Project NePTWNE takes an inclusive and holistic approach to addressing water quality, climate change, economic development, and quality of life.
MEASURE. MITIGATE. MANUFACTURE.
Gannon University is committed to its long history of aquatic research, education and outreach. This is demonstrated through our emerging initiative regarding lake health. This effort aims to reconcile the environment with the economy to preserve and steward our Lake Erie while simultaneously responding to community needs and growing the economy through job creation.
Project NePTWNE takes an inclusive and holistic approach to address water quality, climate change, economic development, and quality of life.
A major factor impacting water quality and ecological health is the presence of microplastics in waterways. Measuring and removing these pollutants, along with developing new solutions to prevent the pollutants from ever entering the water must be a priority for our region.
As more pressure is placed on access to bodies of fresh water and fresh foods, including fish, it is imperative that as a region we are informed, engaged and positioned to respond to threats and opportunities to maintain quality drinking water and ensure the public and economic health of our communty.
Project NePTWNE, which is short for Nano & Polymer Technology for Water and Neural-networks in Erie, is designed to address these concerns in six phases.
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PHASE 1: Create the Center for Manufacturing and Technology within Gannon’s Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (IHACK). Construction of this phase started November 2022 and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2023.
PHASE 2: Create the Great Lakes Research & Education Center which will be located in the historic Union Fish Co. building at Wolverine Park Marina and on Gannon’s campus. In addition to a water testing and research facility, the lab will serve as an education center for local residents, as well as visitors to Erie. The port location of the lab will provide education about the relationship between water quality and public health, freshwater native fish species and invasive species, the threat from frequent harmful algal blooms and the greater impact that climate change is having on our Great Lakes.
PHASE 3: Through our new relationship with the Regional Science Consortium, we will add greenhouses on or around our Erie campus to grow native plants for Presque Isle and to provide small business opportunities for local residents.
PHASE 4: We are investigating and raising funds for the purchase of a more sophisticated research vessel to augment our current vessel, the Environaut. The new vessel will allow for expanded research opportunities, and K-16 education and programming as well as informal citizen learning.
PHASE 5: Develop a public health and policy program with academic programming and curriculum designed to assist the community with data-based reporting, advising, education and outreach.
PHASE 6: Create sophisticated lake health monitoring facilities and a nanoparticle science lab to identify pollutants and how to eliminate ecological threats.
Gannon University is the anchor institution for the Regional Science Consortium to provide collaboration and continuity of education- and research-based knowledge and understanding of the Lake Erie and Ohio River Basin ecosystem to expand sustainability resources and initiatives.
Project NePTWNE builds on the longstanding strength of several academic majors and programming, workforce development and areas of expertise from across the university. This initiative engages students, employees and the community in research, lectures, professional development, service and more to create a pipeline for the next generation of environmentally focused professionals to advance ecological awareness and positive change. Students and professors are already making a difference by getting involved in their majors, such as: