PULLMAN, Wash. — Two subsurface science proposals from Washington State University researchers have been selected for funding as part of a joint collaborative research program between the Inland Northwest Research Alliance and the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

The two are among six new grants added this year. Last year 13 grants were awarded. The grants are designed to organize collaborative research projects at INRA universities and the INEEL into a cohesive program that achieves national and international recognition in subsurface science, according to Gautam Pillay, INRA’s executive director.

“These proposals have the potential to develop into new, significant, collaborative research opportunities at INRA institutions and INEEL,” Pillay said. Work on the projects begins Oct. 1.

Funding for the 19 projects totals more than $4.3 million over three years and includes doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. That total includes more than $1 million that INRA member institutions will contribute toward the projects. The researchers will spend time on their projects at the INEEL and INRA campuses.

The newly awarded projects that include WSU researchers are:

· Microbial reduction of metal ions in solution, underway by Brent Peyton, WSU’s chemical engineering department, and researchers from Montana State University and INEEL.

· Study of uncertainty in predicting water flow and contaminant transport in unsaturated soils, by Joan Wu, a WSU biological systems engineering researcher; Hao Zhang, WSU’s Program in Statistics; and INEEL scientists.

The projects’ selection coincides with a recent visit of the INRA Board of Trustees to Idaho Falls, Idaho, where presidents of the seven INRA universities toured the laboratory and met with INEEL and DOE-ID senior managers.

INRA leaders also spent two days recently in Washington, D.C., where they met with regional congressional delegations to share information concerning how the INEEL and the INRA universities are working together in areas relating to subsurface science.

Seven universities formed the INRA in the spring of 1999. The member universities include WSU, Boise State, Idaho State, University of Idaho, Montana State, University of Montana and Utah State.

The INEEL is operated for the DOE by Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC jointly with INRA. The INEEL is a science-based, applied-engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the DOE’s missions in environment, energy, science and national security. In its managing role, INRA helps set direction for scientific research performed at INEEL.