UM System researchers present projects at capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY- State officials had the opportunity to see where state funds have been going for university research projects. Students from the UM System presented research findings at the state capitol Tuesday.

Jason Robke, a senior engineering student researcher said, "the ultimate goal of this is to increase the funding to Missouri, to the University System and to make sure research continues how it is right now."

Robke has worked on research with Boeing for the last three years. His focus was on designing a computer program to lower overall transportation cost. Through the research he noticed a positive effect on the community.

"My project at Boeing has opened a direct pipeline to bringing Mizzou students from the university to a major corporation," Robke said. "So cutting costs for a major corporation, like we did, allows them to maybe create more jobs, that's benefitting the state as a whole."

"There's research here for medical fields, for agricultural research, geology research, supply-chain industrial engineering related," he said.

His goal is to show this diversity to the state officials.

"So to really just highlight to the legislators what the funding that they are sending Mizzou is going for and the good work that is coming out of that," Robke said.

Students representing MU, UMSL, UMKC and Missouri University of Science and Technology were all present at the capitol.

Robke said state legislators spoke with him about how the funding has helped his research and how that has given back to the state.

Sam Jonesi is another researcher from MU. He said he would also like to see increased funding, but that researchers would need to explain why.

"Obviously we want more money," MU researcher Sam Jonesi said. "But I don't want to just jump the gun and say, ‘yes, yes more money.' You know we would need to identify a specific need as well as its benefits to the state," Jonesi said.

Even though many researchers who presented Tuesday will graduate soon, Robke said continuing state funding would help future students as well.