Rockefeller on Cyberinfrastructure and Biometrics Grants


Washington, D.C. – Senator Jay Rockefeller and Governor Joe Manchin today announced that the Higher Education Policy Commission’s West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) has received two major research infrastructure grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) worth more than $4.4 million. The first grant will help build capacity and promote the use of advanced supercomputing at its higher education institutions with the goal of enabling scientific discovery. The second grant will extend ongoing biometrics research that could lead to new identification technologies or medical devices.

“Science and innovation are top priorities for West Virginia, and key components of our economy – both in generating jobs and in federal investment,” said Senator Rockefeller. “Advanced cyberinfrastructure is essential to supporting that innovation, biometrics is a growing and exciting part of our state’s economy, and I’m so happy to see these research dollars supporting both. This funding will continue to help us harness our talents and abilities – and our own brand of West Virginia ingenuity – to seek out new opportunities and keep our state strong.”

“Having a strong research and technology sector is pivotal for this state and our economic growth. We have shown that we can compete at a very high level in the science and research arena and I am pleased to see that hard work continue. This is one of the best investments that our state can make and I know that if we maintain a commitment from the professionals in higher education and all of our state, local and federal representatives working in partnership, that we will see more research and scientific progress in the future,” said Gov. Joe Manchin.

“One of the major goals of these projects is to raise the level of visibility on our campuses of the empowering nature of cyberinfrastructure,” added Dr. Paul L. Hill, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission vice chancellor for science and research and state EPSCoR director. “This information technology will enhance scientific inquiry and revolutionize who can participate, what they can do and how they do it. In addition to the powerful new capabilities it will bring to our scientists the sharing of knowledge, and common tools will lead to a community of shared research practice that will empower the participants in unexpected ways. The extension of the current biometrics award will ensure that our technology investigations continue to move forward.”


West Virginia will receive more than $2.6 million over three years to upgrade networks and enhance immersive visualization capabilities for researchers at West Virginia University, Marshall University and West Virginia State University in collaboration with the University of Arkansas system. The grant will assist the institutions with connection to high-performance computing networks and resources around the world, allowing researchers to collaborate in real time without geographic limitations.

An additional $1.8 million was awarded to continue “Next Generation Biometrics” an ongoing effort at the same universities that seeks to better understand identification technologies and minute sensors that can detect chemical compounds or potential disease.

Combined, these grants will make possible transformative research in a number of disciplines across the universities, including nanoscience, real-time image-guided surgery, scalable virtual world technology and particle-based physics simulations. The advances also will allow West Virginia’s scientists to compete for funding on a more equal footing with colleagues in other states.

In addition to the enhanced research tools these grants will provide, the projects will nurture a workforce that can create and sustain cyber-based systems, tools and services over the long term. A network of faculty and information technology professional staff will be developed on each campus and complementary educational activities will be undertaken at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels.

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