Dr. Ehsan Sheybani is among the six USFSM professors recently chosen to receive USF Nexus Initiative grants to partner with international researchers.

Six USF Sarasota-Manatee professors awarded UNI grants

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: June 03, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 03, 2019) – Six University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee faculty members have been awarded USF Nexus Initiative (UNI) grants totaling $39,100.

“These impressive projects represent key opportunities for global collaborations that address relevant challenges,” Sandra Justice, USFSM’s director of research, said of the awards. “Lessons learned from these projects may have far-reaching benefits, from the development of new practices to strengthen entrepreneurs in Africa to innovative, ground-breaking strategies to potentially help thousands of refugees here and in New Zealand.”

Awarded were:

  • Thomas Becker, PhD, and Jean Kabongo, PhD, ($11,600) to support their collaborative research project, “The resilience of entrepreneurs in developing economies: Implications for organizational and regional effectiveness.” Becker and Kabongo, both of USFSM’s College of Business, are collaborating with James Abugre Baba of the University of Ghana, Janatti Kyogabiirwe Bagorogoza of Makerere University (Uganda) and Shepherd Dhliwayo of the University of Johannesburg.
  • Jody McBrien, PhD, of the School of Education, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, ($7,800) to support a collaborative research project with Fred Bemak, PhD, of George Mason University, entitled, “Interventions for successful refugee integration: Welcoming America in New Zealand (Welcoming Communities).”
  • Fawn Ngo, PhD, of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, ($6,900) for her collaboration with Jose Agustina, of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain). Their project is entitled, “A cross-national comparative study on the effectiveness of formal and informal responses to the crime of stalking.”
  • Giti Javidi, PhD, and Ehsan Sheybani, PhD, both of the College of Business, ($12,800) to support their collaborative project, “Modeling of blockchain, Internet of Things, and the 5th generation (5G) wireless technologies for Smart Cities development.” Sheybani and Javidi are partnering with Stavros Kotsopoulos of the University of Patras and Dmitrios D. Vergados of the University of Piraeus, both in Greece.

Recipients of the grants were informed last week. The UNI grant program was created in 2018 to enable tenured and tenure-track, full-time research faculty the opportunity to collaborate globally and nationally on scholarly and innovative projects.

In addition, the UNI program helps to sustain research and scholarship programs with researchers from other institutions and creates opportunities for graduate students to expand their research and scholarly experience. In 2018, the program’s first year, the UNI program granted $330,000 to support 33 national and global research partnerships.

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Dr. Fawn Ngo

Among this year’s collaborations, Ngo and a Spanish legal scholar will examine the effects and implications of a recently passed law in Spain aimed at stalking-related crime.

“This project represents an international collaboration to study a significant social and legal issue,” Ngo said. “Cross-national and comparative research help heighten one’s awareness of other systems, cultures and patterns of thinking and acting.

“Spain, a country that has just recently enacted an anti-stalking statute, could certainly learn from the U.S., a nation that has criminalized this behavior for almost three decades,” she said. “At the same time, the U.S. could benefit from Spain’s recent passage in that it could potentially provide the U.S. access to a wide range of alternative options and problem-solving solutions.”

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Dr. Giti Javidi

Sheybani said the grant he and Javidi received will help as they and their Greek research partners examine advanced wireless technology.

“Our proposed research will investigate the fifth generation (5G) wireless communication systems as these systems are transitioning to the 6G,” Sheybani said. “Interestingly enough, 5G has not been deployed in the market. However, some companies have already started spending research dollars on 6G. One main reason for this rush is the ever-increasing need for higher communication speed. As new applications such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), smart cities, virtual/augmented reality, gaming, quantum computing, and real-time big-data analytics are deployed, the gap widens between network system capabilities and user bandwidth/speed demands.

“This transition requires tapping into other technologies such as Internet protocol as well as blockchain,” he said. “Therefore, this research proposes to address the issues, challenges, future roadmap and pitfalls, enabling technologies and network infrastructure of the 6G wireless communication systems.”

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