MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University received a significant award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) for the inaugural Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) initiative. The funding amounts to nearly $1.2 million, with Western’s award being $399,999, spanning over three years. The NSP EPIIC award is in partnership with Christopher Newport University and Champlain College.
“We are pleased that we’ve secured additional funds to boost our industry connections, allowing our faculty to dive into more research and development projects,” declared Provost Jose Coll. “Concurrently, this initiative will expand the spectrum of workforce readiness options for our students, reinforcing our commitment to professional growth.”
EPIIC is a new program that aims to promote innovation and advance technologies by supporting partnerships and enhancing workforce opportunities at higher education institutions. It’s a part of NSF’s Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships Directorate (TIP).
Western has specific goals for capacity-building and expanding partnerships, which include:
- Establishing a centralized system to provide support and coordinate industry partnerships
- Developing strategies, best practices, policies, and templates for creating and maintaining industry partnerships.
- Strengthening faculty members’ ability to engage in research and development industry partnerships.
- Increasing opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in the industry to improve workforce readiness.
This grant involved collaboration among three areas on campus: the Sponsored Projects Office, the Division of Computer Science, and Western’s partnership specialist. The project is headed by Western Oregon University faculty and staff, including Hillary Fouts, Becka Morgan, Tad Shannon, Breeann Flesch, and Jessica Murfin.
About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. Many attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative education in a supportive, student-centered learning community where classes are taught by faculty. Together we succeed.