SPOKANE — More than 50 prominent business leaders gathered Nov. 17 at the Davenport Hotel for a fundraising breakfast in support of WSU’s Applied Sciences Laboratory, a Spokane-based contract research organization that will undertake a broad range of applied research projects for government agencies and private corporations.

Part of the Institute for Shock Physics, the Applied Sciences Laboratory was established in 2003 with grant funding from the Office of Naval Research. To expand the scope of the initiative and attract world-class scientists to contribute to this endeavor, WSU is involved in a campaign to raise a $15 million endowment.

At the breakfast, publisher Stacey Cowles—the chair of the endowment steering committee—announced the Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation’s pledge of $1 million, consisting of a $250,000 gift and a $750,000 challenge grant.

Former Congressman George Nethercutt, who is responsible for securing the initial federal funding for the ASL, was the keynote speaker at the event.
He expressed his personal commitment to supporting the fundraising efforts, saying that the organization offers exciting potential for Spokane and emphasizing the need to make it self-sustaining.

Yogi Gupta, director of the Institute for Shock Physics and the brainfather of the ASL, emphasized the merits of this venture as an economic driver for the region. “If you don’t innovate, you’re not agile and you won’t survive,” he said. Echoing Gupta’s remark, Cowles mentioned the example of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which has brought hundreds of jobs to the Pullman community. “There’s no reason that can’t happen in Spokane,” he said.

Gupta explained that the ASL functions as an intellectual shopping center:
a customer-driven organization that provides state-of-the-art research and development to address customer needs. It currently has three defined research thrusts—nanomaterials applications, dynamic response of materials and reactive materials applications—with a fourth that has yet to be determined in partnership with Spokane-area businesses. The laboratory is supported by experimental facilities that are co-located in Spokane and Pullman.

WSU Spokane is the urban campus of WSU, a land-grant research university founded in 1890. The campus features advanced studies and research in health sciences and health professions, the design disciplines, education, social and policy sciences, and science and technology. WSU is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a research extensive and doctoral-granting university, and is ranked among the top public research universities in the nation.

Website:
* Applied Sciences Laboratory: http://www.asl.wsu.edu/
* News release on the establishment of the Applied Sciences Laboratory: http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=4338
* WSU Spokane: www.spokane.wsu.edu