A Message from the Vice President

We are pleased to bring you the inaugural edition of Noelo, the research review of the University of Hawai‘i (UH) System.

Noelo, which means to “delve, seek out or verify” in the Hawaiian language, appropriately captures the mana or “spirit” of the ancient Hawaiian scientists and explorers that helped guide them in their pursuit of knowledge, understanding and purpose. Today, that spirit remains alive and well in the research conducted throughout the ten campuses of the University of Hawai‘i.

Leading the way, is our flagship campus—the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa).  Classified by The Carnegie Foundation as producing “very high” research activity, UH Mānoa is ranked in the top 50 public universities for research expenditures by the National Science Foundation—securing $425 million in extramural research funding in 2015. UH Mānoa’s election to the Association of Pacific Rim Universities in 2013, a leading consortium of 45 premiere research universities that encompasses 16 economies in one of the most dynamic and diverse regions in the world, remains as a source of pride for us.

As one of a handful of land, sea and space-grant universities in the nation, we are fortunate to have a geographic diversity that is unmatched by anywhere else in the world—erupting volcanoes, frozen summits, tropical rain forests and the deep ocean. As a result, UH research is equally as diverse with our world-renowned research programs in astronomy, medicine, oceanography, genetics and tropical agriculture, with growing strengths in sustainable energy and big data/cybersecurity.    

Cutting edge research facilities like the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research & Education (C-MORE) Hale, Institute for Biogenesis Research, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Cancer Center, Laboratory for Advance Visualization and Applications, and the soon to be constructed Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo—provide our researchers with the necessary tools to conduct competitive research in science, technology and innovation.

Recently, UH has taken on a greater role to help revitalize the state’s economy through the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative. We have partnered with the Hawai‘i business community to help rejuvenate the state’s economy by leveraging UH research to create and attract new companies, cultivate talent for a knowledge-based economy and to encourage the development of future technologies. Our shared goal is to build a $1 billion research enterprise that will be driven by the growth of new industries in Hawai‘i and fueled by UH’s plans to employ and develop top researchers in several innovation focus areas over the next decade.

As we introduce you to some of the fascinating work being conducted by our researchers on the following pages, we hope that you’ll enjoy your front-row seat and share in the same excitement and mana that makes research at the University of Hawai‘i—like no place else on Earth.   

Vassilis L. Syrmos, PhD

Vice President for Research and Innovation
University of Hawai‘i System