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FORUM Vol. 42, No. 2; September 11, 2017

New endowed fund will help with high-return water research

Researchers at Grand Valley's Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute will be able to investigate topics that government funding programs are typically not willing to take on, thanks to a new endowed fund created by Allen and Helen Hunting.

The Huntings initiated the Allen I. and Helen J. Hunting Research and Innovation Fund through a generous gift to Grand Valley. This endowment will support research that focuses on important issues impacting Lake Michigan and the Grand River, including water quality, agriculture, climate change and other freshwater questions.

portrait of couple

A gift from Allen I. and Helen J. Hunting will support AWRI research that focuses on water quality issues.

Alan Steinman, the Allen I. and Helen J. Hunting director of the Annis Water Resources Institute, said the fund will allow high-risk, high-return research that could have significant impacts on water resources and science.

"Organizations that fund research like to be relatively certain that the money they're giving is going to yield some safe results, but that often means taking very little risk with research and sticking with safe, often predictable results," Steinman said. "The gift from the Huntings means that we'll have funds to go after exciting and groundbreaking research, focusing on high-risk but also high-return projects. 

"Research needs to take that chance every once in a while to yield unique results that are important to protecting our Great Lakes."

Steinman said he hopes to use the fund to more aggressively pursue research into microplastics in the Great Lakes, as well as assess the potential impacts of key stressors that will affect our future water resources, including climate change, land use change, and water withdrawals.

"Allen and Helen Hunting have given us a wonderful gift that will allow us to do even more exciting and innovative science here at AWRI," Steinman said. "They're wonderful stewards of our environment and care deeply about protecting our spectacular freshwater resources."

The gift is part of the university's Laker Effect comprehensive campaign; to learn more about the campaign, visit gvsu.edu/giving/