West Virginia University research promoting fuel for our engines and our bodies advanced thanks to a pair of mini-grants provided by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research.

The mini-grants provide replacement salary for an uninterrupted period of time for a faculty member to write research or research equipment proposals during the summer. Each of the six winning faculty members agrees to submit a proposal for funding from an external agency or foundation as a result of obtaining the mini-grant.

Vagner Benedito and Kaushlendra Singh, both of WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, each earned $5,000 to further their research agendas. Both will use the mini-grants to spend a portion of this summer crafting proposals to the National Science Foundation.

Singh, an assistant professor of wood science and technology, will pursue funding for his research into biofuels, specifically a means of stabilizing biological pyrolysis oil. Singh authored an editorial for a leading Future Science-Biofuels Journal’s special issue on advanced feedstock for advanced biofuels earlier this year. In addition, Singh will host the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Bioenergy Day in Kansas City, Missouri on July 23.

Benedito, an assistant professor of genetics and developmental biology, seeks support to continue his research into the genetic root of nitrogen fixation in plants so that breeders can apply this knowledge in breeding programs aimed at reduced use of artificially made nitrogen fertilizers. Benedito co-authored an article on the sequencing of the genome of his legume model species that appeared in the journal Nature.

Dr. Jan Taylor, the Commission’s director of Research Programs, said “The Mini-Grant Program is an investment in research, education, and ultimately, in economic development. By allowing these faculty members the opportunity to concentrate on external research proposals, the State of West Virginia ultimately may realize benefits well beyond its $30,000 investment.”

The Research Proposal Mini-Grants are funded by the West Virginia Research Challenge Fund, which lays the foundation for many of the state’s competitive grant programs. For more information regarding that fund and other programs managed by the Division of Science and Research, please visit www.wvresearch.org.



CONTACT: David Welsh, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design
304-293-2394, david.welsh@mail.wvu.edu

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