Success Stories

Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma STEM Initiative

Although gains have been made, women are still underrepresented in America’s science and engineering workforce, holding just 28 percent of S&E jobs, according to a report released by the National Science Board in 2014.

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West Virginia EPSCoR research grants beneficial for entire state

The EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) grants have created sustainable research and tools that have greatly helped West Virginia and its institutions of higher education—including the Shared Research Facility (SRF). the SRF contains instrumentation that has enhanced the ability of West Virginia University (WVU) to hire impressive faculty. The RII program helped provide the SRF’s state-of-the-art instrumentation for research. The facilities include a clean room, a bionano facility, materials characterization lab, electron microscopy, and high performance computing. Many of the RII hires have become CAREER award winners and several patents have been issued to RII participants.

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New Mexico EPSCoR successes with climate change impact research

The problem will be exacerbated in the 21st century by a combination of factors, including global climate change, increasing population, constraints associated with traditional water rights and interstate water compacts, and the general lack of scientific knowledge applicable and available to local and regional planners and policymakers. The state is particularly susceptible to drought, and the state’s main source of water, the Rio Grande, depends on high elevation snowpack in its northern, mountainous headwaters region for at least half of its surface water supply. Long-term climate changes combined with sporadic extended droughts, which have more severe effects in a warmer climate, present an extreme challenge to water management not just in New Mexico, but also in the entire Southwest.

Because of the importance of understanding the effects of global climate change on water supply, in 2008 New Mexico EPSCoR began its third Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII-3) grant, Climate Change Impacts on New Mexico’s Mountain Sources of Water. The project’s mission was to address and forecast the effects of climate change on water supply and sources in arid regions.

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Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET)

What’s the best way to orient a group of researchers and students to an emerging discipline? 

Send them to Boot Camp! 

That’s what Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine did for their new Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) program personnel.  More than 50 faculty, staff, and students received orientation for SEANET during two sessions of this one-day Boot Camp.

Two times during the past year, groups of researchers, staff, and students spent the day at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine to learn the fundamentals of aquaculture through hands-on experience. In addition, participants heard from a number of industry professionals and fishermen regarding challenges and opportunities facing aq-uaculture, and the means by which the research conducted through SEANET might positively impact their industry. The discussions were followed by a boat excursion to see several aquaculture growing sites for seaweed and oysters, and even included some tasting of the products.

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Telemedicine collaboration improves perinatal regionalization and lowers statewide infant mortality

The Center for Translational Neuroscience Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Core Facility, located within the University of Arkansas, runs the Pediatric Physician Learning and Collaborative Education--Peds PLACE--program and Telenursery.  

Peds PLACE involves a weekly educational teleconference in real-time, followed by a consultation hour, across up to 25 neonatal intensive care units or delivery facilities that account for >95% of all births in the state (total ~40,000 per year).  Telenursery is the research arm of PedsPLACE that seeks to decrease mortality, especially among very low birth weight babies (VLBW = 1500g>).

Kim, Teague-Ross, Greenfield, William, Kuo and Hall assessed a telemedicine (TM) network's, like Telenursery, effects on decreasing deliveries of very low birth weights in hospitals without Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and statewide infant mortality.    

Deliveries of VLBW neonates in targeted hospitals decreased from 13.1 to 7.0 percent.  The deliveries of VLBW neonates in non-targeted hospitals were unchanged.  Mortality rates also decreased in targeted hospitals from 13.0 to 6.7 percent after TM intervention.  TM decreased deliveries of VLBW neonates in hospitals without NICUs and was associated with decreased statewide infant mortality.

Support for this project was provided through COBRE and NIH grant funding.

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Rolling out new technology to rooftops nationwide

In northern states, heavy snow loads have collapsed roofs and led to perilous conditions, closing residential and commercial buildings such as shopping centers and schools. Because snow can vary in weight depending on how much water it holds, you can’t tell how heavy a snow load is across a flat roof by measuring its depth. Investments of federal EPSCoR and state funds supported development of a sensor used by environmental scientists and now adapted for rooftops.

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