The Western South Dakota Research and Education Network award from the National Science Foundation Campus Cyberinfrastructure Program is a federally funded, $700,000 grant that supports a two-year project to build more advanced campus networks for Black Hills State University (BHSU) and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T).

The SDSM&T and BHSU partnered with USD to build out their research networks so they can take advantage of national networks. The grant requires smaller schools to partner with a larger school that has conducted similar network advancement work before. USD received a similar grant in 2014, and they will act as a leader and advisor for BHSU and the SDSM&T.

“The idea is to build out the campus network to be able to have unimpeded access to research assets, whether it be from another university, a national laboratory or where there are experiments going on like at the Sanford Underground Research Facility,” said Douglas Jennewein, the principal investigator for the grants and director of research computing at USD.

With an upgraded network, the campuses will have a faster connection and more access to different national research networks.

“The connectivity is important to research to be able to move data and work with remote data sources,” Jennewein said.

USD also received the Building the Next Generation of the South Dakota Research Education and Economic Development (REED) Network grant to improve campus connectivity in eastern South Dakota, which is funded through the South Dakota Board of Regents Research and Development Innovation Program.

The $500,000 state grant funds a multi-institutional partnership between USD, University Center-Sioux Falls, Dakota State University and South Dakota State University to support the state’s larger effort to upgrade the REED Network, which was built in 2008 and connects the six public higher education institutions in South Dakota.

With the assistance from the grant, the four campuses will prepare their networks for the upgrade, and will build out better and faster campus connections to the REED Network within three years.

“Each campus has data-driven research projects that will take advantage of an improved REED network,” Jennewein said.

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