The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) has named retired Idaho State senator Laird Noh the Danek Award recipient for 2018. Noh, an Idaho businessman, received the award for his work as Idaho EPSCoR State Committee Chairman and as a trustee of the Idaho Nature Committee for 23 years.
The Danek award recognizes extraordinary individuals who develop the best ideas to resolve research disparity and who have established a long-term commitment to the ideals and goals of EPSCoR.
Senator Laird Noh received his B.S. in Business and Agriculture from the University of Idaho, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Natural Resources from the University of Idaho.
Senator Laird Noh is a Magic Valley sheep rancher. He taught economics for two years at Boise Junior College (now Boise State University). He served in the Idaho Senate from 1980-2004 and was continuously a member of the Education Committee and the Resources and Environment Committee, which he chaired from 1982-2004. Noh was involved in the establishment of the Idaho EPSCoR Program and has served on the Committee since 1989. He is currently chairman of the Rocky Mountain Sheep Marketing Association; a member of the Liaison Committee, Northwest Irrigation, Soils Research Laboratory, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Kimberly, Idaho; a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Idaho; and a member of the Executive Committee of the Idaho Nature Conservancy. In 2005, he was the recipient of their national Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2015, the Boards of the EPSCoR/IDeA Coalition and the EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation created the "Danek Award," named after Dr. Joe Danek, a long-time supporter and "revolutionary" individual recognized for his work in addressing research disparity across the United States.
Often referred to as the "Father of EPSCoR," Dr. Joe Danek is known for his commitment to building a program that improves the research infrastructure in states which receive low amounts of federal research funding.
Noh said it is indeed an honor. "I have the utmost admiration for Joe Danek. He can rightly claim credit for significantly building the scientific capacity of the participating states and, hence, the entire nation. I believe Idaho is the only state to hold one of these grants, now some $20 M, distributed over 5 years, since 1985. We have been blessed with fine staff and leadership at our universities, and an excellent 17 member, broad based, Idaho Committee."
The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) helps researchers and institutions improve their research capabilities and quality in order to compete more effectively for "mainstream" competitive research funds. Through EPSCoR, over 20 states can apply for large, highly competitive, multiyear grants from the National Science Foundation designed to build long-term scientific capacity. All three of Idaho's research universities participate, and the state of Idaho provides 20% matching funds for the grants.