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2017 Success in Multidisciplinary Research

The Success in Multidisciplinary Research award is given to a team of faculty members in more than one academic college who have succeeded in gaining major external resources and recognition for multidisciplinary research.

Knoxville Urban Observatory

As urbanization escalates in the region, three assistant professors—Kelsey Ellis, geography; Jon Hathaway, civil and environmental engineering; and Lisa Reyes Mason, social work—are working to understand its impact on both people and the environment. In August 2013, they established the Knoxville Urban Observatory to drive research in this area from each of their disciplinary perspectives. The team collected data from 10 sensor-based monitoring stations and examined people’s experiences with those conditions, noting how the presence of climate variations affects stress in lower-income neighborhoods. The research has so far resulted in four refereed journal articles, seven refereed conference presentations, media coverage, and combined internal and external grant funding of nearly $400,000. The project has also presented research opportunities for a dozen UT students.