In an effort to further invest in campus excellence, the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Board of Trustees committed $100,000 in 2022-23 to start Pack Partnership Grants in support of research, projects and services of the University community. The funds were intended to invest in program development — enhancing our campus’s high-quality educational experiences for students and fostering student success.
Applications for the Pack Partnership Grant opened in June 2022 with all current University faculty, staff and students eligible to submit a proposal aligned with the University’s 2023-27 strategic plan, Wolf Pack Rising.
In August of last year, the University Foundation’s Scholarship & Grants Committee reviewed more than 100 grant applications submitted in three tiers: up to $50,000; up to $20,000; and up to $10,000. After deliberation, four applicants were selected as the inaugural recipients of the Pack Partnership Grant.
Identifying new Parkinson's disease drugs to alleviate cognitive decline
Ruben Dagda, associate professor in pharmacology, and Smijin K. Soman, research assistant professor in pharmacology, received funding for their study identifying new FDA-approved drugs for alleviating cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease. Beyond motor symptoms such as discoordination of limbs and postural gait, cognitive decline is being steadily associated with progression of Parkinson’s disease and remains unaddressed by current treatment strategies. In addition to identifying new nootropic agents that increase energy levels in the brain to overcome cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease, the Pack Partnership Grant provides the opportunity for three undergraduate students to join the efforts and gain hands-on research experience. With equipment from the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D. Nevada Proteomics Center and the help of undergraduate students, Dagda and Soman hope to position the University as a leader in neurodegeneration and neuropharmacology research.
Mobile app for smart watering of Nevada alfalfa
Alejandro Andrade-Rodriguez, assistant professor in agriculture, veterinary & rangeland sciences, is using Pack Partnership Grant funding to help develop a mobile app for smart irrigation scheduling of alfalfa grown in Nevada. Irrigated agriculture uses 70% of the water in Nevada and alfalfa is cultivated in 40% of its irrigated land. Achieving a sustainable use of irrigation water requires an accurate estimation of how much water is needed by crops. The implementation of well-established irrigation scheduling methods in mobile apps has helped farmers in other states to determine when and how much to irrigate, but farmers in Nevada lack access to similar apps developed to fit their needs. The development of mobile decision support tools will improve the future of irrigation management of Nevada’s crops.
Innovative student employment with Desert Farming Initiative
Jill Moe, director at the Desert Farming Initiative, a working farm on the edge of campus, received a Pack Partnership Grant to support three, full-year student internships on pressing challenges facing the University campus and broader region. The internships will focus on food sovereignty for Indigenous students and communities, food insecurity and farming in a changing climate. The interns will also schedule and organize community connection events at the DFI farm this spring to share their findings, as well as through the DFI Blog, social media platforms and at the DFI Campus Farm Stands. DFI provided more than three tons of fresh produce to northern Nevada food pantries — including our own Pack Provisions — last year. DFI is a self-sustaining applied agriculture program demonstrating year-round organic fruit and vegetable production for arid climates.
Earthquake resilience and monitoring of 10-story building shake test
Mohamed Moustafa, researcher and associate professor of structural engineering, applied for the Pack Partnership Grant to help support travel for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a full-scale earthquake testing of a 10-story wood building at the University of California, San Diego’s Shake Table in April. The University’s Earthquake Engineering Lab team led by Professor Keri Ryan is part of a national project funded by the National Science Foundation and other agencies to help improve timber- and wood-building construction in the U.S. The group has leveraged more than 10 recent unique structural tests to establish robust frameworks for non-contact video structural health monitoring and seismic response assessment of infrastructure systems. Thanks to this additional grant funding, the team will travel to San Diego and use the College of Engineering’s inhouse systems to exclusively measure the full dynamic and seismic response of the building.
2023-24 Grant application
Due to the immense success of the first round of grants and in recognition of the need on campus for additional support, the University Foundation Board of Trustees voted to increase the 2023-24 grant budget to $250,000.
The 2023-24 Pack Partnership Grant application opens April 7 and closes Friday, April 21. To review the application prior to submittal, please check out this sample Pack Partnership Grant application. Check your email for your personalized link to complete the application online. For more information on the Pack Partnership Grants, please email Foundation Grants.