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OU Research Projects May Bolster Economy

Article excerpt

Three interdisciplinary research projects with the potential to spur economic development in the United States and in Oklahoma are being undertaken by University of Oklahoma researchers, it was announced Tuesday.

OU scientists and engineers will be conducting basic and applied research projects as part of a new $8.4 million collaborative, cost-shared venture between the university, state and federal government.

"OU's work focuses on three key areas: hydrology, microelectronics and rock-fluid interaction in the earth's crust," said Daniel J. O'Neil, vice president for research at OU.

Through the first project, advanced computer models _ combined with advanced Doppler weather radar measurements _ will give better flood prediction and management of water resources.

In the second OU effort, state-of-the-art advanced microelectronics and materials will be fabricated and characterized as part of the national program to regain U.S. industry's historical role as world leader in advanced electronics and their applications.

Through the third project, basic studies of components of the earth's crust will lead to improved exploration techniques for strategic minerals, oils and gas by U.S. and Oklahoma industry.

The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $3.9 million under its Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which is matched over a three-year period by $4.5 million administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and monitored by the stat's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Committee.

O'Neil, who also is a member of the state Committee, cited state legislators Carolyn Thompson, Cal Hobson, Bernice Shedrick, Bob Cullison, Penny Williams and Glen Johnson as being instrumental in the development of the state's proposal, which attracted the funds.

He also noted that Oklahoma's bid was assisted by the personal involvement of Gov. David Walters' office; Hans Brisch, chancellor of the State Regents for Higher Education; and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

The total state and National Science Foundation funding is being allocated to support five research clusters involving 46 scientists at OU, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa. OU scientists are involved in three of these clusters.

Lee Williams, associate dean of the College of Geosciences at OU, is leading a surface hydrology cluster that involves OU and OSU specialists in geosciences, zoology, meteorology, agricultural engineering, geography, agronomy, and civil engineering and environmental science. …