. She received $420,000 to pursue the application of computational quasiconformal geometry to improve the way computers recognize faces.
  • Biology professors Dr. Paul Klerks and Dr. Joseph Neigel are leading two teams of researchers that are studying the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem. One team is examining how razor clams and ghost shrimp influence the way oil is distributed and ultimately broken down by bacteria along the coast. The other is trying to uncover the possible impact of the spill on blue crabs by looking at their genes. These studies are being conducted through our Biology Department and the Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology.
  • The University has partnered with Drexel University to address one of the nation’s most pressing challenges: “big data.” Big data describes the growing volume, variety and velocity of information in the world—to convey the size, types and speed of data produced every day, IBM researchers have determined that 90 percent of all data has been created in the past couple of years. Our team of researchers have established the Center for Visual & Decision Informatics (CVDI) that can help companies gain an edge in the global marketplace by learning to interpret and analyze “big data.”
  • The Center for Business & Information Technologies (CBIT) conducts research on a multitude of projects to develop software and systems, which can then be commercialized as part of a strategic plan to bring economic development and diversification to the area. CBIT reinforces Lafayette’s nickname, Silicon Bayou, by hosting the annual CajunCodefest, a conference cum “coding marathon” that brings together creative thinkers and programmers of all types to innovate, create valuable services, and make Louisiana and the U.S. a better place to live, work, and do business.