Federal Relations

June 3, 2009

Seen in DC

Elaine Faustman, UW professor and Director of the UW Center for Child Environmental Health Risks Research, met with UW Federal Relations Director Christy Gullion and staff from the offices of Representatives McDermott and Reichert on May 8th. She was in DC to discuss the Center and sources of funding.  The Center was formed to learn more about children’s susceptibility to pesticides and the way pesticides affect normal development and learning.  Funding for this Center and the research comes from the EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 

The Center has also recently been awarded two grants through NIH to participate in the National Children’s Study, which is a long-term research project that will examine the environmental influences on children’s health and development. The grant allows for work in Grant and King Counties, with the possibility of expanding to Thurston County and Marion County, OR (work is approved, but funds are not yet available).

Nancy Nihan, Director of UW Transportation Northwest (TransNow), was in DC May 19-20 to discuss a request the UW made in partnership with WSU, to be designated as a National University Transportation Center (UTC).  The UW is currently designated as a Regional UTC, which was awarded through a competitive process.  National UTC designation can only happen through a transportation reauthorization bill and will allow the UW and WSU to play a more national role in transportation research on safety, freight mobility, and traffic management.  Nancy met with staff in the Senate office of Pattty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as well as staff from the offices of Representatives McMorris Rodgers’, Larsen, Baird, and McDermott.

Dan Schwartz, professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the UW’s recently funded BioEnergy Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program, was in DC with two of his graduate students, Laurel James and Kurt Spies.  Dr. Schwartz was impeccably dressed for the meetings with representatives from the Interior Department, staff from the offices of Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Inslee and Dicks.  The IGERT Program’s focus is the development of sustainable energy projects for tribal nations, and also on training a new generation of tribal PhD scientists. Our first IGERT project involves work with the Yakama Nation and the second IGERT project is with the Colville Tribes.  Dr. Schwartz, Laurel, and Kurt briefed staff on UW IGERT work, and discussed opportunities (either through the Recovery Act or annual programs) in the Department of Interior and Department of Energy that might bolster its activities.