As West Virginia’s congressional delegation continues to work for more research dollars for Mountain State institutions of higher learning, U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have announced nearly $900,000 from the National Science Foundation for West Virginia University and Fairmont State University.

At WVU, funding will go toward two projects: CAREER: Self-Consistent Density Estimates from Accelerometers for Improved Understanding, Modeling, and Forecasting of Upper Atmosphere Variability; and I-Corps: Software platform to predict patient no-shows using machine learning algorithms. (The first will “enhance the understanding, modeling and forecasting of variations in Earth’s upper atmosphere by developing a prediction capability of orbital decay for active satellites and space debris.” The second will “develop an AI-based healthcare patient scheduling system to support healthcare facilities by increasing efficiency and revenues.”

In Fairmont, researchers are: “Bridging the STEM Gap in Appalachia: Engaging with students to iteratively improve faculty practices in support of student success.”

“From space exploration, to improving medical care, to creating opportunities in STEM fields, higher education institutions in West Virginia continue to be a national leader in research communities,” Capito said. “Grants like these support cutting-edge projects that ultimately aim to create real-world solutions and opportunities for our students. I appreciate the National Science Foundation for their continued support of research in West Virginia, and look forward to the progress that will be made as a result of this funding.”

Researchers in West Virginia are as intelligent, creative, determined and well-educated as anywhere in the country, yet still struggle to achieve the recognition that leads to the kind of funding that falls easily into the laps of some other, bigger-name institutions.

Perhaps continued success with the dollars we do receive will lead to more opportunities to show we’ve earned the chance to do more.