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Hulcr selected to win UF/IFAS’ Richard L. Jones research award

Jiri Hulcr mug

Jiri Hulcr

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A UF/IFAS forest entomologist who – among other activities – is working to help stop pests that sicken trees, has been selected to receive the Richard L. Jones Award for promising research at UF/IFAS.

The 2016 award goes to Jiri Hulcr. It is presented by the UF/IFAS dean for research and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station to an outstanding early career scientist. Like previous winners, Hulcr will receive the award at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Annual Awards Reception in May 2016.

The recipient gets a one-time $2,500 annual salary supplement and a $2,500 grant to support his or her research.

Hulcr, an assistant professor with a dual appointment in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Department of Entomology and Nematology, joined UF/IFAS in 2012.

He said he felt honored when he learned of his award.

“But more importantly, it made me happy to see that someone up there is looking at the products of our research and appreciates them,” Hulcr said. “I am really proud to have gotten an award for which I did not nominate myself.”

Hulcr said he and his team are trying to protect the world’s forests and tree industries by understanding the biology of tree pests and pathogens.

“It’s a big job, and so we are having to explore these organisms in the greatest depth, to the molecular level, as well as step back and look at the situation from a global perspective, ecosystem perspective, and finally we engage policy makers and other stakeholders to make sure that the voice of research is heard,” he said.

Hulcr and his team maintain the world’s largest collection of bark and ambrosia beetle tissues and associated microorganisms.

Hulcr has earned two doctorates — one from the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic and another from Michigan State University.

The Richard L. Jones Award goes to assistant professors who have begun developing a distinguished record of research. The research dean’s office recognizes the research program development by the faculty member and his or her recent contributions and provides incentives for continue excellence in research.

Selection is based on performance during the past three years plus evidence of development of a strong research program that is likely to lead to distinction in the faculty member’s field.

The honor began after the retirement of then-Dean Richard Jones. Mary Duryea, who retired recently as associate dean of UF/IFAS research, sought to honor Jones’ contributions by creating an endowment, funded by his colleagues, upon his retirement, said Jackie Burns, the current UF/IFAS dean of research. The returns on the endowment are used to reward the recipient each year.

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By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Jiri Hulcr, 352-273-0299, hulcr@ufl.edu