Wayne State University researchers announced July 23 that they received a $25,000 planning grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a strategic plan for a field-based water research center.
Known as HEART — the Huron to Erie Alliance for Research and Training — the center will focus on the development of field facilities at Lake St. Clair Metropark and Belle Isle along the Huron-to-Erie corridor, a binational body of water shared by the United States and Canada connecting the upper and lower Great Lakes. The project is a collaborative effort between Wayne State, Macomb Community College, the Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority and Macomb County.
The goal of HEART is to design activities and facilities to attract scientists, educators and students from national and international institutions to conduct innovative research focusing on urban systems and the environment. HEART’s training and research activites will impact more than 4 million people along the waterway, who will receive recreational, economical and ecological benefits from the project. In addition, HEART will inform watershed managers and policymakers from a variety of urban freshwater environments.
The project, led by Carol Miller, Ph.D., P.E., professor of civil and environmental engineering in WSU’s College of Engineering, and the Wayne State University Urban Watershed Environmental Research Group (UWERG) — including Donna Kashian, assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; David Pitts, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical science in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences; and Jeffrey Ram, Ph.D., professor of physiology in the School of Medicine — aims to develop the center’s research themes, identify research partners and expand recruitment networks for attracting students and post-docs to the facility, obtain expert input on field station organization and administration, and develop a strategic plan for fund raising.
“With the help of this grant from the National Science Foundation, we will be able to plan out the next steps for improving the field facilities of HEART,” said Miller. “The two sites will provide much-needed space to deploy a wide array of educational offerings that make use of water-related field efforts, and will also allow us to expand these opportunities for students from Macomb Community College, Wayne State University and many others throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond.”
As the HEART facilities expand, a variety of activities including workshops, seminars, water research and educational opportunities tailored to the needs of various stakeholders will take place.
“We are pleased to be the recipient of this planning grant from NSF,” said Hilary Ratner, vice president for research at Wayne State. “The primary field stations located at Lake St. Clair Metropark will support current and future collaborative research programs, as well as provide educational opportunities to students at Wayne State, Macomb Community College and many others.”
For more information about HEART, visit heartfreshwatercenter.org.
The award number for this grant is 1319002.