Rather than competing against each other for research funding, seven Inland Northwest universities are instead combining their research efforts. The institutions hope the move will lead to increased financial support for research projects that address issues of importance to the region.

University of Idaho President Bob Hoover announced the formation of the Inland Northwest Research Alliance on behalf of the member universities: Washington State University, Montana State University, Utah State University, Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Montana and UI.

“Our universities have many highly skilled researchers who are recognized as national and international leaders in their specific areas of expertise,” said Hoover. “By combining our resources under this alliance, we can have even greater impact in developing advances in areas that include biotechnology, materials, energy, computer software security, environmental restoration and waste management.”

The alliance will allow researchers at the seven universities to enter into research and education partnerships with federal agencies, research organizations, corporations and federal laboratories, including the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory operated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Hoover has been meeting with the presidents of member universities for the past year, gaining support for the research alliance. The university leaders agreed that rather than compete against each other, the universities could join together to attract more research dollars.

“The benefits are clear,” said Hoover. “We can better address the issues we face in the Inland Northwest and make a difference for our economies, our business communities and the general public.”

The alliance also will strengthen research and educational opportunities for both faculty and students at the member institutions.

Hoover said the success of the Inland Northwest Research Alliance will depend on a wide range of external support, including the support of the congressional delegations from the four states involved in the alliance. University president’s hope to meet with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C. in the next few weeks to explain the objectives of the alliance.

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