The University of Kentucky announced a $20 million award from the National Science Foundation on Wednesday (8-27-14) at a news conference attended by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, State Rep. Rocky Adkins, UK President Eli Capilouto, and leaders from several other Kentucky universities.

Kentucky was one of six jurisdictions chosen to receive a five-year Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 1 award from the NSF's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). An additional $4 million in matching funds comes from Kentucky EPSCoR, which receives funding from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, bringing total funding for the project to $24 million.

Kentucky's project, titled "Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future," provides a major upgrade to the Commonwealth's research infrastructure, with targeted investments at 10 Kentucky research and higher-education institutions. Its principal investigator is Rodney Andrews, director of the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research.

"These investments will increase the number of students pursuing science and engineering careers, provide new state-of-the-art infrastructure that allows our institutions to continue to innovate and provide solutions for the energy needs of the Commonwealth, and to develop technologies that will result in jobs in the areas of our state most impacted by the changing energy landscape," Andrews said.

- Watch the Press Conference Video.

- Read more about the conference from UKNOW News.

- Read background information about the award from UK CAER.