Developing Competitive Environmental Research in ArkansasEPA Grant Number: R829417E01
Title: Developing Competitive Environmental Research in Arkansas
Investigators: Melchert, Russell B.
Current Investigators: Melchert, Russell B. , Kennedy, Richard H.
Institution: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Current Institution: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences , Loyola University - New Orleans
EPA Project Officer: Hunt, Sherri
Project Period: May 24, 2002 through May 23, 2004 (Extended to May 23, 2005)
Project Amount: $250,000
RFA: EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) (2001) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: EPSCoR (The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)
Arkansas prides itself in being the "Natural State", and the environment is one of the major concerns of our citizens. In fact, both the Arkansas plan for research and development, and the strategic plan for UAMS identify environmental issues as target areas for development. Statewide planning to establish a concerted effort in environmental research began in 1991. Information obtained at that time from environmental scientists and public officials indicated that progress in this area was limited by lack of start-up funding, lack of equipment, lack of technical staff, and lack of communications among scientists. Since that time, state institutions have made significant improvements in technical support and equipment. Thus, the current program will address the other two concerns: 1) lack of pilot funding; and 2) inadequate communications.
The long-term goal is to continue development of the Arkansas Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), whose mission is to support and promote the competitiveness of environmental S&E research. The majority of the proposed budget focuses on the support of one SEER project that was selected by the Arkansas EPSCoR Committee based on applicability to EPA and state initiatives, scientific merit, and the likelihood of continued federal funding. The project is entitled "Screening Disinfection By-products for Their Ability to Promote Autoimmunity.
In addition to supporting the SEER project, EPA's EPSCoR Office will continue to devote the majority of its effort to maintaining a database on environmental S&E efforts in Arkansas and to establishing an annual statewide environmental sciences conference, which will further enhance interactions among interested scientists in the state. The database, which is available on the ACES Home Page, provides information regarding investigators' research interests, research-services available in the state, environmental hazards in Arkansas, educational opportunities, information about scientific meetings and opportunities for funding, and current findings by EPA-related projects in our state.
In addition to fulfilling the review criteria discussed above, the SEER project provides mentoring interactions between junior and senior scientists, and establishes collaborations among institutions of higher education within the state. The progress of the program will be monitored by an Environmental Science Advisory Committee based on scientific presentations and publications, trainees involved, and applications submitted to federal agencies for continued support.