Professors Receive Post-Doctoral Support Through Kent State Competition | School of Information | Kent State University

Professors Receive Post-Doctoral Support Through Kent State Competition

A proposal by Marcia Lei Zeng, Ph.D., and Yin Zhang, Ph.D., both professors in Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science, has been selected to receive post-doctoral support through the Kent State Internal Post-Doctoral Competition. Zeng, who is the principal investigator, and Zhang, who is a co-principal investigator of the project, along with researchers from three other units in the university, will receive funding for one post-doctoral associate position for a period of two years starting June 1.

This internal program provides support for about 10 post-doctoral associates per year. Kent State’s Office of the President, Office of the Provost and the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs provide this funding. The program aims to support research projects that have potential for attaining external funding.

The previous two competitions in 2012 and 2013 funded 24 post-doctoral positions, but this is the first one for the College of Communication and Information and the School of Library and Information Science.

“We participated in the 2012 competition, but did not receive funding despite high technical marks on the proposal itself,” Zeng says. “Out of the previous 24 funded positions, 20 had second-year matching support from the principal investigator’s college or department.”

This year, Zeng and Zhang decided to give it another try, and focused on the emerging big data area. They assembled an interdisciplinary project team and submitted a stronger proposal with an added practical-application case involving Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute®.

“This time, we are very grateful that Jeff Fruit, interim director of the School of Library and Information Science, and AnnMarie LeBlanc, interim dean of the College of Communication and Information, offered their best support with second-year matching funding,” Zeng says. “The director of the Liquid Crystal Institute, Hiroshi Yokoyama, also committed partial matching funds. All of these factors strengthened our proposal.”

With the help of a team of researchers from the School of Library and Information Science, the Department of Geography, the Department of History and the Liquid Crystal Institute, a proposal was submitted.

“It is evident that cross-disciplinary collaboration is a high priority for the university, and this project will benefit from its cross-disciplinary approaches,” Zhang says.

About the Research Project

The research question addressed by this project involves how to use smart big data in constructing a digital representation of innovation history. To encapsulate this, they have employed the term “Digital Innovation History.” The project proposal blends digital humanities, big data and smart data, all of which are emerging research areas. The proposal consists of a project narrative, the list of data sources, related external funding opportunities, team members’ résumés and external funding records, available resources for the project and supporting letters from each of the involved academic units.

Zeng and Zhang say that they also will seek collaborations with the School of Visual Communication Design’s faculty and students with expertise in visualization.

“We are very happy that this grant proposal was successful because in the past this post-doc research funding program has been heavily devoted to the natural science disciplines, which have been effective in obtaining external research grants,” Zeng says. “We believe that in this digital age, many research and teaching areas under the College of Communication and Information are now moving into the mainstream.“

In 2014, Zeng was named one of three Kent State Distinguished Scholar Award recipients for her work on metadata, knowledge organization and digital libraries.

Zeng and Zhang say that this current project covers new ground, and the research will be consistently reshaped by new theories and technologies throughout the process.

“We can sense the challenges and pressures in exploring such a developing area. We appreciate the support from the university, College of Communication and Information and our participating units, and we look forward to this adventure,” Zeng says. 

For more information about Kent State's School of Library and Information Science, visit www.kent.edu/slis.