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UW Sets External Funding Record Again

August 20, 2009 — Aug. 20, 2009 -- The University of Wyoming Office of Research and Economic Development has broken its previous record in external awards to faculty, research scientists and administrative personnel.

At $81 million, the external funding -- from government and industry sources -- has increased by about 4 percent over the previous year's award. The increase in the federal share, which is separate from funds awarded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is 5.3 percent.

External funds are used to support faculty research, research centers and institutional projects. They are also used for student educational opportunities.

"This funding is critically important to UW," says Bill Gern, UW vice president for research and economic development, noting that the awards are the result of hard work by UW faculty in winning competitive grants. "It's an important part of our scholarship. It puts us on the cutting edge of research, and it helps us attract students at all levels."

One of the attributes of UW that separates it from other universities is the access that undergraduate students have to research projects. Just as the amount of external funding is increasing, so too is the number of undergraduate students being paid for their work from sponsored research accounts.

In the 2007-08 academic year, the number of students paid from sponsored research accounts ranged between 250 and 300 monthly. In the 2008-09 academic year, that number rose to a range of 300 to 370 monthly. This year, Gern says, the number is likely to rise again.

"This is a very rich environment for student learning," Gern says. "Every year, we sponsor Undergraduate Research Day. Last spring, about 400 students took part. They are doing tremendous work."

Some of the projects showcased at Undergraduate Research Day on May 2 were:

-- Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria in Water Above and Below a Water Treatment Plant;
-- Tracking Transience: How to Read Graffiti on Laramie's Architecture;
-- Methanol Production from Black Liquor via Syngas;
-- Spider Silk Expression in Alfalfa: A Recombinant Report;
-- The Reality of Prescription Drug Abuse;
-- Mapping Burn Severity within the Grizzly Gulch Fire Using Remote Sensing Techniques; and
-- A Continued Study of Microjet Shear Stress.

Chepchumba Limo of Kenya works on a research project in a University of Wyoming electrical engineering laboratory. External funds used to support UW faculty research, research centers and institutional projects are also used to provide research opportunities for UW undergraduate students.


Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2009

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