Federal Funding Expands Reach of KINBER to Three Local Colleges
Harrisburg, PA (March. 7) — Building upon the groundwork established by its community educational efforts and initial National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER) is working with three Pennsylvania NSF 2015 Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Data, Networking, and Innovation (CC*DNI) awardees to strengthen campus cyberinfrastructure in the commonwealth. Bucks County Community College, Franklin & Marshall College, and Harrisburg Area Community College received grants totaling more than $900,000 to seed campus innovation. The two community colleges are currently the first and only community colleges nationwide to receive campus cyberinfrastructure awards.
“Campus cyberinfrastructure supports science research and education, and enhancing its performance on these campuses provides expanded opportunities for the students, faculty and community members,” said Wendy Huntoon, KINBER CEO and president.
“I am thrilled that our efforts helped PA schools receive three out of the seven awards distributed nationally in the area of campus design, and KINBER will continue to encourage innovation by connecting Pennsylvania organizations to national and state resources, providing expertise, and offering opportunities for collaboration,” she added. A total of 36 CC*DNI awards in seven different areas were distributed to date in response to the 2015 solicitation.
In February 2014, KINBER began providing training and support for PA organizations to submit grants to federal funders, such as the NSF with outreach including direct support continuing under KINBER’s NSF grant, awarded in March 2015. To date, KINBER’s activities have included webinars, in person trainings, sharing announcements and direct support. KINBER’s efforts increased the awareness and accessibility of these types of funding opportunities as well as provided guidance and best practices on how to submit an effective proposal.
The three awardees identified a diverse set of projects that would benefit from the new infrastructure.
Energizing the Future of STEM@Bucks
Bucks County Community College (Bucks) was awarded nearly $350,000 to create a high-throughput science research network to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) faculty and students. Proposed as part of the initiative are upgrades to Bucks campus cyberinfrastructure to support research with a Science DMZ to prioritize data transfers among systems located at Bucks benefitting projects investigating improved forms of image recognition, applied engineering, and other computational sciences; offers an outdoor high performance Wi-Fi network as a Science DMZ extension; and access to Internet2 to support faculty and student research through the statewide education network.
Bucks’ lead institution partner, the University of Pennsylvania, is aiding with design and technical services and will provide Bucks students and faculty access to scientific domains at a level not previously available, extending intellectual opportunities. Additionally, with advanced manufacturing, nursing and other science-related activity in the county and surrounding area, the Science DMZ indirectly benefits the people, educational institutions and businesses of the region.
In response to the grant award, Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, president, Bucks County Community College, said, “We at Bucks are very excited about the capabilities that this grant is providing for the sciences. By upgrading our cyberinfrastructure, faculty and students will have access to resources previously unimaginable. The resulting educational benefits will serve our students and this region well. KINBER and the University of Pennsylvania have been great partners with us in this endeavor.”
CC*DNI Campus Design: Building a State-Of-The-Art Research Network at Franklin and Marshall College
“KINBER has been a really strategic partner in this effort,” said Carrie Rampp, associate vice president & CIO, Franklin & Marshall College.
“Not only did we learn of this possible opportunity through KINBER, but I doubt we would have applied if it wasn’t for the support and advice we received,” she said.
The $350,000 award funds both planning and implementation of a number of network infrastructure initiatives that will directly benefit scientific research. In a context where undergraduates work in close partnership with faculty researchers, students also directly benefit from access to a network optimized for data exchange with researchers at universities worldwide.
Franklin and Marshall will realize these improvements through the creation of a Science DMZ, DTN and deployment of end-to-end performance monitoring. This work will optimize the college’s local area network in support of high-performance scientific applications, maximizing the rate at which data can move on campus and between institutions to levels researchers would only typically expect at an R1 institution and strengthen current and future research support for faculty via collaboration with KINBER, a Pennsylvania-wide education and research computing network.
During Fall 2015 Franklin and Marshall began work in partnership with KINBER in planning the Science DMZ, data transfer node and perfSONAR deployment. Completed to date was the college’s move to a 10 Gbps connection to KINBER, which has provided first-time access to the Internet2 backbone. The college became a full member of Internet2; a first step in the components of the project that focuses on new experimentation with off-site high performance computing solutions that were not previously possible.
“We are really pleased that KINBER is serving as our strategic partner during the planning and implementation phase and that they were willing to serve in this role, which is specifically required and defined by the NSF, Rampp said. “KINBER’s expertise has been invaluable and the staff also helped to connect us to other institutions that might serve as examples in our planning.”
CC*DNI Campus Design: Midtown WAN Redesign for GIS and CIS Science Research at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
Robert Messner, vice president of Information Technology & CIO, HACC, said, “The CC*DNI award will allow our college to increase our wide-area network connectivity by a factor of 10 between the Midtown and Harrisburg Campus locations, ensuring that our STEM students are provided the most reliable and robust connectivity necessary for their continued success.”
HACC will use the $209,000 award to re-architect its network infrastructure to expand science and technology classroom connectivity from 100 Mbps to 1Gbps. As a result of this project, HACC students and faculty will have access to online educational materials in one place, accessible from anywhere and the ability to learn remotely and use time on campus efficiently. This project supports the implementation of HACC’s science and technology symposia, current and potential grant-funded projects, service and research projects and mobile learning course-content production.
HACC will be better able to prepare an educated workforce for Pennsylvania’s key industries, including energy, technology, manufacturing and agribusiness. This model can be a foundation for HACC’s other campuses and other regional institutions to implement similar projects and programs to support STEM education.
“The partnership with KINBER on this grant was critical as it provided our college the necessary information, services and framework to successfully respond to the rigid grant criteria and obtain the award,” said Messner.
“I look forward to working with KINBER during the implementation of this grant’s objectives and to expanding our partnership by identifying additional services offered which will provide value to our college,” he added.
In support of its mission, KINBER will continue to provide training and guidance for colleges which plan to seek grants to enhance research and education.
“I encourage others in the state to submit proposals for either the next campus cyberinfrastructure round and/or other infrastructure funding opportunities,” Huntoon said.
Visit the NSF CC*DNI page to read the complete abstracts for each award.
To learn more about how KINBER can support your organization’s cyberinfrastructure initiatives as well as upcoming events, including KINBERCON 2016, KINBER’s annual conference taking place in Philadelphia on April 11 – 13, 2016, visit www.KINBER.org.