Much of the annual grant resources are made available from unrestricted donations to the foundation. The chancellors submit proposals annually for the grant money, and all proposals must be aligned with the university’s strategic framework, as outlined by NU President James B. Milliken.
Among the projects receiving funding are the new entrepreneurship academic program at UNK; a writing improvement initiative for students at UNL; state-of-the-art diagnostic and research equipment for UNMC; and an interdisciplinary research program at UNO to help improve the physical capacity of those with chronic health problems.
"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."
The following projects received funding:
University of Nebraska at Kearney:
• $133,750 to help start the Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation by hiring a new faculty member to teach and perform research in entrepreneurship and to lead student programs.
• $82,500 for the Department of Political Science and its research project "Empowering Rural Youth to Empower Nebraska Communities" aimed at identifying positive features of small town rural life and encouraging young Nebraskans to stay in the state.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
• $200,000 to the Initiative on Teaching and Learning Excellence for development of a student writing program to help them better communicate within their discipline and chosen profession.
• $250,000 for the Jackie D. Gaughan Multicultural Center, which opens in 2010 to house programs and offices dedicated to diversity and multicultural programming.
University of Nebraska Medical Center:
• $200,000 to acquire specialized equipment, currently not available at UNMC, called an automated tissue microarray system needed to study the connection between inflammation and prostate cancer, a malignancy currently under investigation by eight researchers at UNMC who receive annual NIH funding of $6.1 million.
• $55,445 to acquire an ultramicrotome used to create extremely thin slices of tissues, which can then be evaluated using an electron microscope. It will replace a 20-year-old device and will be used by more than 15 UNMC researchers in the Core Electron Microscopy Facility.
University of Nebraska at Omaha:
• $125,000 for the Interdisciplinary Institute for Collaboration Science, a team of faculty and graduate students across the campus who develop coursework and research surrounding the study of business collaboration.
• $118,900 for the Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Laboratories at the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. These programs will combine their expertise in addressing 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.
Grant applications were submitted to Milliken 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’s grants committee, a group or 13 volunteers from across the state and country, to make final recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has been raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 70 years. Last year, more than $87 million was provided for students, faculty, academic programs, research and campus capital improvements.