University of Montana Assistant Professor Mike Rosulek recently received the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for junior faculty.
The Faculty Early Career Development award, also known as a CAREER grant, is given annually to junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.
CAREER grant awards generally range from $400,000 to $1 million. Rosulek will receive $492,588 over five years, which will support his research in secure multi-party computation, a branch of cryptography.
Secure multiparty computation allows mutually distrusting parties to collectively carry out a particular task such as statistics, data-mining or fair randomness generation, while still preserving the privacy of the raw data to the greatest extent.
According to Rosulek, as society becomes increasingly reliant on powerful interconnected computing devices, the problems of combining functionality and information privacy become increasingly relevant.
“The college is very happy for Mike,” said Chris Comer, dean of UM’s College of Arts and Sciences. “He is being recognized for his high-quality science and his potential for broad impact on future computer scientists. We strongly agree with that assessment.”
Each year, between 350 and 400 assistant professors nationally earn CAREER grants. Rosulek joins other UM scientists who have received this honor in the past.
Last year, geosciences Assistant Professor Rebecca Bendick earned the award for her research on different spatial scales and styles of tectonics in southwestern Montana and nearby Idaho, using high-precision GPS and mathematical modeling.
Bendick said understanding continental tectonics helps us to understand how mountain ranges grow and evolve, when river systems rearrange and redistribute habitat and species, and where large and small earthquakes may occur.
UM had multiple researchers earn the five-year awards in 2008 and 2009. Biology Assistant Professors Vanessa Ezenwa and Creagh Breuner received them in 2008, while chemistry Assistant Professor Klara Briknarova and biology Assistant Professors Lila Fishman and Art Woods received the 2009 awards.
“We have had a good run with these CAREER awards,” said David Forbes, interim vice president for research and development. “The number of awards we’ve received in recent years show the commitment of our faculty and excellence in innovative ideas.”