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Pitt Team Lands $3.4 Million in Grants for Education Projects Related to Wounded Veterans, Persons with Disabilities

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 11, 2012 – The National Science Foundation awarded a $472,794 grant to Rory Cooper, Ph.D., and Mary Goldberg of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories and the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences to study pathways for military veterans with disabilities transitioning into education.
The project aims to create a model for such veterans and people with disabilities to succeed in Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) programs.
This marks the second education-related award Dr. Cooper and his team have received in the past two months: this assistive technology and engineering award, and a July grant for a five-year, $2,999,000 study to support interdisciplinary research training in graduate-level engineering and rehabilitation. The previous grant entails traineeships to design innovative rehabilitation devices, systems, and techniques that not only assist people with disabilities participating in society but, at the HERL/SHRS research headquarters at Bakery Square, also utilize veterans and persons with disabilities as researchers and scientists.
“We’re extremely honored to receive these awards and excited to have the opportunity to directly help veterans and people with disabilities in the region and across the nation by creating models for how to succeed in STEM education,” said Dr. Cooper, the FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Chair and Distinguished Professor of the SHRS Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology.
The latest grant, officially awarded last Friday via the NSF Engineering and Education Center, takes effect Nov. 1, 2012. It is tentatively set to expire Oct. 31, 2015. The previous grant, scheduled from July 15, 2012 through mid-2017, was an award of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) through the NSF Division of Graduate Education.
Dr. Cooper, an internationally noted researcher and scientist, is the founding director and Veterans Health Administration Senior Research Career Scientist of the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Pittsburgh. He also is the co-director of the NSF Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center, a joint effort between Carnegie Mellon University and Pitt. He is a professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering, physical medicine and rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery at Pitt.

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