Baylor University
Department of Geosciences
College of Arts and Sciences


(Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research)

Execitive Summary

The Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research (CRASR) was organized in 2003 with the goal of integrating and focusing water-related research at Baylor. We have made excellent progress in our goal towards developing a cohesive research group that seeks to understand how aquatic systems in general and reservoirs in particular function. We have developed a team of researchers who can examine the sources, fate, transport and biotic responses to natural and anthropogenic compounds in our aquatic systems. In doing so, we have stimulated graduate and undergraduate education, success in obtaining external funds, and publication of research findings in peer-reviewed journals. We propose to strengthen and expand our capabilities to allow our aquatic research and training programs to continue progress towards our goal of service to society.

What is the proposed activity?

The CRASR Expansion Major Strategic Plan proposes a two-phased plan to enhance and expand the water-related research at Baylor University. In short, we propose to develop 20 modules of research lab space on the 4th floor of the Baylor Sciences Building to consolidate existing aquatic science faculty. In addition, we propose to hire one replacement faculty position and three expansion faculty positions as well as one staff outreach coordinator.

In Phase I (FY 07-09). Twelve modules of shell space in the Baylor Science Building will be developed for research lab space to consolidate CRASR-related scientists on the fourth floor of the BSB. In addition, we will provide key support facilities for a walk-in cold storage room and culture facilities for aquatic organisms needed for environmental toxicology work.

In Phase II (FY 10-12). Four CRASR-related aquatic scientists will be hired into participating departments. One hire will be a replacement hire for a retiring researchactive faculty member and the other three hires will be new hires in key interdisciplinary fields to support CRASR's mission. Lab space for these scientists will be outfitted from shell space. Finally, we will hire one professional staff outreach coordinator to continue the educational outreach programs currently being developed with external federal funds.

Why should this be implemented?

Phase I will consolidate existing aquatic science faculty to the 4th floor of the BSB. This move will provide the critical synergy that will allow the long-term success of CRASR's mission. This move is consistent with the basic philosophy in the development of the BSB- to provide interactive space for interdisciplinary research to thrive. The Departments of Biology, Geology and Environmental Studies have embraced this vision for collaborative research in the aquatic sciences. The appropriate location for faculty hired after the move to the BSB is in the CRASR "water wing." Providing research lab space in close physical proximity has already proven a successful model to stimulate research. In addition, new faculty have recently invested significant portions of their start up funds to purchase equipment to be housed in the shared CRASR instrumentation lab on the 4th floor of the BSB.

Phase II will allow us strategic hires to fill existing gaps in interdisciplinary fields.

These key hires will provide needed "big picture" research expertise. This will benefit CRASR by making us increasingly competitive for large-scale federal funding from the National Science Foundation. In addition, we will hire a professional staff outreach coordinator to continue outreach efforts to local school districts. This position will also provide the required "broader impacts" portion of NSF proposals.

Collectively, Phase I and II directly contribute to eight of Vision 2012's twelve imperatives. CRASR scientists have been very successful in securing about $6M in external funds and publishing approximately 70 peer reviewed journal articles (see Appendix 1 and 2). We believe that this expansion will ensure long-term continuation of the interactions that have begun to provide these key components of moving Baylor University in the direction of a tier I institution.

How will the program be assessed?

The CRASR expansion proposal is designed to support water related research and education. Our assessment endpoints are related to these objectives.

External funding: CRASR related scientists will maintain at least $750,000 per year in external grant expenditures.

New Faculty: Departments collaborating with CRASR will successfully hire outstanding, research-focused faculty members.

Graduate Education: CRASR scientists will be actively engaged in graduate education and maintain an average of two graduate students in their labs. Collectively, we will graduate an average of two students per year from CRASR related labs.

Undergraduate Education: CRASR will develop external funding to create a program to fund summer undergraduate research experiences. Additionally, we will provide an average of 20 opportunities for undergraduate research lab experiences per year in our labs (approximately two per lab per year).

Peer-reviewed publications: For better or worse, peer reviewed publications is the currency of research-focused programs. CRASR related scientists will maintain an average of two peer reviewed publications per year.