Science & Research

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission


Research Infrastructure Improvement


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).




Scientist Spotlight – Dr. Michael Norton

Discoveries, featured, Research Infrastructure Improvement, Scientist Spotlight, The Neuron – West Virginia Journal of Science and Research

For Dr. Michael Norton, the path is important.  Knowing from an early age that he would be a chemist, Dr. Norton thrived on the personal attention he received during his schooling. That’s a path the professor of Chemistry at Marshall University and co-director of the Molecular and Biological Imaging Center continues with his students. 

“There is hardly anything better than teaching undergraduates,” he says.

Read more about Dr. Mike Norton and his teaching and research in the Spring 2012 edition of the Neuron.



Federal Agency Grant Programs for Research Infrastructure

grant opportunities, Research Infrastructure Improvement

Several federal agencies offer scientific research and education grant competitions in West Virginia and the other states and jurisdictions eligible for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
The following information is a summary of the opportunities available at the seven federal agencies with EPSCoR or EPSCoR-like programs.




U.S. Department of Agriculture EPSCoR
The USDA EPSCoR is designed to help develop competitive research programs in high-priority areas of national need in agriculture, food and environmental sciences. The program offers Research Career Enhancement Awards, Equipment Grants, Seed Grants and Strengthening Standard Research Project Awards.
The application process for the USDA EPSCoR grants is coordinated by the agency’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. For more information, visit their Funding Opportunities website.
Related Link
U.S. Department of Agriculture


U.S. Department of Defense EPSCoR
DEPSCoR makes multiyear awards for research and for associated graduate education of scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense. A limited number of proposals may be submitted annually from EPSCoR-eligible states.
In West Virginia, the Division of Science and Research manages the process, which includes external technical review to select pre-proposals to be developed into full proposals for the DEPSCoR competition. Typically, the division releases a Preliminary Program Announcement for DEPSCoR in April each year. Pre-proposals are due in June with selection of the successful pre-proposals completed by early August.
The DEPSCoR Broad Agency Announcement is usually released by the Department of Defense in late August with a proposal submission deadline at the end of October. The Division of Science and Research prepares and submits the proposal package on behalf of the state of West Virginia. Awards are generally announced in February or March of the following year.
For more information about DEPSCoR grants, contact Dr. Jan Taylor .
Related Link

U.S. Department of Defense


U.S. Department of Energy EPSCOR
DOE EPSCoR sponsors two programs. The Laboratory Partnership Program fosters individual creativity, promotes ties between individual researchers in the state and national laboratories, and enhances state research capabilities and contacts. The State Implementation Program promotes the development of multidisciplinary teams to study complex energy problems and promote research centers of excellence for energy issues.
In general, calls for proposals are released annually and are coordinated at the state level by the Division of Science and Research and the director’s office at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) at West Virginia University.
For more information about DOE EPSCoR grants, contact Dr. Richard Bajura.
Related Link
U.S. Department of Energy


Environmental Protection Agency STAR Program
The EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program funds research grants and graduate fellowships in numerous environmental science and engineering disciplines. In addition, through this same competitive process, EPA periodically establishes large research centers in specific areas of national concern. At present, these centers focus on children’s health, hazardous substances, particulate matter, and estuarine and coastal monitoring. 
The application process for the EPA STAR grants is coordinated by the agency’s National Center for Environmental Research (NCEE).

For more information, visit the NCEE website.
Related Link
Environmental Protection Agency


NASA EPSCoR is devoted to promoting research activities in direct support of NASA’s mission and scientific enterprises. The program in West Virginia consists of two main components—Core Programs and Independent Research Projects. The Core Programs support a variety of activities related to strengthening research capability of faculty in science and engineering disciplines in West Virginia, including Research Seed Grants and Travel Grants. 
The application process for the NASA EPSCoR is coordinated by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium on behalf of the Division of Science and Research. For more information, visit the program website or contact Dr. Majid Jaraiedi.


Related Links
West Virginia NASA EPSCoR Committee
NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium


National Science Foundation EPSCoR
The National Science Foundation EPSCoR funds Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) grants. Only the designated agency in each state may apply for these grants. In West Virginia, the NSF EPSCoR program is administered by the Division of Science and Research and overseen by the West Virginia Science and Research Council.

For more information about NSF EPSCoR and the RII awards in West Virginia, click here.

Related Link
National Science Foundation


National Institutes of Health IDeA Program
The NIH IDeA program has the following two main components:
Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) augment and strengthen institutional biomedical research capabilities by expanding and developing biomedical faculty research capability through support of a multidisciplinary center, led by a peer-reviewed, NIH-funded investigator with expertise central to theme of the grant proposal.
IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) enhance biomedical research capacity, expand and strengthen the research capabilities of biomedical faculty, and provide access to biomedical resources for promising undergraduate students throughout the eligible states. INBRE enhances infrastructure through support of a network of institutions with a multidisciplinary, thematic scientific focus.
The application process for the NIH IDeA grants is coordinated by the agency’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). For more information, visit the NCRRwebsite.

Related Links
National Institutes of Health
West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence
West Virginia IDeA Research Council



Grants to Institutions for Research Infrastructure

EPSCoR, grant opportunities, NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) 2006-2009, NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) 2010-2015, Research Infrastructure Improvement, Research Trust Fund

Eminent Scholars Recruitment and Enhancement Program

This program built research infrastructure at West Virginia University and Marshall University primarily funding salaries and startup packages for nationally competitive researchers in targeted specialties. The program allowed the universities to hire 11 scholars with demonstrated research competitiveness, supported research infrastructure and provided graduate fellowships.





West Virginia Research Trust Fund

This program allowed West Virginia University and Marshall University to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, health care and job growth. This “Bucks for Brains” fund supports research in energy, biotechnology, biomedical, identification technology, material science and engineering and environmental science. Private gifts were matched dollar-for-dollar.

Eligibility:  West Virginia University and Marshall University were eligible. The state’s other public four-year institutions of higher education, as well as the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, were eligible to apply—by responding to specific requests for proposals—for matching grants supported by the interest earned on the trust fund.

For more information about the West Virginia Research Trust Fund, click here.