Research and education in the critical areas of science and engineering have gotten a big boost with the creation of a new office designed to increase research infrastructure, including faculty, facilities and equipment through increased collaboration and new partnerships.
The new Utah EPSCoR office will connect ideas and emerging technologies in target markets with entrepreneurs, industry leaders, students and researchers from Utah’s research and regional colleges and universities, making the state more competitive in securing federal funding grants.
EPSCoR refers to the National Science Foundation’s Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a national program to diversify science and engineering capabilities nationwide.
“As a designated EPSCoR state, Utah is now better positioned to compete for research infrastructure improvement grants for the purpose of building capacity in several key areas,” said Suzanne Winters, director of the newly established Utah EPSCoR office.
Utah EPSCoR partners will include the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR), the state’s research universities and regional colleges, the Utah System of Higher Education, the State Office of Education, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and private industry groups and businesses.
“To capitalize on EPSCoR opportunities, we need to collaborate, and initiatives such as USTAR have laid that groundwork,” said Winters, who also leads the USTAR-supported BioInnovations Gateway. “The Utah EPSCoR office will allow us to more effectively build new, and leverage existing, partnerships increasing Utah’s competitive advantage and opportunities for future growth.”
Higher education institutions will lead these new partnerships and public education will be a key EPSCoR partner, as the office will also focus on science-related education and outreach, as well as workforce development in industries critical to Utah’s future economic development.
“To succeed in today’s economy, Utah students must be proficient in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math – STEM, for short,” said William Sederburg, Utah’s Commissioner of Higher Education. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with EPSCoR to provide another avenue to reach students in these critical areas of study.”
Ultimately, the Utah EPSCoR office seeks to create systemic change within the state’s research and development and university infrastructure, building the capability for long-term and sustainable improvement in the state’s ability to compete for future R&D funding.
“We live and operate in a knowledge-based economy, and few States recognize the need for growing greater capacity for research and innovation than in Utah,” said Ted McAleer, executive director of USTAR.“The Utah EPSCoR office will allow us to better work together to harness that potential, which will lead to increased opportunities and, ultimately, the creation of more jobs and revenue across the state.”