Champlin Foundations awards URI three grants for technology to support teaching and research

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 19, 2014 — The Champlin Foundations have awarded the University of Rhode Island three grants totaling $421,795 to purchase high-tech equipment to advance education and student learning. The three grants will fund new teaching and research tools for in-vitro testing of pharmaceuticals, advanced characterization of powders, and imaging of nanoscale materials and processes.

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 $13 million.

“These projects provide our faculty with state-of-the-art technology and facilities that expand opportunities for our students and position the University as a leading institution dedicated to active and engaged student learning,” said Mike Smith, president of the URI Foundation. “We are very grateful to the Champlin Foundations for their continued support and investment in our teaching programs, faculty and students.”

The three grants are:

1. Augmentation of the Good Manufacturing Practice Laboratory with addition of pharmaceutical in-vitro testing, $109,000. The Good Manufacturing Practice Laboratory at the URI College of Pharmacy provides students with unique industrial experience in understanding the regulatory requirements for the manufacturing and testing of pharmaceutical products. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase in vitro testing equipment for the evaluation of pharmaceuticals under simulated body conditions, which will enhance student learning in the lab. With the addition of this equipment, URI will be the first university to have an advanced in vitro testing system coupled with pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities in a GMP lab, providing students with skills in great demand in the bioscience industry.

2. Undergraduate training and research for advanced production and characterization of powders, $158,500. The use of powders is of great importance to many industries, from pharmaceutics and food science to manufacturing and nanotechnology. This grant will fund acquisition of equipment for the advanced production and characterization of powders that will complement existing laboratory equipment and benefit students in a variety of disciplines, especially pharmacy and engineering. It will make URI the only university to provide undergraduate students with access to this technology, and due to the widespread applications of powder technology, students will gain skills that will distinguish them in their field.

3. An advanced hyperspectral imaging system to observe nanoscale materials and processes, $154,295. Demand for skilled workers in the nanotechnology field is skyrocketing, and URI is working to meet that need with several courses and student research opportunities for those studying engineering, chemistry and other STEM disciplines. Funds from this grant will be used to purchase a hyperspectral microscope system that will allow students to gain fundamental insight into nanoscale materials, systems and processes with minimal time and training. The equipment can be used with ease in classrooms and laboratories throughout campus, enabling new approaches to undergraduate education in many disciplines and making students more competitive for employment.