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Pair of projects with CALS ties among recipients of Baldwin grants

Two projects with ties to CALS are among the projects both large and small that will help the university contribute knowledge and resources across the state, thanks to grants from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

The competitive grant program is open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students.

Ira Baldwin, a longtime UW teacher, researcher and administrator, served as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs. Ineva Reilly Baldwin taught and served in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. Their endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

The two CALS projects are:

Image Analysis App for Corn Silage Producers, Rebecca Willett, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Brian Luck, Biological Systems Engineering

This proposal describes a novel effort to develop a smartphone app that can be used by Wisconsin farmers to monitor and adjust the processing of corn silage during harvest. Corn silage must be produced to meet essential criteria that ensure subsequent proper livestock nutrition. However, sending silage samples to a remote laboratory for analysis of these criteria is time consuming, and typically the lab analysis is not received until after the harvest is complete, when it is too late to make adjustments. The proposed app leverages methods from signal and image processing and machine learning to automatically evaluate silage samples based on a smartphone photograph, providing farmers with immediate feedback that they can use to adjust their forage harvesting equipment, on a field-by-field basis if desired. The investigators will also produce a UW Science Narrative video that describes the app and its utility both to farmers and the broader Wisconsin population.

Translational data-rich journalism for the people: a partnership of UW–Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory and WisContext, a multimedia news outlet, Malia Jones, Community and Environmental Sociology

This project’s vision is to deliver on the Wisconsin Idea by fostering public engagement with groundbreaking UW–Madison social science research and data on critical social issues affecting Wisconsin today. To achieve this vision, we propose to serve timely, issue-focused social science research to Wisconsin residents in a popular news media format. The specific goal of this project is to bridge the gap between campus social science research and the public by presenting scientific perspectives on social issues to Wisconsin-based lay audiences in an internet-first, graphical-and-text news format, with support from radio and television news. We propose to create and publish a total of 54 graphics- and data-rich grounded news pieces on social trends aimed at lay audiences in Wisconsin, with a special focus on reaching younger adult audiences. We will organize the content of reports around five key social issues affecting Wisconsin residents: health and health disparities, rural life, the electorate, aging, and jobs.  This is a partnership between the Applied Population Laboratory (APL), a respected multidisciplinary research/outreach social science group on the UW–Madison campus, and WisContext, a digital news provider, a broadcast partnership of Wisconsin Public Radio and Television and UW Extension, and a syndication platform. This partnership and project draws on the immediacy of public radio journalism, the longer form journalistic story-telling of public television and the potential for graphical presentation of data-rich stories via web-based interactive media. It leverages the deep knowledge base of our University to empower Wisconsin residents through greater understanding of complex and timely social issues, promote a more engaged populace and achieve the Wisconsin Idea.

To learn more, visit the UW-Madison News website.

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