Undergraduate science research enhanced through grant award

June 12, 2014

Grant funding of more than a quarter-million dollars will enhance faculty-mentored undergraduate student research at Emporia State University.

The award of $348, 375 comes from Emporia State’s involvement in Kansas Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, known as K-INBRE, a multi-institutional program to enhance Kansas’ research capacity through faculty development, retention and infrastructure, as well as inspire undergraduate researchers to pursue careers in biomedical research. Emporia State is one of 10 university campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma that are part of the initiative.

“We are thrilled to have continued access to the K-INBRE programs that provide unique opportunities for our undergraduates,” said Dr. Tim Burnett, associate professor of biological sciences at Emporia State and K-INBRE campus coordinator. “This funding will undoubtedly enhance the undergraduate experience at Emporia State.”

The award will go toward renovations to the third floor of the Science Hall to make research space for the Department of Physical Sciences, Burnett said, as well as supporting a K-INBRE Undergraduate Coordinator Office for the next five years. In addition to the initial grant, the award also renews several competitive funding opportunities for available to Emporia State faculty and students. These include start-up and recruitment packages for new faculty, faculty research grants, grants to support undergraduate research in the summer and grants for the purchase of shared equipment. Collectively, these programs will likely generate an additional $300,000 in research and training dollars.

 “The K-INBRE funding will definitely build and maintain our research infrastructure while improving the research capacity within the departments of biological and physical sciences,” Burnett said.

K-INBRE was originally funded in 2001 as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Institutional Development Awards program, or IDeA. IDeA supports biomedical researchers in 23 states and Puerto Rico that historically have been underfunded by National Institutes of Health research dollars.

Throughout its 13-year tenure, K-INBRE, with the University of Kansas Medical Center as lead institute, has assisted researchers in obtaining 189 grants totaling $96.4 million to date.

The current funding comes from a five-year, $19 million grant to the University of Kansas Medical Center from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

A fervent advocate of undergraduate research, Burnett has involved over 50 students in his research program since arriving at ESU in 2002.

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