RTI International launched the RTI University Scholars Program in 2014 as a catalyst for promoting research collaborations between the institution and North Carolina’s top academic scholars. The program provides support for distinguished academic researchers to spend a year of scholarly leave time from their home institutions to participate in projects that will form the basis of ground-breaking research in the future.

RTI hosted two University Scholars in the program’s inaugural year 2014-15, seven in 2015-2016, and six in 2016-2017. Two NC State faculty were among the five selected for the 2017-18 academic year.

The program is open to faculty members from Duke and all 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina System. Applications for the 2018-19 academic year will be accepted through January 11,2018.

NC State 2017-18 Scholars

Yang Zhang, PhD

Professor, Department Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
RTI Collaborator: Prakash Doraiswamy, PhD
Research Focus: Effective strategies for air quality and health improvement

Abstract: This is a proposal in collaboration with RTI to study the health effects of air pollution in a changing climate.  It builds upon RTI’s multidisciplinary expertise with NC State’s expertise in air quality and climate modeling.

Professor Yang Zhang

James Levis, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering

RTI Collaborator: Keith Weitz, MEM
Research Focus: Sustainable materials management and the use of nanomaterials in wastewater systems

Abstract: Real-time decision-support is a critical need to ensure the smart and sustainable development of new products, technologies, and advanced materials. These tools are necessary to ensure optimal use of material and energy resources. The need for more sustainable products and materials are evidenced by the growth of “green design” and “Smart City” technologies for enhancing the sustainable management of energy, water, waste, and transport systems. Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools coupled with real-time analyses can help researchers, scientists, managers, and decision-makers ensure product and technology sustainability through the transparent provision of critical information in design and development phases. LCA typically provides a systematic assessment of the potential environmental impacts of a product throughout its life-cycle stages (i.e., from “cradle-to-grave”), while real-time LCA tools focus on providing transparent, screening-level analyses that help guide the design of products, processes, and systems. The overall goal of the proposed project is to build upon RTI and North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) collaborative life-cycle modeling experience to develop and use a real-time LCA tool that will help guide decision support. The real-time LCA tool will be designed for diverse applications as well as be suitable for rapid, screening-level decision support in product design and development phases. Initial applications will focus on sustainable materials management (SMM) and the use of nanomaterials in wastewater systems (e.g., nano-sorbents and nano-catalysts). Once developed, this tool will help RTI-NCSU collaborative teams attract additional, external funding, such as the application of the real-time LCA tool on different case studies and/or for different stakeholder groups.

Research Assistant Professor James Lewis

NC State 2016-17 Scholars

Owen Duckworth, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Soil Science
RTI Collaborator: James Harrington, PhD
Research Focus: Novel biotechnologies to improve water and food safety

Owen Duckworth

Sylvia Nassar-McMillan, PhD

Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development
RTI Collaborators: Eric Johnson, PhD and Peter Joyce, EdD
Research Focus: Career counseling, particularly in the MENA region

Sylvia Nassar

Nagui Rouphail, PhD

Professor, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
RTI Collaborator: Alan Karr, PhD
Research Focus: Transportation data

Nagui Rouphail