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ADA – East Central University will play a key role in a recently awarded $20 million grant to study the intersection of land use, water availability and infrastructure.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, administered by the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), will support interdisciplinary research to benefit all of Oklahoma. In addition to ECU, participating entities include Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, Langston University, the University of Tulsa, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the Noble Research Institute.

“We are very pleased and honored to be a part of this project,” said Susan Paddack, director of Oka’ The Water Institute at ECU. “Our role will be to lead the Oklahoma Opinion Advisory Network (OLAN), a group of 80-100 state opinion leaders that will engage and interact with the scientists to find sustainable solutions for our state in the areas of changing weather patterns, water quality, land cover management and sustainable infrastructure.”

During the five-year award, a team of 34 researchers from the aforementioned entities will develop and test science-based solutions for complex problems of sustainability. The grant will provide education and workforce development programming to more than 150,000 Oklahomans of all ages. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) will provide matching support for the grant.

OSRHE, NSF and EPSCoR officials agree that the grant will also create excellent learning opportunities in the “STEM” fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“I want to thank Susan Paddack for working diligently to include us in this great opportunity to raise awareness of water in our state,” said ECU President Katricia Pierson. “The work she does with the Water Institute makes the entire University proud and furthers the understanding of perhaps our greatest natural resource.”


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