University of Wyoming Is Magnet for Research

At the University of Wyoming, the emphasis is on research and development, with some groundbreaking results.

Marc Acton
On Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 18:56

At the University of Wyoming, the emphasis is on research and development, with some groundbreaking results.

Financial Support for Research Efforts

In 2007, a record-setting $78 million in outside money found its way to the university, a figure made all the more noteworthy by what types of research it doesn’t include: funding from the National Institutes of Health.

“We don’t have a medical school,” says Dr. William Gern, vice president of research and economic development. “This is research that’s being done in the fundamental sciences, in education, engi­neering, technology and mathematics.

“Last year was the 22nd year in a row we set a funding record, and that’s not by accident,” Gern says. “We are focused as an institution on research, and we hire very high-quality faculty, people able to compete at the national level for these funds. That competition is stiff, and our faculty express their competitiveness by winning awards.”

Community Colleges and Wyoming Business Council Relationships

The university maintains a close working relationship with the state’s community college network, with some shared programs and funding for specific areas of study.

The university works with those schools to increase the state’s pipeline of students interested in biomedical research, science, engineering, technol­ogy and math, Gern says.

The university also has established cooperative extension offices in each of the state’s 23 counties, focusing on agricultural education as well as research that eventually can be transferred to the market. That bent toward commercial applications for research also has led the university to establish ties with organizations such as the Wyoming Business Council. Such ties prove beneficial both to the university and Wyoming's economic development.

Educational Outreach Programs in Wyoming

The university runs a series of out­reach programs in tandem with a single entity in state government to bring services to business.

University undertakings include a small business development center, a manufacturing extension apprentice­ship, and Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technol­ogy Transfer Initiative programs, the latter an investment of more than $2.1 million annually.

“For that, we partnered with the Wyoming Business Council to develop a program to help Wyoming entrepreneurs and innovators access funds within that program to bring their products to market,” Gern says.

The two entities created the Wyoming Research Products Center, which serves as the university’s tech-transfer hub.

The university-backed Wyoming Market Research Center works with Wyoming's economic development and business council to provide data and other research often shared with companies making relocation or expan­sion decisions.

“Everyone at these centers is cross-trained, and so we work as a unique, single economic-development entity,” he says. “At the end of the day, we all have the same goal in mind – helping businesses succeed.”



Marc Acton is a magazine writer out of Nashville, Tenn., who’s written for Journal Communications since 2013, flown helicopters for the Army since 2005, and played central midfield for his soccer t