WTAMU Secures Two Highly Competitive NSF MRI Awards

Aug. 11, 2014

COPY BY:    Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu
                     Megan Maher, Hanover Research, 202-223-9841, mmaher@hanoveresearch.com

WTAMU Secures Two Highly Competitive NSF MRI Awards

CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University is the recipient of two Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grants totaling more than $500,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The awards represent a major coup for the University as the NSF receives thousands of applications and only 175 proposals are selected each year to receive the highly competitive grants.

“Universities are limited to the submission of two MRI proposals per year, and WTAMU has achieved acceptance of both of our allotted National Science Foundation, Major Research Instrumentation grants for 2013-2014,” Dr. Angela Spaulding, vice president for research and compliance, said. “These are highly competitive grants and reflect the quality of research bHanover Researcheing conducted at WTAMU by recognized and renowned researchers. These instrument additions will pay tremendous cross-disciplinary research dividends for our faculty and students.”

The University's first NSF MRI award of $371,700 supports the purchase and maintenance of a 400 MHz NMR spectrometer and probes—equipment that will contribute to research and training in four departments across two campuses. As the only solid-state-capable NMR within a 200-mile radius, this equipment also will serve as a resource for other institutions in the region. To achieve this award, Hanover Research senior grants consultant, Bryan DeBusk, assisted WTAMU’s principal investigator Dr. Cathy Clewett, assistant professor of physics, with resubmitting a previously unsuccessful proposal to better demonstrate how this piece of equipment could connect multiple WTAMU departments in research.

“What makes this grant so impressive is the fact that it involved the work of faculty in three different departments at WTAMU as well as Amarillo College,” stated Dr. Nick Flynn, head of the Department of Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics at WTAMU. Dr. Don Topliff, dean of WTAMU’s College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, further reiterates the impact of this award, noting: “It gives us the capability to do research that previously was beyond our ability. This equipment can be transformative for both WT and Amarillo College.”

The grant will be administered under the direction of WTAMU faculty members Clewett, Flynn, Dr. Gary Barbee, assistant professor of environmental science, and Dr. Erick Butler, assistant professor of environmental engineering, and Mark Shadix, instructor of physical sciences at Amarillo College.

The second NSF MRI award of $160,000 will enable the acquisition of a Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer-Flame Ionization Detector (GC/MS-FID) for research in environmental and agricultural sciences at WTAMU. The GC/MS-FID, a vital piece of previously unavailable technology, will expand WTAMU’s research capabilities by enabling multiple university researchers to conduct research supporting human and animal health, the cleanup and protection of the environment, and the development and vitality of the economy. Hanover Research supported the proposal production process to achieve this award by articulating to NSF the intellectual merit and, especially, the broader impact of the research and education activities to be conducted using the funded instrument.

The grant will be administered under the direction of WTAMU faculty members Dr. David Parker, principal investigator and professor of environmental science and engineering, Dr. Ty Lawrence, associate professor of animal science, Dr. Gary Barbee, associate professor of environmental science, and  Dr. Andy Cole with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service-Conservation and Production Research Laboratory in Bushland.

“This instrument will be a great addition to our core laboratory facility, allowing us to support a variety of research activities across several disciplines and with our USDA-ARS external partner,” Parker said. “What makes this win so special is the combined team effort of our administrators, WTAMU Sponsored Research Services, Hanover Research, and 10 faculty members.”

Barbee is appreciative of the extra refined level of editing and organization Hanover Research provided to the final proposal document and grateful to the NSF for investing in and advancing the environmental sciences at WTAMU and the region.
“Many environmental toxicants can disrupt biological activities at very low doses or concentrations, and the GC-MS allows us to study such adverse health effects, which would not be possible without this instrument,” Barbee said.

“As WTAMU looks to elevate its presence among research institutions in the state of Texas, securing these research dollars is a huge barometer for measuring the institution’s success in achieving this goal,” stated Chad Ross, managing content director at Hanover Research. “WTAMU came into its Hanover partnership with the goal of increasing its research funding, specifically around STEM. These awards directly support this goal both in the short-term for the PIs’ research agendas and in the long-term for adding to the University’s infrastructure.”



About Hanover Research: Hanover Research provides comprehensive grant development support to healthcare organizations, hospitals, higher education, K-12, municipalities, and other non-profit organizations. All services are delivered on a fixed-fee annual basis, with clients receiving support on an unlimited number of sequential activities across the partnership term. Areas of expertise include: grants prospecting and strategy; program development consultation; grant proposal development; and ongoing opportunity identification.  Visit us at www.hanoverresearch.com.

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