A two-year plan submitted by the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) at West Virginia University to improve infrastructure across West Virginia has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP)a collaboration between WVU and Marshall Universitywill be used to build on the states existing environmental research infrastructure while improving communication between academics and the beneficiaries of environmental research: industry, the public and state and federal agencies, according to Paul Ziemkiewicz, SIP program manager.

Implementation of the SIP will occur over the next two years with the help of $174,928 awarded by the U.S. EPA and $308,418 of WVWRI program funds.

The first Science and Engineering Environmental Research (SEER) project under the SIP will focus on the development of electrochemical techniques for the detection/quantification of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants using boron-doped diamond electrodes. For more information about the SEER project at WVU , contact Dr. Mohinder S. Seehra, the projects principal investigator, at 304-293-3422.

SIP approval comes from the U.S. EPA s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). EPSCoR is a federal, merit-based, science and technology initiative to improve research capacity, capability and competitiveness.

The approval of the West Virginia Water Research Institutes SIP enables West Virginia to join selected universities and non-profit institutions in 19 states and Puerto Rico to participate in building the nations science and technology infrastructure, improve the quality of research and increase technological and economic opportunities within the state, Ziemkiewicz said.

For additional information, visithttp://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.eduor call 304-293-2867.