Centre College is no stranger to National Science Foundation grants. In the early 1990s, two professors were awarded NSF grants of $45,000 and $160,000 for a laser system and an NMR spectrometer, respectively, in addition to many smaller grants throughout the years. But Centre’s recent award of about $1,080,000 is one that is making a large and visible impact on campus.
The National Science Foundation is an organization that usually funds research and education at the level of instrumentation and provides salaries for student and faculty researchers. But the recent federal stimulus package gave the National Science Foundation money specifically for creating jobs. The NSF used this money to initiate a facilities program, which aims to renovate and update existing science facilities.
Centre realized that this grant was the perfect opportunity to aid in the renovation of the older sections of Young Hall, which recently underwent a $20 million expansion.
Associate dean Keith Dunn, the principal investigator for this grant, says that the award will be directly beneficial through a synthetic chemical lab shared between two faculty members and six to eight students; several psychology research spaces shared between three faculty members and eight to twelve students; and a divisional collaborative area shared between 12 to 15 students.
But winning the grant was no easy task. Centre only received confirmation of the award in September, after countless hours of work by Kathryn Bowles, Vicki Walker, Dunn, and dean of the College Stephanie Fabritius, and co-principal investigators Joe Workman, KatieAnn Skogsberg and Michael Hamilton.
And although the money is undoubtedly useful, Dunn notes that the award is also a great recognition of the work going on here at Centre.
“It says a lot about the science and research training at Centre that the National Science Foundation is willing to commit more than one million dollars towards our collaborative research efforts,” he says. “It’s a research grant, and we were competitive against large research schools.”
And the grant’s being awarded to fewer than one in five applicants, this award is something that the entire college can be proud of.