Bevins earns NU's top award for research

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Bevins earns NU’s top award for research

Rick Bevins
Bergen Johnston | Courtesy
Rick Bevins has been a part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty since 1996. He is a recipient of an NU system President's Excellence Award.

For his work expanding knowledge related to drug abuse and causes of relapse, Rick Bevins has earned the University of Nebraska’s most esteemed honor for research and creative activity.

Bevins, Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Psychology, associate vice chancellor for research, and director of the Rural Drug Addiction Research Center, is among five NU system faculty to receive 2023 President’s Excellence Awards. The honors recognize faculty whose work has had a strong impact on students, university and state.

“Faculty are at the heart of any great university. We’re fortunate to have some of the world’s best serving across the University of Nebraska System,” said Ted Carter, president of the NU system. “The teaching, research and engagement that these faculty do every day has a transformational impact on students, our communities, and economic growth and well-being.

“I congratulate our faculty award recipients on this well-deserved honor, and thank them for all they do to change lives in Nebraska and around the world.”

Bevins has been named recipient of the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award. The honor recognizes individual faculty for study or creativity of national or international significance.

After earning an undergraduate degree in psychology, Bevins entered the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where his research focused on associative learning processes, especially Pavlovian fear conditioning. He became interested in pharmacology as a tool for understanding learning processes, and took a post-doctoral position at the University of Kentucky for further training in drug use, misuse and neuropharmacology.

Bevins joined the University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty in 1996 and established the Behavioral Neuropharmacology Laboratory.

His research at Nebraska focuses on behavioral pharmacology, drug abuse and addiction science. His work in pinpointing how learning processes and memory influence behavior has been crucial to understanding the nature of drug abuse and the causes of relapse. Bevins’ research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and UNL. His team is responsible for more than 160 research papers.

Outside of the lab, Bevins was one of four faculty selected by Chancellor Ronnie Green to lead the creation of the university’s N2025 strategic plan. And, on March 3, the Office of Research and Economic Development named Bevins the associate vice chancellor for research, a position tasked with coordinating and facilitating planning for research initiatives that support faculty.

In other President’s Excellence Awards, UNL’s School of Biological Sciences received the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award. The honor was announced April 12.

Additional honors earned by NU system faculty include:

  • Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award — Geoffrey Talmon, University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Betty Love, University of Nebraska at Omaha;

  • Innovation, Development and Engagement Award — Dejun Su, UNMC; and

  • Faculty IP Innovation and Commercialization Award — Howard Gendelman, UNMC.

Award recipients are selected by a systemwide committee of faculty members and, in the case of the engagement award, community members. Recipients each receive a $10,000 stipend. They will be honored at the Aug. 17 Board of Regents meeting.

Learn more about the individual 2023 President’s Excellence Award winners.

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