To advance understanding of how socio-ecological systems can adapt sustainably to climate change, Oklahoma has been awarded $20 million over five years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
The award will facilitate research and learning opportunities for college faculty, college students and K-12 students. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will provide an annual $800,000 match.
“This award will strengthen Oklahoma’s capacity to perform cutting-edge research that will benefit the state,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Through EPSCoR, we will be able to broaden participation in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, resulting in a more educated and diverse scientific workforce for our state’s economy.”
The knowledge gained during the project will be used to empower managers to effectively adapt socio-ecological systems to climate variability and to educate Oklahomans about the expected consequences of regional environmental change.
“The new program will continue our efforts to develop the capacity and capability to conduct nationally and internationally competitive research in the state of Oklahoma,” said Dr. Jerry Malayer, Oklahoma EPSCoR state program director. “In addition, the program integrates research and education, offering research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and educational outreach initiatives for K-12 public schools.”
The NSF award is a multi-institutional collaborative project that includes researchers from Oklahoma State University, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the University of Oklahoma and The University of Tulsa.
The award will be managed by Dr. James Wicksted, principal investigator, OSU professor and director of multidisciplinary research, and Oklahoma EPSCoR associate director. Dr. Alicia Knoedler, associate vice president for research and director of the Center for Research Program Development and Enrichment at OU, will serve as the co-principal investigator.
EPSCoR, originally developed by NSF, is designed to expand research opportunities in states that have traditionally received less funding in federal support for university research. Oklahoma EPSCoR is a partnership among colleges and universities, industry and research institutions. Its mission is to make Oklahoma researchers more successful in competing for research funding. The program is also funded through an award from the State Regents.