The MSU Water Science Network recently announced our new WaterCube program. Our announcement generated a lot of excitement- and a lot of questions (If you missed the announcement, see Steve Pueppke’s post and the WaterCube page). To help answer those questions, we want to let you know where to go to find answers and give you a brief overview of the program.

Where to find answers to your questions: You can find a more detailed explanation in the WaterCube Program description. We also recommend that you check out our WaterCube Info for Faculty page which provides answers to frequently asked questions about the program like how to get a token and which colleges are participating.

So how does the WaterCube program work? The guiding idea behind the program is to provide a different type of internal funding mechanism that focuses on stimulating research ideas without the large time commitment involved in proposal writing and review. We want faculty to focus their time and effort on innovative ideas and going after external funds rather than an internal proposal. That’s why we created the WaterCube. To boil things down for you, here’s an outline of the major steps in the program:

  1. Colleges create tokens worth $20,000.
  2. Faculty members receive tokens from their colleges.
  3. Faculty members with tokens form teams or WaterCubes. Each WaterCube must:
    1. Include at least three faculty with tokens
    2. Contain tokens from at least two different colleges
    3. Contain at least one member who is a new collaborator (these aren’t just the same old teams!)
  4. Teams propose WaterCubes by registering online.
  5. Approved WaterCubes receive at least $60,000 ($20,000 per token) for two years to produce external grants and publications.

That’s it! Once a WaterCube has been proposed, the ESPP and Water Science Network team will quickly screen the proposed cube to ensure that it meets the three criteria in #3 above, confirm the availability of funds, and work with colleges to award the funds.