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NH Delegation Announces More than $2.1 Million Heading to UNH for Scientific Research to Support Arctic Resilience & Improve Understanding of Space Weather

(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) that the National Science Foundation awarded the University of New Hampshire (UNH) $2,109,164 to support scientific research to better understand the impact of magnetic storms, or space weather, on Earth and bolster the Arctic’s resiliency and sustainability. Shaheen chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies which oversees funding for the National Science Foundation.

“The University of New Hampshire is a hub of scientific progress, with research that pushes knowledge and innovation to new heights to solve many of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m thrilled to announce these grants for UNH that will help improve our understanding of how magnetic storms impact critical assets like our power grid, as well as bolster the Arctic region’s resilience against climate change. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to advocate for federal funding to support scientific research and innovation taking place in the Granite State.” 

“UNH is on the cutting edge of research, and these significant National Science Foundation grants will further ensure that UNH and New Hampshire continue to be home to innovation,” Senator Hassan said. “This funding will help scientists at UNH study Earth’s magnetic field as well as explore ways to help promote sustainability and resilience in the Arctic. I am pleased to announce this important funding to UNH, and I will keep working with the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to support initiatives that help promote discovery.”

“UNH is home to groundbreaking research on the Earth’s magnetic field, and this grant from the National Science Foundation will help propel the work of dedicated Granite State researchers forward,” said Representative Kuster. “I’m thrilled this federal money is making its way to New Hampshire, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact for our state, our economy, and our environment.”

“The University of New Hampshire remains a national leader in critical areas of research, and these federal funds from the National Science Foundation will expand our understanding of space and our own planet and will help strengthen the resiliency of the Arctic,” said Representative Chris Pappas. “I remain committed to ensuring New Hampshire continues to play a leading role in the scientific research that is changing our world and future for the better.”

"This grant will help support our research in making global measurements of Earth's magnetic field and, specifically, ultra-low frequency waves," said Marc Lessard, a professor of physics and UNH's Space Science Center. "These waves are thought to play an important role in Earth's radiation belts and magnetospheric substorms. These goals are important in trying to understand the effects of magnetic storms, or space weather, that can interfere with communication satellites, GPS, and so-called Ground-Induced Currents (GICs) that affect our power grid."

“The project will study transforming ice, snow and permafrost as interconnected landscapes that have been collectively used and governed by communities and other stakeholders,” said Alexander Shiklomanov, research assistant professor in UNH’s Earth Systems Research Center. “It sets the stage for a convergence of knowledge and concepts across diverse cultural and political contexts, starting with thoughts held by Indigenous and local communities and scaled up to those implemented by regional governments and businesses. By providing recommendations to policy makers, increasing education efforts and fostering extensive community-to-community and science-to-community adaptation and innovation the goal is to help promote sustainability and resilience in the Arctic.”

Specifically, $1,620,181 has been awarded to support a UNH Space Center project entitled "Collaborative Research: Studies of ULF Waves and Support for the Magnetic Induction Coil Array (MICA)." MICA is an array of induction coil magnetometers that measure ultra-low frequency waves in Earth’s magnetic field. Data allocated by MICA will help support UNH’s research to improve our understanding of magnetic storms, or space weather, that can affect our power grid and crucial, everyday communications technology like GPS. In addition, $488,983 has been granted in support of a UNH Earth Systems Research Center project entitled “NNA Research: Collaborative Research: Frozen Commons: Change, Resilience and Sustainability in the Arctic." The project will study the use and understanding of the changing Arctic Frozen Commons (FC), defined as the ice, snow, and permafrost landscapes collectively used and governed by communities and numerous non-local stakeholders. By analyzing knowledge and concepts of the FC between culturally diverse Indigenous and local communities and regional stakeholders in both the United States and Russia, the project will help enhance Arctic resilience and sustainability.  

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.