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Prioritizing Research Dollars in Our State

West Virginians shoot for the moon — whether it be Chuck Yeager, Katherine Johnson or Homer Hickam, we’ve got a long history with NASA. That relationship continues through research partnerships such as the most recent allotment to West Virginia University from NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program. The money will speed up research applicable to NASA’s mission priorities.

“West Virginia continues to be a proud contributor to our country’s space exploration and research fields, and this investment will help WVU remain an asset to NASA well into the future,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “I am so proud of the work done at WVU and the progress they have helped our nation make in space. I look forward to seeing the impact this research will have, and the opportunities it will create for our students.”

It is wonderful news, and it serves as a reminder that those at our state’s institutions of higher learning are just as creative and capable as those attending more well-funded, higher profile schools.

Students attending Mountain State universities should regularly be receiving significant amounts of research funding. We are perfectly positioned to solve some of the greatest problems of our era — here in a state where intelligent and realistic citizens know it is high time we diversify and grow our economy away from the pillars of the past.

While WVU’s researchers are no doubt grateful for the money, this allotment from NASA will be a total of $100,000. Appreciated, of course, but less than a drop in the bucket compared with what is out there.

State and federal elected officials who are working on behalf of West Virginians could do worse than to make an exponential increase in federal research funding a priority. Imagine how high we might fly.

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