UH represents National Science Foundation program at its 2008 Budget Rollout/Open House

Hawaii's EPSCoR team one of 15 selected nationwide to represent various NSF programs

University of Hawaiʻi
Ken Kaneshiro, (808) 956-6739
Center for Conservation Research & Training
Posted: Feb 26, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — The University of Hawaiʻi‘s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) team, led by project co-director Kenneth Kaneshiro, who is also director of UH Mānoa‘s Center for Conservation Research & Training, represented 27 EPSCoR jurisdictions throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands at the 2008 National Science Foundation‘s (NSF) Budget Rollout/Open House last month in Arlington, Virginia. The purpose of the event was to involve, educate and inform key constituencies such as congressional staff, media, professional societies, corporations and interested publics regarding NSF‘s 2008 budget request.

The Hawaiʻi team‘s project on Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Research & Education was one of 15 selected nationwide to represent the various National Science Foundation directorates during the open house. Kaneshiro was one of 15 exhibitors participating in the first-of-a-kind showcase of NSF research projects for public participation.

"We are extremely proud to have been hand-picked to represent the different programs within the National Science Foundation," said Kaneshiro. "Participation in this event gave the Hawaiʻi EPSCoR project tremendous exposure to the administration of NSF, as well as to many of the program officers who stopped by our exhibit to talk about the work we are doing in Hawaiʻi."

Kaneshiro and his team were invited to prepare an exhibit for the event due to their accomplishments in the area of Cyberinfrastructure during the three years of EPSCoR Hawaiʻi‘s first NSF grant. In partnership with Stanford University‘s National Biocomputation Center, they developed a wireless environmental monitoring system that would allow to collect real-time environmental data from the most remote and rugged regions of the islands and the world. The exhibit focused on some of the unique biophysical features of island ecosystems, and how Hawaiʻi‘s natural heritage has played an important role in science education in the state.

The testbed site for the monitoring system is located on the North Shore of Kauaʻi and encompasses a 50-square-mile area in a wet rainforest ecosystem with deep valleys at the base of Mt. Waialeale. "The site was selected to challenge us with the deployment of this technology in one of the most remote and rugged regions of our state," said Kaneshiro.

Kaneshiro shared, "When NSF's EPSCoR Program Officer Dr. James Gosz visited our testbed site on Kauai (by helicopter), he looked up into the top of the ridges that were under the clouds where our repeater stations were located, and the expanse of the region where we are able to collect real-time environmental data wirelessly, and said that he just ʻdid not realize the scope and the scale of what we can do.‘"

The success of Kaneshiro and his team's work has resulted in a spin-off company called Intelensense Technologies. With its corporate office located in Hawaiʻi and research and development offices in Silicon Valley, the company has developed a world-wide wireless sensor network for air, water, weather and imagery that communicates its data over the Internet from anywhere in the world. "The technology has already expanded to monitoring and tracking things like emerging infectious diseases such as the bird flu," said Kaneshiro.

EPSCoR Hawaiʻi received a second three-year NSF grant for $9 million in May 2006. The grant will continue to support activities of "Investing in Multidisciplinary University Activities through NSF Hawaiʻi EPSCoR: IMUA NSF Hawaiʻi EPSCoR," an NSF program administered by UH, as well as create more opportunities to obtain research funding from the federal government. IMUA NSF Hawaiʻi EPSCoR is intended to aid the state with its efforts to increase research infrastructure in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Kaneshiro's work is one of several projects managed by EPSCoR Hawaiʻi.

To learn more about IMUA NSF EPSCoR Hawaiʻi and associated projects, visit the website at http://www.epscor.hawaii.edu/.

For more information, visit: http://www.epscor.hawaii.edu/.