2023 Co-op Research Excellence and Hamilton Book Award Winners Announced

By Karen Adler
November 7, 2023

The Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors and the University Co-operative Society are pleased to announce and congratulate the 2023 winners of the University Co-op Research Excellence Awards and the winners of the 2023 Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards.

The Co-op Research Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding efforts of our faculty and research staff by presenting three annual awards: the Career Award, the Best Paper Award, and the Creative Research Award. These awards have become one of the most prominent symbols of peer recognition at The University of Texas at Austin, not only for career-long accomplishments and scientific research output but also for creative research and artistic endeavors. The winners are:


Career Award: Presented to Debra Umberson, Centennial Commission Professor of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts, for her pioneering research on relationships and health. Umberson, who is the director of the Center on Aging and Population Sciences and a co-founder of the Texas Aging & Longevity Consortium, has spent the past 35-plus years researching aging and life course change; stress and social ties; and gender, sexuality and racial variation in health disparities. Her work has been featured in prominent national journals, and she is one of the few Texas social scientists to be honored with a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health.


Best Paper Award: Presented to Dmitry Kireev for his paper “Continuous cuffless monitoring of arterial blood pressure via graphene bioimpedance tattoos.” Kireev published this paper as a research associate in the Cockrell School’s Chandra Family Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he distinguished himself by developing novel biosensors, graphene electronic tattoos, and the fabrication of hybrid wearable active electronics.


Creative Research Award: Presented to Kate Catterall, associate professor in the College of Fine Arts’ School of Design and Creative Technologies, for “Drawing the Ring of Steel.” The one-day theatrical event in Belfast commemorated the 30-year ethno-nationalist conflict known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, specifically focusing on the 2.2-mile security cordon of 12-foot-tall steel, concrete and barbed wire barricades that encircled Belfast.

The Hamilton Book Awards are named in honor of the late Professor Robert W. Hamilton, Texas Law Emeritus Professor, and former chairperson of the University Co-op’s board of directors. These awards, underwritten by The University Co-operative Society, are presented to faculty or staff members who, in the preceding year have published the best book-length publications as determined by a multi-disciplinary committee of scholars.

The Hamilton Book Awards Grand Prize winner is:


Seth Garfield, history professor in the College of Liberal Arts, for “Guaraná: How Brazil Embraced the World’s Most Caffeine-Rich Plant.”

The book traces the evolution of an Amazonian plant from indigenous origins to the star ingredient of a multibillion-dollar soft drink industry and has had significant historical, cultural and economic impacts on Brazil. Guaraná is presented as a taste of Brazil: a product as well as a projection of the nation’s history from pre-Columbian times to the 21st century.

The Hamilton Book Awards Grand Prize finalists are:

Joshua Busby

Joshua Busby, professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, for “States and Nature: The Effects of Climate Change on Security.”

The book examines the relationship between climate change and its impact on peace and human security. Busby develops a novel argument to explain why climate change leads to especially bad security outcomes in some places but not others.

Jeremi Suri

Jeremi Suri, professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs and College of Liberal Arts’ Department of History, for “Civil War by Other Means.”

Suri’s book shows how resistance to a more equal union began immediately following the Civil War. He posits that what should have been a moment of national renewal was ultimately wasted, with reverberations still felt today.

Veit Erlmann

Veit Erlmann, professor in the College of Fine Arts’ Butler School of Music, for “Lion’s Share: Remaking South African Copyright.”

In Lion’s Share, Erlmann traces the role of copyright law in South Africa and its impact on the country’s music industry. The book demonstrates how copyright is inextricably entwined with race, popular music, postcolonial governance, indigenous rights and the struggle to create a more equitable society.

The winners were announced at the Co-op Awards ceremony November 6, 2023.

Explore the Gallery of 2023 Hamilton Book Nominees.

We thank all members of the review committees who contributed their time and expertise in selecting this year’s winners. Congratulations as well to all nominees for the remarkable body of work submitted for consideration.

For more information, contact: honorific-vpr@austin.utexas.edu.