Utah Valley University professor to serve as co-principal investigator on project

OREM, Utah — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted $387,295 to a group of researchers at universities in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) to create open access responsible and ethical conduct of research and mentoring trainings across academic institutions. 

The project is titled “Scaling Open Access Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research and Mentoring Trainings across Academic Institutions” and will run from 2023 to 2026. One of the researchers in this inter-institutional effort is Dr. Weihong Wang, associate professor and chair of the Earth Science Department at Utah Valley University.

The ultimate objective of the research is to provide support for increasing the involvement of underprivileged and underrepresented students in STEM research, helping them persist through graduation and forging pathways to future graduate study opportunities.

“We know from experience that our first-generation students, especially those from underrepresented populations, will benefit greatly if they enter the workforce with a STEM degree to boost our state’s economy,” said Dr. Wang. “This project carries significant potential not only for UVU but also the entire academic community, as it directly addresses the critical need to engage both faculty members and students in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and research mentoring.”

Those involved in the project include:

Dr. Jesse Morris (PI) – Director of Research Education and a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Utah.

Dr. Caren Frost (Co-PI)- Associate Vice President for Research Integrity & Compliance and a Research Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah.

Dr. Weihong Wang (Co-PI) Associate Professor and Department Chair of Earth Science at Utah Valley University. 

Dr. Erin Hofmann (Co-PI) – Director of Graduate Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Utah State University.

Dr. Michael Ault (Co-PI) – Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications at Weber State University.

Trent Foxley (Senior Personnel) – Director of the offices of Foreign Influence and Quality Compliance at the University of Utah.

Sylvia Bradshaw (Senior Personnel) – Director of Sponsored Programs, Agreements, Research, & Contracts at Southern Utah University.

Patrick Thomas (Senior Personnel) – Associate General Counsel in Weber State University Legal Counsel’s Office and the Research Compliance Officer.


Open access refers to teaching, learning and research materials that are available free online for anyone to use. The project is aimed to foster collaboration among USHE institutions and promote resource sharing, thereby reshaping the landscape of open access research education and mentoring materials.