NSF Science & Engineering Messengers

Archive for March 2013

Bluegrass Science: Revving Up the Economy Through Research in the State of Kentucky

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This is a sample blog post composed at the March 5, 2013 NSF “Science: Becoming the Messenger” workshop in Louisville, Kentucky.

When people think about the state of Kentucky, the first instinct is probably to picture a scene of mint julep sipping at the Kentucky Derby. Sure, the horses might be fast–but the living is slow and easy.

But if you’re paying attention to the state’s scientific endeavors, you get a very different picture: one of dynamism. Currently, Kentucky is finishing out a five year, $ 12.5 million grant–with $ 5 million in state matching funds–from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). The investment is designed to grow research in some of the most promising areas where Kentucky researchers have built-in expertise—such as nanotechnology, bioengineering, and ecological genomics. But the grant hasn’t just increased the state’s research capacity—it’s also contributing to the Kentucky economy. That’s no small thing in a state whose per capita income ($ 23,033) lags the national average ($ 27,915), and which also ranks well behind most U.S. states in patents per capita.

Over the last eight years, NSF funds have created 377 research jobs at Kentucky institutions. And that’s just for the scientists doing the work (and those who support them), so it only begins to describe the full economic impact. Consider: In 2011-2012 alone, EPSCOR-supported Kentucky researchers reported nine pending or awarded research patents, for innovations in areas ranging from nanoribbons to tissue culturing. Three of those patents were licensed to General Motors. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by nsfmessengers

March 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized