Supplemental Grant Recipients Complete Work Considering Technology, Law, and Policy in their Research

Tue, 02/15/2022


           This fall the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center awarded supplemental research funding to several individuals and teams that are engaged in active internally- or externally- funded research at the University of Nebraska. The Supplemental Nebraska Governance and Technology Center Research Awards are given to researchers to enable the consideration of law and policy topics relating to their ongoing research objectives. The purpose of these grants is twofold: in the near term, to encourage researchers developing new technologies to consider potential policy aspects of the research and, in the longer term, to facilitate new interdisciplinary collaborations. This fall’s supplemental award recipients were Rezaul Mahmood (School of Natural Resources), Cody Stolle (College of Engineering), Valerie Jones (College of Journalism and Mass Communications),  Moe Alahmad (College of Engineering), and (Bryan) Ming Wang (College of Journalism and Mass Communications). The timetable of each grant varies based on individual factors; so far three researchers have completed the work enabled by the NGTC’s supplemental funding.

            Moe Alahmad and his team used their funding to survey a significant amount of relevant regulation and legislation pertaining to Electrified Vehicle (EV) infrastructure in the United States, including developing a database of all existing alternative fuel vehicle registration fees in all 50 states. His team also identified “all existing federal legislation that is in place to further electric vehicle usage in the United States,” as well as state and utility incentives provided directly to consumers. According to Alahmad’s findings, twenty-eight states have implemented additional registration fees for eclectic and hybrid vehicles to offset the loss of revenue from the state’s fuel tax, as these vehicles utilize reduced or no traditional motor fuel. Alahmad’s team also surveyed state Long Range Transportation Plans, 40 of which actively address challenges and opportunities posed by the increased adoption of EVs (including an anticipated loss of fuel-tax revenue and support for EV-charging infrastructure) and 10 of which make no mention of the increased adoption of EVs.

           Valerie Jones’s award allowed her to explore law and policy issues related to her work developing the Public Insight Lab, an “interdisciplinary hub for social media research and analysis to help faculty, students, and industry stakeholders explore, learn from, and engage with the public through social media.” Jones developed a demo of the Sprinklr social listening software to educate and demonstrate the capabilities of the platform, integrating it into classes and student projects, and facilitated an interdisciplinary collaboration with researcher Ashok Samal from the School of Computing, allowing him to integrate the use of Sprinklr social listening software into his Machine Learning Class.

            Cody Stolle and his research team “completed a literature review related to the legal issues surrounding Connected and Automated Vehicles (C/AVs), implementation hurdles, technology difficulties, intellectual property rights and privacy, state interests, and state investments to date.” The research team also submitted a survey to state Departments of Transportation regarding issues related to the implementation of C/AV technologies; interest in the results of the survey was high, with more than 10 state DOTs specifically requesting Stolle’s team share the results of the survey after its completion to get a better sense of how other states are addressing anticipated issues surrounding the implementation of C/AVs. The team also met with the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) to “discuss NDOT’s interests, concerns, and priorities related to the review, selection, adoption, and implementation of existing smart-transportation technologies, as well as mechanisms to either encourage or control business interests and use of control roads or study locations in Nebraska.”

           Researchers interested in receiving supplemental funding to consider law and policy topics related to their ongoing research can find more information on the NGTC’s Supplemental Nebraska Governance and Technology Center Research Awards here.

Tags: Competitions and Grants

NGTC Supplemental Grant Recipient Headshots Underlined by