Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Puerto Rico awarded $17 million in federal community-development, scientific-research funding

By on August 10, 2018

SAN JUAN – Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González announced $17.1 million in funds–from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation–for scientific research, aid for students displaced by last year’s hurricanes and community development funds.

Municipalities will receive $12 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships, and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program funds.

Arecibo will receive $1 million in CDBG and $551,786 in HOME funds; Bayamón will receive $2.3 million from CDBG, $192,547 from ESG and $1.1 million from HOME; Carolina will receive $1.9 million from CDBG, $160,080 from ESG and $794,064 for HOME.

Meanwhile, Cayey will receive $659,697 and Cidra will receive $576,143 in CDBG funds. Guaynabo was granted $919,723 in CDBG and $352,038 in HOME funds; Humacao gets $824,286 from CDBG; and Toa Baja $1.2 million in CDBG and $444,957 in HOME funds.

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González (Screen capture of www.gonzalez-colon.house.gov)

A release issued by the resident commissioner’s office explains that the CDBG program provides annual grants for the “development of viable urban communities, providing decent housing and an adequate living environment, while expanding economic opportunities, primarily, for people of low and moderate income.”

The ESG program helps with the repair and rehabilitation of homes that are going to be used as shelters or transitional houses.

The HOME program helps “expand the supply of decent and affordable housing to low and very low-income families by providing subsidies to states and local governments to finance housing programs that meet local needs and priorities.”

“Under the Defraying Costs of Enrolling Displaced Students program of the federal Department of Education, Universidad del Este (UNE) will receive $112,021.00 under the budget period of (07/23/2018 until 07/22/2023).

“These funds are awarded to eligible Higher Education Institutions to help defray unexpected expenses associated with the enrollment of students displaced from higher education institutions whose operations have been affected by a disaster or emergency, including hurricanes or tropical storms such as Harvey, Irma, and María and the wildfires in 2017 for which the President of the United States issued disaster statements,” the release reads.

The NSF approved six proposals for research and materials totaling $4.1 million.

“The Inter-American University of Puerto Rico will receive $ 90,502.00 from the Chemical Instrumentation and Research programs (MRI and CRIF). These funds are for the acquisition of a Zeta Potential and a Particle Size Analyzer for interdisciplinary research in the Ponce and San Germán campuses.

“The University of Puerto Rico will receive $1,033,750.00 for a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin for research and education in materials, with emphasis on those of scientific research and engineering. This project seeks to expand the participation of Latin Americans in science, in the fields of technology, engineering and mathematics. This collaboration includes the precincts of Mayagüez, Medical Sciences and Río Piedras.

“Another $1,288,750.00 will be given to the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus for other collaborative work with the Metropolitan University, the Universidad del Turabo, part of the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) program, and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source ( CHESS). This educational effort of collaborative research of materials seeks to gather and develop a diverse and talented interdisciplinary scientific community with experience operating synchrotron X-ray techniques, to improve energy storage and conversion devices.

“The Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico will receive $150,237.00 for the work with RAPID: Fabrication of Bioinspired Plasmonic Nanoarrays for Biosensing and Trace Chemical Detection. This project seeks to improve the current understanding of how nanomaterials interact with bioactive agents in the liquid / solid interface.

“For the project ‘Developing capacity: a collaborative STEM program in resilient and sustainable infrastructure,’ two assignments of $1,111,530.00 and another of $373,685.00 were granted. The Mayagüez, Río Piedras and Ponce campuses of the University of Puerto Rico collaborate in this project to develop an interdisciplinary program of resistant infrastructure and sustainability to educate undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students in engineering and necessary related skills to respond to natural disasters,” the release added.

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