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Delaware EPSCoR receives cyber-infrastructure improvement grant

Delaware EPSCoR receives cyber-infrastructure improvement grant

The Delaware Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) has been awarded a $1.18 million grant by the National Science Foundation through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding to upgrade the cyber-infrastructure linking higher education institutions throughout the state.

“The vision for this grant is that all of the Delaware EPSCoR partner institutions will have access to high-quality cyber-infrastructure and centralized informatics capabilities that support leading-edge research, education and outreach in the EPSCoR focus area of environmental science and biotechnology,” said Karl Steiner, senior associate provost for research development and professor of electrical and computer engineering at UD.

Steiner is the principal investigator on the grant, along with co-PI Daniel Leathers, professor of geography and deputy dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

The grant supports four goals:

-- Closing gaps in intra- and intercampus cybernetworks within and among the campuses of the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Wesley College and Delaware Technical and Community College;

-- Launching the Delaware Environmental Monitoring and Analysis Center (DEMAC), a statewide center to coordinate environmental data collection from diverse sources;

-- Promoting broader education in spatial technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Delaware institutions; and

-- Enhancing cyberbased environmental outreach that targets underrepresented urban populations through a partnership with the Delaware Nature Society.

“One part of this grant will allow us to upgrade the bandwidth between the UD Newark and Lewes campuses by a factor of 10,” Steiner said.

According to Leathers, Delaware EPSCoR's focus on environmental science and biotechnology has led to a need for large-scale data collection and analyses.

“We are developing new tools for monitoring the environment, integrating information from diverse data streams and disseminating the information to users across the region,” Leathers said. “We have to have the capability to store, process, organize, analyze and share all this data.”

“One of the exciting opportunities this grant will allow us to pursue is the launch of the Delaware Environmental Monitoring and Analysis Center,” Leathers added. “DEMAC will bring together a large set of environmental sensing systems distributed across the state to enable us to model and analyze trends and patterns.”

Steiner noted that the infrastructure improvements will have a broad impact on the state because policy makers will have a rich base of scientific information on which to base policy decisions and the associated education and outreach efforts will help create a diverse cadre of students who are well-prepared for scientific and technological careers.

Article by Beth Chajes
Photo by Evan Krape