EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The National Science Foundation offered $400,000 to colleges across the country for their science programs. UW-Eau Claire applied and was one of the 50 finalists to get to the next step in obtaining the grant.

According to Dr. Mike Carney of UWEC, there was one catch, “In order to be successful in the next stage, you have to you had to collaborate with one of the other 50 or two of the other 50, and which was unusual. Normally you come in with your own proposal and then they evaluate it and they evaluate it. The rules were that you had to collaborate with another member of this of this cohort.”

Dr. Carney says all the colleges that were considered found their partners via Zoom meetings to find who were the best fit. The best fit for UW-Eau Claire was the College of New Jersey a college that Dr. Carney was hoping to collaborate with. He explains, “We’re very similar campuses in terms of size. There are obviously in New Jersey, we’re in Wisconsin. So, collaborating with them was actually very attractive because we could part of the goal of the collaboration is that we actually share knowledge that we learned through this, through this grant with each other, but we’re not competing with each other for students.”

This grant and collaboration will allow local industries to bring in research projects from the outside so that students and faculty can further their knowledge. Dr. Carney says this will benefit the students, “We have found that students are really energized and engaged by working on projects where they can see kind of the end result, the impact of their of their work. In a clearer view. Students are more engaged in the project. They like the projects more they can feel more ownership over the project.” 

The main goal for this grant is to share what the students and faculty learn. Dr. Carney says, “When we figure out what works and doesn’t work, we don’t just hold it secret. We actually disseminate that to the world, or we tell NSF about it so that they can share best practices with a broader audience.”

UWEC is working with the Mayo Clinic. Students can solve issues that the clinic comes across.