Five West Virginia universities will see a share of $20 million to boost their science initiatives.
The National Science Foundation awarded the grant money to West Virginia’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to invest in the schools’ research initiatives. The funds will last for a period of five years.
West Virginia University, Marshall University, West Virginia State University, Shepherd University and West Virginia Wesleyan College will split the money.
The proposal submitted by the state to the National Science Foundation, which was ultimately awarded, is called “Gravitational Wave Astronomy and the Appalachian Freshwater Initiative,” which will focus on water resources and gravitational wave astrophysics.
Regulations on bodies of water in West Virginia are not as strict as some other states, giving researchers some freedom to work with streams, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, said Paul Hill, chancellor with the Higher Education Policy Commission.
The money will be used to bolster the universities’ programs, hire faculty and to purchase new, current technology and equipment to make the students’ resources as up to date as possible in the science industry, Hill said. Universities will also work with their current leading scientists to investigate bringing other distinguished researchers to West Virginia.
The grant application was spearheaded by Jan Taylor, director of the division of science and research with the Higher Education Policy Commission.
“We have a real chance to make a change in West Virginia,” Taylor said.
The idea for the proposal came after Taylor collaborated with the universities to find each school’s strengths in their science industry. Once the strengths were identified, they worked to create a viable proposal that would benefit the state, she said.
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