WSU awarded $1.2M from National Science Foundation for postdoc research

OGDEN, Utah — Weber State University has been awarded $1.24 million from the National Science Foundation, the largest NSF grant received by the university to date. 

The NSF grant will bring four independent postdoctoral researchers to WSU for two years to collaborate with professors and students in the STEM fields. 

Postdoctoral researchers are individuals who have completed their Ph.D.s and are engaged in mentored research, scholarship and teaching. It serves as a time for researchers to build the skills necessary for their desired career. Bridget Hilbig works in a science lab

“Weber State is contributing a lot to the STEM workforce, so this is an opportunity to bring in postdocs who are on the cutting edge of their research and who want to share that with undergraduate students,” said Bridget Hilbig, associate professor of botany and plant ecology, and one of four WSU faculty who helped secure the grant.

Other WSU faculty from the College of Science and the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education who are part of the grant include Jim Cohen, assistant professor of botany and plant ecology; Kristin Rabosky, associate professor of physics and astronomy; and Megan Hamilton, assistant professor of teacher education.

Hilbig said this is a unique opportunity to mentor postdocs in the “teacher-scholar” model that aims to balance research and teaching. 

“There are about 66,000 postdocs nationwide and they usually end up at big research institutions,” Hilbig said. “We pursued this grant because currently there are few opportunities like this for STEM postdocs and we’re interested in improving the postdoctoral experience for people who want to land at a teaching institution like Weber State.”

Hilbig said the goal is to create a cohort who can be mentored and equipped with “the tools to be successful teachers.” On top of conducting research, the postdocs will also teach classes beginning in fall 2024. 

Exactly what they will research within STEM has yet to be determined but Weber State students will be involved, Hilbig said. 

“For the fellows, this is an opportunity for mentorship and training to ensure students are getting the best teaching they can possibly get,” she said. “For our students, it’s giving them more involvement in undergraduate research.”

WSU will begin a search for the postdocs in January 2024, and Hilbig wants to recruit a diverse group of STEM professionals who are eager to collaborate with both faculty and students. They will be housed within the College of Science or the College of Education.


Bryan Magaña, public relations director


Bryan Magaña, public relations director