URI awarded grants from Champlin Foundations for cybersecurity, biotechnology, environmental monitoring

KINGSTON, R.I. – December 14, 2011 — The Champlin Foundations has provided the University of Rhode Island with $374,750 to purchase high-tech equipment to advance education and student learning. The three grants will fund new tools and facilities to provide cybersecurity education and training; instruments for the study of proteins and DNA; and autonomous vehicles for environmental monitoring of the Narragansett Bay watershed.

“These projects generously funded by The Champlin Foundations allow our faculty to expand opportunities for our students and to hone their skills in the use of the latest technological advances to engage students,” said Don DeHayes, URI provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are very grateful to The Champlin Foundations for their continued support and commitment to student learning.”

The Champlin Foundations’ generosity toward URI spans more than 40 years. In 1970, the Foundations made their first donation to the University in the form of a scholarship grant for the College of Pharmacy. Since 1986 they have awarded annual grants to URI totaling more than $12 million.

The following grants have been awarded this year:

CyberSecurity Instructional Facility – $159,160 – This new facility will be equipped to provide the focal point of instruction for a new undergraduate minor and graduate degree in cybersecurity. It will also serve as a workforce training center and provide training to local educators on cybersecurity as well. The grant will provide funding to acquire network data center equipment for hands-on student instruction in cybersecurity principles and techniques, and sophisticated cyberwarfare gaming software similar to that used by the U.S. government.

Vaccine and Biologics Purification – $123,640 – Access to state-of-the-art technologies is vital to undergraduate biotechnology education, which requires that students study the science of proteins and DNA. This grant will support the purchase of instruments for high-quality protein separations and for the rapid concentration of DNA, RNA and proteins. These two technologies will provide URI undergraduates with experience in essential aspects of modern biotechnology and set them apart from their counterparts at other institutions.

Mobile Autonomous Surface Vehicle – $91,950 – Autonomous Surface Vehicles are self-propelled robotic watercraft that can collect data on water temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll, and oxygen, as well as sonar images, using a suite of environmental sensors. The grant will provide funding for the purchase of one vehicle for student learning. Teaching materials and field-based activities in the Narragansett Bay watershed will be designed to teach students how to use these modern tools for making field measurements so they can develop a scientific understanding of the local marine environment.