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University awarded $6M National Science Foundation grant to bolster regional innovation

aerial view of Boise State
Boise State campus aerial, Spring 2020, Matthew Crook photo.

Boise State University is prepared to advance innovation throughout the region with a $6 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) “Accelerating Research Translation” (ART) program.

In awarding this four-year grant, the NSF seeks to bolster a regional innovation ecosystem — increase the scale and pace of advancing discoveries made while conducting academic research into tangible solutions that benefit the public. The primary goals of this program are to build capacity and infrastructure for translational research at U.S. institutions of higher education and to enhance their role in regional innovation ecosystems. In addition, this program seeks to effectively train graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in translational research, benefiting them across a range of career options.

“We are on the cutting edge of thinking about how to redesign the university in order to generate greater societal impact,” said Brian Wampler, the grant’s principal investigator and the President’s Professor of Public Scholarship and Engagement. “The grant will help empower faculty and staff to directly work with external partners on research, teaching and learning opportunities. It’s building the institutional capacity at Boise State to improve, elevate, and engage with our external partners in better, and different ways.”

With this award, Boise State will partner with mentor institution Arizona State University, to create and maintain a thriving, sustainable and innovative translational research ecosystem that is responsive to the economic and societal needs of the region and nation.

“The grant emphasizes studying Boise State’s current capacity to serve our community and immediately address those areas where we identify opportunities to expand partnerships and to more meaningfully serve Idaho,” said Roger Brown, director of economic development and community relations. “Through this process, we can build on the last 20 years of significant growth in enrollment, programming, degree production, visibility and research funding at the university, and further our culture around partnerships, technology, innovation and entrepreneurialism.”

Additional Boise State co-principal investigators on the award include: Jana LaRosa (assistant vice president for research advancement and strategy), Kevin Feris (director of the School of the Environment), Brett Adkins (director of the Office of Technology Transfer) and Kent Neupert (professor and department chair of Management in the College of Business and Economics).