Universities To Receive Funds
Sen. Mary Landrieu included several million dollars for Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 signed recently by President Barack Obama.
Tech will receive $1.43 million for bionanotechnology research and commercialization, as well as another $950,000 for a K-12 cyberspace education research program. GSU is set to gain $237,500 to develop minority entrepreneurship programs.
In a news release, GSU President Horace Judson praised Landrieu’s effort to support Grambling’s work in that area.
“Entrepreneurs are optimistic and innovative, so continuing to invest in them is especially valuable in these difficult economic times,” Judson said.
The initiative will assist minority and other underrepresented business owners in rural Louisiana to develop business and operation plans, enhance technology and provide training.
Tech’s K-12 cyberspace funds will go toward furthering an idea spawned last summer, when several professors at the university hosted a cyberspace camp for high school students and their teachers.
“The K-12 cyberspace education program is aimed much more broadly than just the cyber camp,” said organizer and professor Galen Turner. “There are initiatives under way that this funding will accelerate by building on our recruitment efforts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the region.”
Bossier City’s Cyber Innovation Center has been involved at the ground level, Turner said, so CIC employees will work with Tech on the K-12 program. The plan also involves other universities and members in the Consortium for Education, Research and Technology in north Louisiana. Details are being worked out, and Tech Vice President for Research and Development Les Guice said Department of Education approval will be required.
Several bionanotechnology projects are under way with the money marked for research and commercialization, Guice said. For example, the university is working on a patent to produce biofuels from algae through research by Lynn Walker.
“This is a very promising area with a lot of commercial potential,” he said. “(Louisiana Economic Development) hosted an algae biofuel workshop last week, and the keynote speaker pointed out how ideally suited Louisiana is for this industry.”
Several other projects under the direction of Jim Palmer, Yuri Lvov and Chester Wilson are continuing Tech’s work to advance alternative energy technologies, Guice said.
Landrieu said the funding is, in one way, a method to buffer universities from the deep
impact predicted from $219 million in budget reductions statewide.
“The projects funded in this legislation will help keep our state’s university systems on the cutting edge by funding new agriculture and alternative energy research,” Landrieu said. “As Louisiana’s universities face budget shortfalls — threatening academic programs and job security — I can think of no better time to direct investments to important
research that might otherwise be cut.”
Funds specifically dedicated
• Louisiana Tech is set to receive $1.43 million for bionanotechnology research and commercialization toward alternative energy goals, and another $950,000 for a K-12 cyberspace education research program.
• Grambling State University is set to gain $237,500 for development of minority entrepreneurship projects.