The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced recently the award of $150,000 planning grant to the University of New Mexico's Information Technologies Department that builds on the history of a collaboration with New Mexico State University (NMSU) to advance the educational and research capacities of smaller colleges and universities throughout New Mexico, and in bordering areas of Arizona and Texas.

The proposal, titled CC*DNI Region: New Mexico Research and Economic Development Collaboration, facilitates the adoption of advanced technologies and delivery of onsite technical cyberinfrastructure (CI) expertise and assistance.

Using a series of regional workshops and other outreach methods to connect researchers to technology support on their own campuses, the project also will help connect campuses with peer institutions, promote research networking, and eventually increase high-speed broadband service throughout the region. Schools targeted for broadband workshops include Highlands, Northern NM, Western NM, and Eastern NM Universities.

“This award recognizes the role of UNM as the flagship higher education institution to use technology to advance research, education and economic development statewide. Our partnerships with co-principal investigator NMSU and New Mexico Tech are key in this state-wide endeavor,” said Chief Information Officer and principal invesitgator Gil Gonzales.

This proposal builds on a previous NSF award to UNM’s IT, a 2014 NSF CC*IIE award for $500,000 that laid the foundation for creating a dedicated regional Research Network at UNM and similar proposals submitted at state comprehensive institutions.

The anticipated benefits of the present award and collaboration include:

  • Improving campus cyberinfrastructure and technical support throughout New Mexico;
  • Expanding access to Albuquerque GigaPoP (the UNM operated, high-bandwidth network aggregation point that provides an on-ramp to high speed national networks);
  • Building opportunities to capitalize on statewide scientific resources (including the Data Observation Network for Earth and UNM’s Center for Advanced Research Computing) to promote regional economic development and entrepreneurialism;
  • Promoting the development of a regional Campus CI Community that focuses increased attention on key research areas, networking and technology, and
  • Advancing partnerships between higher education campuses, state and city governments, and tribal entities to bring broadband into underserved areas.

UNM's IT provides information technology systems and services to the UNM community to support its core educational and research missions, as well as administrative services.