Engaging a broad spectrum of the education continuum in Kansas on the importance of STEM research (particularly climate and energy) is one of KNE's goals. To advance this goal KNE provided funding for Education and Diversity Grants that take a wide range of approaches, many of which involve summer workshops and symposia for students and teachers in the state.
Eugene Cody, an undergraduate American Indian Studies major at Haskell Indian Nations University (and enrolled member in the Hope tribe), was recruited to participate in the summer of 2013 Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Institute. During this time he developed a research project examining the air quality associated with the burning of coal in the homes of the native Hopi people in northern Arizona and to identify solutions to the resulting problems (air quality, climate change, water use, and human health). Cody was accepted as to the 2014 SOARS summer program and will spend ten weeks conducting original research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or at laboratories of other SOARS sponsors.
Kansas University geography associate professor, Jay Johnson, is the recipient of a 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).
Xin Fu, an assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Kansas was honored this spring with an NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. In 2012, Fu received a Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) First Award to support her research in energy efficient computing.
Kansas NSF EPSCoR is playing an important role in determining how Kansas farmers and policy makers can mitigate the effects of climate change. Part of the process is interacting with the public to discuss the relevance of their work. Several recent community events featured the expertise of KNE researchers on the topic.
The National Science Foundation has named Kansas State University as its lead institution for the world's first Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on wheat. The premier center, named the NSF I/UCRC Wheat Genetics Resource Center, is the first National Science Foundation-established research center for any crop plant. It will focus on improving the food production and disease resistance of wheat and other crop plants, as well as serve as a training hub for graduate students and young researchers.