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2007.09.06 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

University of Nebraska Foundation awards grants to UNO

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is the recipient of two grants from the University of Nebraska Foundation to bolster promising programs on campus. The Institute for Collaboration Science and the Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Laboratories were awarded a total of $243,900 from the foundation’s grants committee.

Proposals for funding, including the two winning proposals submitted by UNO Chancellor John Christensen, carried the theme of “academic excellence through collaboration and service” to align with overarching campus priorities.

“This and other support we receive through the University of Nebraska Foundation has a profound impact on the attainment of our academic goals by helping elevate the educational experience for students and faculty,” Dr. Christensen said. “Because it can be challenging to obtain outside funding for core research infrastructure, these grants are especially important in helping us attract and build support from other agencies.”

The programs funded:

Institute for Collaboration Science ($125,000):

This grant represents the second year of funding from the grants committee. The investment in the Institute for Collaboration Science has generated significant activity, including matching grant awards; more than $8 million in research proposals under review by the government, military and industry organizations; published papers in peer reviewed academic journals; and the development of the first academic course, Principles of Collaboration.

“We are again grateful for the funding that allows us to work toward the goal of becoming a national center of expertise on collaboration processes, methods and technologies,” said Gert-Jan de Vreede, managing director of the Institute for Collaboration Science and professor of information systems and quantitative analysis. “Our accomplishments to date have already positioned the university as a recognized leader in this area, which is the subject of growing academic enquiry worldwide.”

Plans were started for the institute in 2005 with the belief that to be successful and profitable in an ever-changing marketplace, organizations must master the art and science of collaboration. It draws upon experts from across UNO, including business, information science, psychology, communication, education and public administration.

Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Research Programs ($118,900):

Much of this award will be used to purchase new laboratory equipment for two scientific research laboratories in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.  The Exercise Physiology Laboratory, directed by Kris Berg and Jessica Meendering, and the Biomechanics Research Laboratory, directed by Nicholas Stergiou, will combine their expertise to address issues of quality of life by studying how to improve the physical capacity of a variety of different populations, particularly those with chronic health problems.

“These complementary programs (exercise science and biomechanics) are in position to expand their research capabilities to meet the needs of an aging population and to leverage future research funding opportunities” Berg said.

Meendering added, “This funding will allow us to purchase the equipment needed to conduct research on some upcoming hot topics in our field.”

Stergiou, the Isaacson Professor, said the grant from the NU Foundation will also help to attract funding from other sources. “The award allows us to acquire new research equipment that will broaden the research capabilities of these laboratories and will better enable us to attract additional funding,” he said.

* * *

Eight grants funded across NU

The University of Nebraska Foundation’s grants committee awarded eight grants, including the UNO grants, across the university totaling $1.16 million for 2007-2008. Much of the annual grant resources are made available from unrestricted donations to the foundation.

“The quality of the research and educational activities conducted by the University of Nebraska continues to achieve higher levels of excellence,” said Grants Committee Chairwoman Veronica Haggart, a University of Nebraska graduate and St. Paul, Neb., native.  “The programs selected for funding by the grants committee will benefit students and faculty while also helping to bring national recognition to the university and the state.”

Grant applications were submitted to James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska, from each campus chancellor, who were instructed that grant proposals must be tied to campus priorities and the university-wide strategic framework. It was then the job of the foundation grants committee to make final recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 70 years. More than $87 million was provided last year for students, faculty, academic programs, research and building and campus capital improvements.

More information is available at www.nufoundation.org.

For more information, contact Robb Crouch, University of Nebraska Foundation at (402) 458-1142 or rcrouch@nufoundation.org.

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