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Wichita State awarded more than $880,000 by National Science Foundation

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Wichita State University has been awarded more than $880,000 as part of a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will further establish Kansas as an internationally recognized leader in global climate change and renewable energy research.

The five-year award is for the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), a statewide program that includes WSU and other major Kansas research universities. It will provide a fresh integrative approach to address climate change and renewable energy challenges.

The grant is a multi-institutional, multi-sector effort that will link four universities: WSU, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Haskell Indian Nations University.

It will also include three Kansas-based companies: Abengoa Bioenergy, MGP Ingredients and Nanoscale; and two out-of-state companies: ADM (Illinois) and Netcrystals (California).

The initiative will also be supported by $4 million in matching funds from KU, K-State and Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp.

WSU faculty and staff who are involved in the research project include chemistry professor Francis D’Souza; industrial and manufacturing engineering professor Janet Twomey; chemistry professor Paul Rillema; biological sciences associate professor Mark Schneegurt; mathematics and statistics associate professor Chunsheng Ma; and electrical engineering and computer science assistant professor Bin Tang.

David McDonald
David McDonald
David McDonald, associate provost for research at WSU, said all the projects WSU is involved with revolve around exploring new sources of energy and investigating sustainability.

The project will focus on several critical issues in the development of solar-based renewable energy, with the overall goal to establish a critical energy research infrastructure.

Another goal is to allow Kansas to become a key leader in research that addresses global challenges, said Kristin Bowman-James, principal investigator and project director of Kansas’ EPSCoR program.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the state of Kansas,” she said. “With this funding, we will be able to harness the talents of researchers across the state to address two major issues of society today – climate change and renewable energy – under the umbrella of a single integrated initiative.”

About 40 scientists are involved in the collaborative consortium, representing a vast array of disciplines, including agronomy, anthropology, computer science, economics, geography, mathematics, sociology, engineering, biology, chemistry and physics.

EPSCoR is a federal program that targets states that have traditionally been underfunded in the sciences and engineering. For more information on NSF EPSCoR, go to http://www.nsfepscor.ku.edu/.

Note to editors: News releases on the NSF EPSCoR grant are being distributed simultaneously by several of the institutions. This release has specific information regarding Wichita State.

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Created on Tuesday, October 06, 2009; Last modified on Tuesday, October 06, 2009