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NH’s Leadership Role In Science, Technology Gets Big Boost With $8M Investment From NSF

NSF Funds Coming NH's Way
Selsha Tuladhar ’23 tests samples in the Additive Biomanufacturing Lab at Keene State, which is a NH-LIFT partner.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded teams from New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Maine roughly $8 million each to enhance their state’s research and development competitiveness and promote scientific progress nationwide.

The University of New Hampshire is the vanguard for the cooperative agreement award for New Hampshire, as it leads the NH-LIFT project and its goal to develop a network that includes representatives from all 17 colleges and universities in the state, including Keene State College.

The collaborative work of the consortium aims to boost the research capacity of undergraduate-serving institutions, community colleges, and related industry partners.

NH-LIFT, short for New Hampshire Long-term Investment to Fuel Transformative Research, will also work closely with the NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program to develop relationships between academia and businesses.

“To build sustainable research capacity, we are leveraging individual institutional strengths across the state and creating enduring networks,” said Melinda Treadwell, president of Keene State College. “At Keene State College, we look forward to building upon existing collaborative partnerships across the state to enhance opportunities for our students and faculty to engage in powerful research.”

The NSF awards for the three jurisdictions come through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Collaborations for Optimizing Research Ecosystems Research Infrastructure Improvement Program (E-CORE RII). UNH oversaw NSF EPSCoR’s last major investment in New Hampshire, the $20 million NH BioMade initiative, which supports the state’s rapidly growing biomaterials industry. Keene State faculty and students were also engaged in that research.

NH-LIFT’s goals over the next four years include procuring new research opportunities at partner institutions; developing and strengthening educational and research collaborations with regional industry partners; sharing institutional best practices to recruit, empower, and retain a broad and diverse group of students in STEM fields; and building a cohort of project alumni that will support near-peer mentoring and recruitment.

Other partner institutions include Dartmouth College, Plymouth State University, New England College, Saint Anselm College, Colby-Sawyer College, Franklin Pierce University, Rivier University, and the Community College System of New Hampshire.

NH-Lift encapsulates New Hampshire’s innovative spirit. I’m excited to see $8 million coming to our state to help strengthen cutting-edge research and our STEM workforce.”

– N.H. Sen. Maggie Hassan

“With this support, UNH will collaborate across New Hampshire to create a more robust research infrastructure that allows all institutions in the state to more meaningfully participate in funded research projects, building New Hampshire’s STEM workforce and driving the state’s innovation economy,” said Marian McCord, UNH senior vice provost for research, economic engagement and outreach and principal investigator on the grant.

E-CORE RII is a new program to further EPSCoR’s goals by building capacity in one or more targeted research areas within the EPSCoR ecosystem.

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said: “By boosting their state’s R&D capabilities, these teams are poised to drive use-inspired research and transform STEM education and workforce development within their regions. This investment from NSF’s E-CORE RII program underscores our commitment to advancing research and building robust research infrastructure hubs, fostering innovation ecosystems, and creating pathways for economic growth and societal impact.”

New Hampshire’s U.S. senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, said the funding is consequential in many ways, including advancing scientific progress, creating jobs, and moving the state’s economy forward.

“This award is a win for the Granite State scientific community,” Shaheen said. “ I look forward to following and celebrating the results while continuing to fight for investments, through the EPSCoR program, that benefit New Hampshire.”

“NH-Lift encapsulates New Hampshire’s innovative spirit,” Hassan said. “I’m excited to see $8 million coming to our state to help strengthen cutting-edge research and our STEM workforce.”

Learn more about the E-CORE RII program

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