Grand Challenge Champions
Champion: Tom Erickson
CEO, Energy & Environmental Research Center
Promote energy security and environmental sustainability.
Tom Erickson is the CEO of the UND Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), where he leads a multi-disciplinary group of 200 employees advancing energy research. Mr. Erickson has nearly 30 years of research experience across a broad spectrum of fossil and renewable energy technologies.
Champion: Colin Combs
Department Chair, Biomedical Sciences
Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Address health challenges through basic, clinical, and transitional discovery.
Champion: Thomasine Heitkamp
Professor, Social Work
Help rural communities solve their unique health and social problems.
Thomasine Heitkamp is a Professor in the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at the University of North Dakota and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in North Dakota. She has over 30 years of experience as a professor at UND where she has held a host of leadership positions including serving as an Associate Provost, Chair of Graduate Nursing, and Chair of Social Work. As a UND professor she has provided instruction to advance skills and knowledge in social and health care policy and has taught practice skills to hundreds of graduate and undergraduate social work students both on-campus and online. Her recent grant-funded project will assist people with opioid use disorders by advancing evidence-based practice in service delivery systems in a seven state region that is predominately rural. She currently serves as the Director of the Mountain Plains Addiction Technology Transfer Center at UND which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. This provides her with an opportunity to work with an inter-professional team of professionals and academics to advance addiction science.
Champion: Mark Askelson (Interim)
Interim Executive Director of RIAS
Professor, Atmospheric Sciences
Drive the world-changing developments of UAS and do so in a way that reflects UND's values.
Dr. Askelson is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Dakota. He has over 20 years of research and applications experience with weather radar, including advanced applications involving radar polarimetry and phased array technologies. His areas of expertise include radar meteorology, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, and unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). His current foci include the use of phased array radars in aircraft deconfliction systems for UASs and the use of cooperative information to enable deconfliction of unmanned aircraft with other aircraft. Dr. Askelson has led multiple UAS research efforts, including multimillion-dollar research efforts focused on integration of UAS into the National Airspace System using both ground-based phased-array radars (development of the Ganged Phased Array Radar-Risk Mitigation System; GPAR-RMS) and cooperative data (the Limited Deployment-Cooperative Airspace Project; LD-CAP). He is currently a lead in the ASSURE "Small UAS Detect and Avoid Requirements Necessary for Limited Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations" effort.
Champion: Hesham El-Rewini
Dean, Engineering & Mines
Effectively, efficiently, and ethically produce, manage, and securely use information in the age of big data.