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Roger Williams University receives nearly $1.7M in federal funds for environmental research labs

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Roger Williams University receives nearly $1.7M in federal funds for environmental research labs

Feb 16, 2024 | 4:36 pm ET
By Emily Rosen
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Roger Williams University receives nearly $1.7M in federal funds for environmental research lab
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Roger Williams University President Ioannis Miaoulis, on left behind the big check, joins Sen. Jack Reed, (D-R.I.) for a press conference to announce the nearly $1.7 million federal grant to the university for its new environmental laboratory on Friday, Feb. 6, 2024. (Emily Rosen/Roger Williams University ‘24)

BRISTOL, R.I. — Roger Williams University (RWU) will enhance two new environmental science labs with cutting edge equipment for researching various forms of pollution in Rhode Island waters thanks to a nearly $1.7 million federal grant.

The funding was announced by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who delivered a celebratory check to RWU President Ioannis Miaoulis and students Friday at the Richard L. Bready Experiential Learning Laboratories building. Reed secured the federal earmark through the U.S. Department of Education in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations law.

The funding will be used for an environmental engineering lab and an environmental science lab that will work collaboratively together in the university’s School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management building, said RWU spokesperson Jill Pais.

 “This new lab will give students hands-on experience, working with advanced equipment to examine key issues impacting our watersheds, from microplastics that harm marine life to toxic chemicals like PFAS that invade our water systems,” Reed said. He was referring to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of chemicals used in many commercial products and now found in most bodies of water and in body tissue of many animals. 

“I look forward to seeing the great work the students and faculty will produce from this new lab and the benefits their work will bring to Rhode Island’s economy, environment, and quality of life,” Reed added.

Reed met with students and faculty within the university’s School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management and was shown some of the technology RWU now uses inside the classroom. 

Miaoulis thanked Reed for his efforts to secure funding that will allow RWU faculty and students to continue conducting critical research on how human-derived pollutants impact our environment. The research will help inform and develop policies that protect the environment and strengthen quality of life in Rhode Island.  

“We’re in the process of renovating a lot of the laboratories,” Miaoulis said in an interview after the press conference. 

The new environmental science and engineering laboratory “will have some of the bigger equipment and …will be used for teaching and research,” he added.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the distinction between the two laboratories in one building.