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USD Professors Awarded Competitive Research Grants

VERMILLION, S.D. – Two University of South Dakota College of Arts & Sciences faculty members received a South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) Competitive Research Grant this year. The grant program invests in researchers to enhance the research capabilities and capacities of the state universities and benefits the state’s economic development.

Pere Miro headshotPere Miro, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, received a $79,000 grant for his project, “Discovering the Role of Transient Species in the Nucleation of Actinide Molecular Metal Oxides.” This project is relevant to the study of old uranium mining sites such as the Edgemont Mill Disposal Site in Edgemont, South Dakota. Miro’s project will help better understand the development of new processes for the treatment of mining tailings, contaminated underground waters and nuclear waste.

Wenqin Xu, Ph.D., head shot

Wenqin Xu, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, received an award of $20,000 for his project in experimental support and technology development for underground, neutrinoless double beta decay. Xu’s research will continue to contribute to the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR (MJD) NeutrinoLess Double Beta Decay (NLDBD) experiment at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota.

Both Miro and Xu plan to further their research through the grants provided by the Board of Regents.

“The Competitive Research Grant program is a great way to highlight some of the important research happening here at USD,” said Daniel Engebretson, Ph.D., vice president for research and sponsored programs. “It’s encouraging that the state recognizes the benefits of research being conducted at the universities across the state, and having the state’s support is an honor. Dr. Miro and Dr. Xu are both talented, motivated researchers who will make an impact far beyond the borders of our state.”


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News