Office of Research Names New Faculty Fellow to Focus on Young Investigator Success

By: Zenaida Kotala on

Professor Saiful Khondaker, PhD, has been named a Faculty Fellow in the Office of Research for 2019, a new position created last year to find ways to improve services provided in research administration, which will also help the Office of Research reach its strategic goals, including doubling research funding by 2020.

Dr. Khondaker, who has joint appointments in the NanoScience Technology Center, the Department of Physics, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will help junior faculty prepare competitive grant proposals that are essential to their success and enhance UCF’s reputation as a leading research institution.

Dr. Khondaker, who has received a National Science Foundation CAREER grant among others, will pay special attention on helping junior faculty seek new grants offered by national organizations such as the NSF, the Department of Energy and NASA, among others. These grants usually generate hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years and are considered among the most prestigious in the academic world.

“Dr. Khondaker has a long, strong history of mentoring, which makes him a good fit for this important position,” says Debra Reinhart, associate vice president for Research and Scholarship who is overseeing the new initiative.

Professor Saiful Khondaker
Professor Saiful Khondaker

Dr. Khondaker, who says he had good mentors himself, plans to help researchers market their ideas so program managers take an interest.

“Our faculty have lots of good ideas,” he says. “But the trick is knowing how to market them to the program managers and reviewers who impact the decisions about who gets funded. I’m very excited to share what I’ve learned through trial and error and through panels I’ve served on.”

While the goal is to help the university reach its strategic goals, Khondaker says landing big grants also has benefits for the recipients.

“These awards are very prestigious,” he says. “A new investigator can use them as a stepping stone toward bigger awards. Because of their ripple effects, a recipient can have a very bright career which is good for them and for the university, too.”

Dr. Khondaker has multiple degrees including a doctorate in condensed matter from the University of Cambridge. His research area focuses on developing complex devices out of nanomaterials.  He conducts than $ 1 million worth of research under multiple grants. To date, he has published 88 peer-reviewed articles and holds three patents.

Dr. Khondaker begins his duties this month and will be reaching out to colleges across campus to help identify junior faculty who can benefit from additional support. To recommend a candidate or ask a question, Dr. Khondaker can be reached at saiful@ucf.edu.

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