OneNet, Oklahoma’s official telecommunications network for higher education, government and research in Oklahoma, is an operational division of the State Regents and is operated in cooperation with the Oklahoma Office of State Finance. OneNet’s infrastructure for advanced research and education has delivered more than 565,000 distance learning credit hours in 2008 – ultimately increasing Oklahoma’s intellectual capital even throughout the most remote, rural areas of the state. Oklahoma’s higher education institutions have leveraged the network’s capabilities to obtain multi-million dollar research projects, support technology transfer, attract private industry and receive national recognition and awards.
Oklahoma is a part of the National LambdaRail (NLR) project through a consortium led by the State Regents and OneNet. The NLR is a major national initiative that provides a national technical support structure for research and experimentation. The 12,000-mile-long, ultra-fast fiber network is 100 times faster than conventional Internet and includes a leg that runs through Oklahoma and links the northern and southern tiers of the network. The extension of the NLR through Oklahoma in 2005 has made an impact on Oklahoma’s economy, leveraging network resources to enhance the quality of education and research.
The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), originally developed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is designed to expand research opportunities in states that have traditionally received less funding from federal support for university research. Oklahoma EPSCoR is a partnership among colleges and universities, industry and research institutions. Its mission is to make Oklahoma researchers more successful in competing for research funding. Specific goals, objectives and strategies are developed for each federal EPSCoR program, based on federal and state needs. In FY09, to aid with the state’s research in bioenergy, EPSCoR was awarded $15 million over five years from the NSF. The State Regents will provide an annual $1.1 million match. The award will contribute to Oklahoma’s leadership in the national effort to gain energy independence by utilizing biofuels. The NSF award is a multi-institutional collaborative project that includes researchers from Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.
Also in FY09, the National Institutes of Health IDeA program awarded Oklahoma $18 million over five years to establish an IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (OK-INBRE). The State Regents will provide an annual $500,000 in matching funds. OK-INBRE supports major research projects in the areas of microbiology and immunology, cancer, and developmental biology. OK-INBRE encompasses 15 higher education institutions and supports undergraduates involved in STEM research programs.
Since 2004, the grants division of the State Regents has provided training, information on grant writing and weekly grant search announcements to faculty and administrators of all Oklahoma higher education institutions. Since 2005, the annual Summer Grant Writing Institute has involved up to 40 faculty members per year requesting more than $10 to $30 million in grants to Oklahoma higher education. In FY 2012, more than $600 million was obtained by Oklahoma higher education in grants and cooperative agreements from funds outside the state allocation to enhance educational environments and give our students the best possible opportunities to succeed.