State grants support university researchers Six faculty members at South Dakota public universities this week earned state grants to support their individual research projects. The grants, totaling nearly $500,000, are part of South Dakotaâ�?�?s continuing efforts to become a recognized leader in research and technology development. â�?�?We have elevated our research profile by recruiting researchers to staff the 2010 research centers and to work in new Ph.D. programs, but we also must support research opportunities for existing faculty members too,â�? Gov. Mike Rounds said. â�?�?These competitive grants will add considerable value to work under way on our campuses.â�? This is the fourth year the state has financially supported grant awards to build a higher level of competitive research at the six public universities. â�?�?Faculty with new or ongoing research interests were encouraged to apply,â�? said Scott Meyer, system vice president of research for the South Dakota Board of Regents. â�?�?We redesigned the grant program this year to increase the size of the grant award. While that meant we funded fewer projects, the size of this award can make a real impact on the work being done.â�? Gov. Roundsâ�?�? 2010 Initi-ative in economic development calls for the state to â�?�?become a recognized leader in research and technology development by 2010.â�? Since the launch of the 2010 Initiative, the state has been highly focused on the role university research can play in South Dakotaâ�?�?s economic development. The competitive grants announced today complement other strategies to increase university-based research, including the 2010 research centers and new doctoral programs in the sciences, engineering, and technology. Faculty members from The University of South Dakota who received a Competitive Research Grant and their research topics are: Dr. Dongming Mei â�?�? â�?�?Liquid Argon-based Direct Dark Matter Searches at Homestakeâ�?; Dr. Haoran Sun â�?�? â�?�?Fluorinated Materials for Dye-sensitized Solar Cellsâ�?.