$30 Million in Grants Support Important Research for Faculty and Students

Humboldt State faculty, staff, and student researchers were awarded $30 million in new grant funding secured by HSU’s Sponsored Programs Foundation (SPF) last year. SPF currently manages 630 active projects with a total award value of $113 million.

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Fisheries Biology Professor Rafael Cuevas-Uribe works with students to set up a seaweed farm in Humboldt Bay. Cuevas-Uribe, Wildlife Professor Matt Johnson, and in coordination with Fernando Paz of El Centro Académico Cultural, were awarded a grant to launch ¡Échale Ganas!

A few standout awards were focused on supporting underrepresented students.

¡Échale Ganas!, for example, is a new program that supports hands-on learning and career advancement for Latinx students in STEM. A Mexican expression that literally means to “throw some life into it,” ¡Échale Ganas! is often used to say, “Go for it!” The program will supplement existing STEM programs for Latinx students at HSU, a Hispanic-Serving Institution since 2013. The $249,505 grant was awarded to Wildlife Professor Matt Johnson and Fisheries Biology Professor Rafael Cuevas-Uribe, in collaboration with Fernando Paz, coordinator of El Centro Académico Cultural.

Biology Professor Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler was awarded $949,557 from the National Science Foundation to investigate the effects of colonizing microbes on carnivorous plants. With a focus on practical experience and supporting underrepresented students in STEM, hundreds of students, including 60 paid undergrad and graduate students, will explore key concepts of ecology through various practices such as growing microbes, isolating and measuring what they do, and learning how to sequence DNA.

A $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will fund its TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program at HSU for the next five years. Established at HSU in 1972, SSS is designed to improve the retention and graduation rates of low-income and first-generation college students by providing academic, financial aid, advising, mentoring, and career support services.

SPF is also distributing nearly $1 million in funding, which can be used by faculty and staff researchers to expand opportunities for students to participate in undergraduate research, help identify and pursue potential sources of research grants, engage in scholarly and creative activity, or develop their research facilities.

SPF’s funds help to support the research goals outlined in HSU’s strategic plan, which include developing a campus-wide focus on externally-funded research and to foster supportive collaborations for grant writing and research.

Fast Facts for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year:
—183 new awards received, totaling $30 million
—630 active projects with a total award value of $113 million
—301 new grant proposals submitted, requesting $84 million, another record-breaking year
—$974,122 distributed to faculty, staff, and departments, based on grant activity
—$2 million in grant scholarships and stipends awarded to HSU students
—$5.2 million in academic grants to support the educational mission of the campus

About the Sponsored Programs Foundation
SPF is a nonprofit auxiliary of the University, and it exists to administer externally funded grants and submit proposals to funding agencies on behalf of Humboldt State University.

SPF is considered a large employer in Humboldt County, offering job opportunities to over 736 employees annually. This total number includes approximately 452 staff and faculty, and 284 students. Students benefit from both the learning experience of working on research projects as well as receiving a steady income. Faculty and staff benefit by being able to do research in their specialty field while receiving additional pay.

This story was originally published Thursday, Oct. 8