Advancing Research, Scholarship, and Creative Endeavor


Robert J. Bernhard, Vice President for Research
Bob Bernhard,
Vice President for Research
We are seeing some early signs of spring in South Bend. Nice, warm weather will certainly be welcome as we hopefully head down to the homestretch of the pandemic.
Rather than simply returning to normal, however, we are looking to learn and apply lessons from the experiences of the past 12 months. Toward this effort, Notre Dame’s Provost arranged a series of faculty discussions about the challenges and opportunities. The discussion series, called “Moment to See, Courage to Act,” is based on several documents regarding Catholic teaching, as well as Pope Francis’ observations about the profound impacts the pandemic has had on people around the world. The takeaway from these discussions, thus far, is the need for a strong and collective response to the major challenges facing humanity and the inequities and disparities that must be dealt with as part of that process. Notre Dame faculty are committed to addressing these issues as part of our scholarship; the conversations have been inspiring. Ultimately, these conversations will funnel into a strategic planning process, which will start next fall.

Research News

New material shown to more efficiently desalinate water

By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population could experience a freshwater shortage. To tackle this issue, Tengfei Luo and Brandon Ashfeld have identified a new solvent – an ionic liquid – that improves on emerging desalination technology, directional solvent extraction. Their work, published in Nature Communications and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF),  shows the new ionic liquid to be ten times more efficient than other solvents used for the technique.

'Mom Guilt,' work hours rise in pandemic parenting, but so does quality family time

Previous studies have established that parents in the U.S. already face greater stress trying to achieve work-family balance than parents in any other Western country, but COVID-19 has placed unprecedented strain on working parents. Abigail Ocobock, assistant professor of sociology, investigated how working parents were managing the demands of COVID-19. Researchers interviewed 80 parents with at least one child in elementary or middle school. Among the researchers’ key findings are a marked increase in “mom guilt,” enriched family time, and a rise in work expectations and demands.

Land deals meant to improve food security may have hurt

A global team of researchers led by Marc Muller and Gopal Penny from Notre Dame have published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that combines satellite imagery, agricultural surveys, and dietary datasets to analyze the effects of large-scale land acquisitions that were intended to improve global food security. Funded by the NSF, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Mava Foundation, the study is the first comprehensive global analysis of its kind on the impact of land acquisitions. 

Unique Access: Doctors, nurses in COVID-19 epicenter aided by proactive personality

A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology from Mike Crant, the Mary Jo and Richard M. Kovacevich Professor of Excellence in Leadership Instruction, researchers from Lingnan University, and COVID-19 experts in China, offers the first examination of proactive personality in times of immediate response to a crisis. Crant is one of the creators of the proactive personality scale, the most frequently used measure of proactivity in organizational literature.

Climate change can reduce the success of interventions that combat infectious disease

A study published in PNAS shows that as temperatures warm from climate change, interventions that control the spread of the tropical disease schistosomiasis could become less effective, depending on the timing of the treatment. The research from the lab of Jason Rohr, the Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla College Professor of Biological Sciences, and collaborators from Emory University, the British Trust for Ornithology, the University of Florida, and the University of South Florida was funded by the NSF, the National Institutes of Health, and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
In case you missed it: 2020, Notre Dame Research shares the stories and research you may have missed last year.

ND in the News

International Women's Day Feature

Women Lead 2021
Meet eight women leaders from Notre Dame who are challenging the status quo in their fields. To read their stories, click here.


Reference and Instruction Librarian

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College of Arts and Letters: Economics, Advancing Research, Scholarship, and Creative Endeavor
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