Science & Research

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

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EPSCoR

1st
September

EPSCoR 2030 – A report to the National Science Foundation

EPSCoR 2030: A report of the National Science Foundation, EPSCoR 2030: A report to the National Science Foundation, Library

EPSCoR 2030 – A Report to the National Science Foundation (pdf)

Executive Summary:

A panel of nationally recognized scientists and engineers met in January 2012 at the behest of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) in terms of its relevance to the national research agenda. The two-day workshop produced observations about the value of the NSF program and recommended
programmatic changes to be made both by NSF and by the EPSCoR states that can enhance EPSCoR’s effectiveness.

  • EPSCoR states’ universities and colleges and their research faculty play a key role in u.S. economic competiveness. 
  • The NSF EPSCoR program has been highly successful in building research competitiveness. However, much more needs to be done to secure the program’s future success. 
  • The vast majority of NSF’s S&T investment goes to a small number of non-EPSCoR states and institutions.
  • NSF EPSCoR needs to become more adaptive in order to improve strategic planning and to take advantage of new collaborative research opportunities in areas across states where EPSCoR has built strength relevant to S&T opportunities emerging at the national and international levels.
  • The 31 EPSCoR jurisdictions in this unique federal-state partnership offer NSF an incredible “test bed” for its new initiatives. 
  • EPSCoR is a unique program at NSF. It is not a research program in and of itself, but a capacity building program that was designed to have an impact on research infrastructure across institutions and states.

This report summarizes background, issues, consensus opinions and a series of five major recommendations that
grew out of the workshop. Consensus opinions include:

  • EPSCoR research universities are a vital resource that can and must be employed as the United States tackles S&T issues impacting the ability of the country to compete in high-tech global markets. 
  • There are challenges where EPSCoR institutions have the experience that can help NSF and the nation including energy, climate variation, health, defense and homeland security and cyberinfrastructure.
  • While the NSF EPSCoR investment has fueled incredible advancements in building research infrastructure, both NSF and the EPSCoR states need to better articulate the need for and achievementsof the NSF (and federal-wide) EPSCoR and IDeA efforts.
  • One of EPSCoR’s strengths is that state committees, universities and faculty are committed to scientific and engineering excellence.
  • EPSCoR’s current award mechanisms could be modified to better reflect new NSF priorities, reduce the emphasis on funding multiple activities with a single award, focus funding on achieving critical needs in science and infrastructure and allow groups of EPSCoR researchers to better pool the expertise which EPSCoR already has developed in areas like water, energy, and cyberinfrastructure.

Recommendations include:

  • Since NSF EPSCoR research is critical to the nation’s science and technology policy, NSF must continue to expand its EPSCoR funding and overall support in order to guarantee this program’s relevance.
  • NSF EPSCoR should return to its original focus of increasing research capacity.
  • NSF should use EPSCoR states and their research institutions as a test bed for new agency initiatives taking advantage of their size, diversity and nimble structures.
  • NSF and EPSCoR institutions must act now to develop a robust cyberinfrastructure to ensure that faculties are, and remain, competitive.
  • The “EPSCoR success story” must be better told in the national interest.

These major recommendations are broken down into more detailed sub-recommendations, strategies, programmatic
and policy actions in the body of this document.

EPSCoR 2030 – A Report to the National Science Foundation (pdf)

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22nd
April

Discoveries & Highlights

Discoveries, EPSCoR, News about science and research

West Virginia’s higher education institutions employ many talented faculty who, with their students, are conducting world-class research to create life-enhancing discoveries, economic growth and a highly skilled and educated workforce. Read the Scientist Spotlights to learn about some of West Virginia’s best researchers.

Much of the research underway in West Virginia is part of a five-year, $20 million Research Infrastructure Improvement Grant (NSF-1003907) to establish a nationally recognized and sustainable Center in Bionanotechnology.  This “RII” promises to advance technology important to national security and provide research and education experiences for students, postdoctoral fellows, high school teachers and institutions across the state. 

The goal is to provide necessary infrastructure focused on bionanotechnology for enhanced public security and environmental safety. Led by faculty at Marshall, West Virginia and West Virginia State universities, researchers are bringing together bionanotechnology and molecular sciences to create hand-held devices — essentially laboratories on a chip — that can be deployed in the field to identify potential environmental threats, pollutants and even diseases.

These innovations have the potential to create new marketable technologies and devices — and the jobs to manufacture them. The state’s predominantly undergraduate institutions and community and technical colleges also are engaged in research and workforce development activities for this program.

Read on to learn about some of the specific projects under this Research Infrastructure Improvement grant.

WVNano Initiative at West Virginia University partners with local museum for informal nanoscience education
Aniketa A. Shinde

WVNano Graduate Fellow speaks at Science on Tap
Lisa Holland and Aniketa A. Shinde

SPION-Aptamers As The Working Element To Sense Environmental Contaminants
Lisa Holland and Letha Sooter

Aptamers for Detecting Harmful Substances
James P. Lewis, Peter M. Gannett, and Timothy Menzies

A survey of cellular fate upon carbon nanotube exposure
Cerasela Zoica Dinu, Reem Eldawud, Chenbo Dong, Yon Rojanasakul

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22nd
April

Bionanotechnology for Public Security and Environmental Safety

EPSCoR, NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) 2010-2015, Research Infrastructure Improvement

In August of 2010, West Virginia ‘s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) received a five-year, $20 million Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) grant from the National Science Foundation.

This grant, NSF-1003907, is the strategic framework to position West Virginia to achieve measurable growth in bionanotechnology.

The vision of the RII is to establish a nationally recognized and sustainable Center in Bionanotechnology that integrates research and education and advances knowledge through innovative collaborations while energizing the state’s economy.

The specific goal is to provide necessary infrastructure focused on bionanotechnology for enhanced public security and environmental safety. The interdisciplinary research effort is led by West Virginia University, Marshall University, and West Virginia State University. Researchers at these institutions will bring together bionanotechnology and molecular sciences to create hand-held devices — essentially laboratories on a chip — to remotely identify potential environmental threats, pollutants and even diseases. Innovations in this area have the potential to create new marketable technologies and devices — and the jobs to manufacture them.

Also engaged in research and workforce development activities for this RII are the state’s predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUI) and community and technical colleges (CTC).

 

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13th
March

West Virginia State University launches high-performance computing system; improves research capacity

EPSCoR, News about science and research, NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) 2010-2015

The speed limit on the information superhighway at West Virginia State University has just been increased.

Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCOR program channeled through the Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research, the WVSU campus is now home to a high-performance computing (HPC) system with enough processing speed to equal 120 standard desktop computers. The HPC system, at the newly established Computational Science Center, will officially launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Drain-Jordan Library at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

“This system will increase the speed performance at which our research faculty, students and staff can process data,” says Dr. Jose Ulises Toledo, Associate Dean of WVSU’s Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institute. “What could take two or three days to process with standard processors, this system can handle in a matter of minutes.”

Nicknamed after the WVSU mascot, Stinger will allow students, faculty and researchers to compete more favorably with other institutions in their chosen fields and, administrators hope, attract additional faculty and students into the academic areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

“Stinger takes researchers at West Virginia State a giant step forward,” says Toledo. “With this system in place, our research faculty and students will greatly enhance their research capabilities.”

The University’s Internet bandwidth has been increased to meet the demand resulting from the new system. The HPC is located in the University’s Drain-Jordan Library and features a visualization tile display (viz-wall) of four 52” high-resolution monitors, as well as classroom seating and conference space.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is a precursor to the Higher Education Policy Commission Division of Science & Research’s upcoming STaR & West Virginia Academy of Science Symposium to be held on the WVSU campus April 20-21. The fourth biennial symposium will feature successful WV researchers who have transformed ideas from the brain to the lab to production to market. Stinger will also be a feature of WVSU’s own research symposium to be held in August.

For more information about Stinger and its applications, contact Dr. Jose Ulises Toledo at (304) 204-4304 or Bob Huston, Director of Information Technology Services, at (304) 766-3261.

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27th
January

WVHEPC Division of Science and Research (DSR) Announce Research Proposal Mini-Grants Opportunities

EPSCoR, grant opportunities

The WVHEPC Division of Science and Research (DSR) Research Proposal Mini-Grants Program (Mini-Grants) is designed to aid tenured or tenure-track, or research faculty members at West Virginia institutions of higher education in the preparation of research or research equipment proposals for submission to external agencies or foundations.

The Mini-Grants Program provides $5,000 in replacement salary for an uninterrupted period of time for a faculty member to write research or research equipment proposals during the summer. The number of mini-grants awarded will depend upon funds available and the quality of the applications. By accepting this salary support, the faculty member agrees not to teach or engage in other activities that will interfere with the proposal writing effort for at least one month, and agrees to submit a proposal to an external agency or foundation, with a copy of the proposal acceptance letter to the DSR office within one year of the award of the Mini-Grant.

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26th
January

Officials recognize more than $300,000 in state-funded research grants

EPSCoR, NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) 2010-2015, Press Releases, Research Trust Fund

January 26, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) today recognized faculty members at institutions across West Virginia who were awarded more than $300,000 in scientific research grants over the past year. The ceremony was held at the State Culture Center, in conjunction with Undergraduate Research Day at the State Capitol.

Secretary of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin, the Commission’s Interim Chancellor Paul Hill, and the Division of Science and Research’s Director of Research Programs Jan Taylor presented awards from West Virginia’s Research Challenge Fund and Research Trust Fund, commonly known as “Bucks for Brains.” Also speaking at the event were Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp and West Virginia University President James P. Clements.

“Our institutions of higher education continue to develop scientific studies and research that benefit the nation with new knowledge while providing educational and economic development opportunities to our citizens,” said Secretary Goodwin. “I strongly support these institutions in their efforts to make West Virginia and the nation a better place in which to live.”  

Today’s recognition included the third round of awards which were made possible by interest earned on the Research Trust Fund; Instrumentation Grants funded by scientific equipment for advanced undergraduate laboratories; Innovation Grants for creative improvements in scientific equipment and facilities, curriculum, classroom instruction, or delivery; and Mini Grants for faculty to prepare research proposals.

“These awards and the opportunities they provide are made possible by the forward-thinking leadership of our Governor and the Legislature,” Hill said. “Supporting an innovative climate at our institutions is the best way to grow research competitiveness and create new opportunities across the state.”

Undergraduate Research Day is an annual event held at the State Capitol to showcase research projects conducted by students from across the state. Sponsors include the Commission’s Division of Science and Research, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, and the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE). The Division of Science and Research administers state- and federal-level scientific research grants in West Virginia. For more information, visit www.wvresearch.org.

Awards

Research Incubator Grant: This award is for research at a primarily undergraduate institution or a community and technical college.

  • $50,000 to Yi ‘Charlie’ Chen, Alderson-Broaddus College, for his project, “Nanochemoprevention as a novel approach for cancer control.”

2012 Innovation Grants: These awards are used for creative improvements to scientific equipment and facilities, curriculum, classroom instruction or delivery.

  • $30,294 to Kourosh Sedghisigarchi, WVU Institute of Technology, for his project, “SMART GRID Education Package (Course and Laboratory) Development at WVU Institute of Technology.”
  • $40,000 to Edward Wovcho for his project, “Enhancing the Chemistry Program at West Virginia Wesleyan College with Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry.”

2012 Instrumentation Grants:  These awards fund scientific equipment for advanced undergraduate laboratories.

  • $15,911 to Kim Bjorgo-Thorne of West Virginia Wesleyan College for “Student Achievement through Scientific Data Collection via Integration of Remote Data Collection Technology across the Curriculum.”
  • $20,000 to Timothy Corrigan of Concord University for “Atomic Force Microscope for Undergraduate Teaching and Research.”
  • $18,234 to Dan DiLella of Shepherd University for “Upgrade of HPLC and Electrochemical Capabilities.”
  • $8,658 to Gary Morris of Glenville State College for “Improving Undergraduate Biochemistry Education with a NanoDrop Spectrophotometer.”
  • $19,755 to Carol Plautz of Shepherd University for “Request for a Multimode Microplate Reader.”

Mini Grants ($5,000 each): These awards aid faculty members in the preparation of research or research equipment proposals for submission to external agencies or foundations.

  • Gary E. Schultz, Jr., Marshall University
  • K. Subramani, West Virginia University
  • Sarah Umphress, West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  • Bin Wang, Marshall University

Research Trust Fund Awards

  • $100,000 to West Virginia State University for acquisition of a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. This award is distributed as a result of interest earned on the Research Trust Fund, or “Bucks for Brains.”

 

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25th
January

RFP’s for NASA WV EPSCoR and NASA WV Space Grant Consortium opportunities for the 2012-13 available

EPSCoR, grant opportunities, Requests for Proposals

RFP’s for NASA WV EPSCoR and NASA WV Space Grant Consortium opportunities for the 2012-13 cycle are available on the NASA Space Grant web page. The deadline for applications is March 9, 2012. 

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15th
December

A National EPSCoR Cyberinfrastructure Student Engagement Program

EPSCoR

A program to provide students with an awareness of opportunities arising from the technology associated with the various aspects of cyberinfrastructure has been awarded by NSF EPSCoR. We are now seeking students from eligible universities to participate in a yearlong program designed to engage and prepare undergraduate and graduate students in learning about and using cyberinfrastructure (CI).

For more information please visit our website: http://www.clemson.edu/ccit/about/EPSCoR-Student-CI/. The 2011-12 EPSCoR Cyberinfrastructure Student Engagement Program Application Form can be found at:  http://tinyurl.com/epscor.

Deadline for applications is January 15, 2012

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12th
October

Announcing the next CI-TRAIN project activity:

EPSCoR, grant opportunities

Next Generation Sequencing & Bioinformatics Forum
Thursday October 27, 2011
1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Drinko Library Room 402

Over the last 20 years, molecular biology and genomics have undergone a spectacular transition, in large part driven by changes in technology and use of bioinformatics.   Therefore, through the utilization of our next-generation sequencing capabilities and the development of a campus-wide bioinformatics capability, enabled by a rapidly improving cyberinfrastructure, Marshall University will be better able to contribute to the generation of genome-wide information. The purpose of the Forum is to review current next generation sequencing and bioinformatics research activity at Marshall and discuss what needs to be done to develop our bioinformatics capability to the level needed.

Agenda:

Session A: Applications of Sequencing and Bioinformatics
Chair: Jim Denvir
Presentations:

  1. F. Robin O’Keefe, Ph.D. Dept. of Biology. “Sequencing and Phylogenetics”
  2. Wendy Trzyna, Ph.D. Dept. of Biology. “De Novo Sequencing”
  3. Don Primerano, Pd.D. Dept. Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Medicine. “Whole Exome Approaches to Mendelian Disease”.

Session B: Epigenetics.
Chair: Philippe Georgel
Presentations:

  1. Travis Salisbury, Ph.D. School of Medicine. “Defining the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Cistrome to Gain New Insights into Adipocyte-breast Cancer Cell Interactions”.
  2. Vincent Sollars, Ph.D. Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Medicine. “Title to be announced”.
  3. Johannes Fahrmann, Ph.D. Student Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Medicine. “Omega 3maternal Diet Alters MicroRNA Expression in First Generation Mouse Pups”.

Session C: Cyberinfrastructure for Bioinformatics.
Chair: Venkat Gudivada
Presentations:

  1. Jack Smith, Ph.D, Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences.  “Introduction to the Cyberinfrastructure at Marshall University”.
  2. Jim Denvir, Ph.D. Dept. Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Medicine. “R and Bioconductor for Sequence Analysis of Genomic Data”.
  3. Hyoli Han, Ph.D. and Venkat Gudivada, Ph.D. Div. Computer Science, “Overview of Data Mining and Machine Learning Using R and Weka”.

Panel discussion: What is next?

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4th
November

Grants to Faculty Members

EPSCoR, Grant Forms

Innovation Grants
These grants fund improvements in scientific equipment, curriculum, minor renovations, classroom instruction, delivery and pedagogy. The program targets innovative, cohesive and/or comprehensive projects in laboratory/classroom settings that encourage undergraduate students to continue careers in science, mathematics and engineering. 
 
Eligibility:  Full-time faculty at the primarily undergraduate institutions in West Virginia may apply; West Virginia University and Marshall University faculty are not eligible.
 
The most recent Innovation Grants program announcement and request for proposals can be downloaded here.

 


International Innovation Grants
This program supports development of an international component in one or more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. The program encourages STEM faculty and students to think globally about research, collaboration, grant opportunities and exchange programs. Grant funds may be used for a variety of innovative purposes and activities including curriculum, scientific equipment and travel. 
 
Eligibility:  Tenure-track faculty at all four-year institutions of higher education in West Virginia are eligible.

A request for proposals for the  International Innovation Grants will not be held in 2010.

 


Instrumentation Grants
The program purchases scientific equipment for advanced undergraduate laboratories to help encourage undergraduate students in West Virginia to continue careers in science, mathematics and engineering. 
 
Eligibility:  Full-time faculty at the primarily undergraduate institutions in West Virginia may apply; West Virginia University and Marshall University faculty are not eligible.
 
The most recent Instrumentation Grants program announcement and request for proposals can be downloaded here.

 


Mini-Grants for Proposal Preparation
These grants aid faculty members in the preparation of research or research equipment proposals for submission to external agencies or foundations. This program may support the applicant in collection of preliminary data, idea development or dedication of time to focus on a larger research program and proposal.
 
Eligibility:  Tenure and tenure-track faculty at all four-year institutions of higher education in West Virginia are eligible.
 
The most recent Mini-Grants program announcement and request for proposals can be downloaded here.

 


Research Challenge Grants

This grant program supports large, focused STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) research projects that may lead to research centers and economic development. Projects should assist the institution in its ability to successfully compete for external funding on a national and international basis by providing incentives to significantly increase capacity.

A report summarizing the results of the first round of scientific research projects funded through the Research Challenge Grant program is available here.

Eligibility:  Full-time faculty or research professors at all four-year institutions of higher education in West Virginia are eligible.

The most recent Research Challenge Grants program announcement and request for proposals can be downloaded here.

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