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'Dear Colleague': a research and eco dev update

With a new semester about to begin and activity picking up on campus, now is a good time to update you on progress we are making in the Office of Research and Economic Development and share a few of our success stories.

But first, I want to offer a welcome to two newcomers to the Mississippi State family: Dean Sharon Oswald in the College of Business, and Dr. Steve Brown, who recently accepted the position of Dean and Associate Vice President of the MSU Meridian campus. I also want to congratulate Dr. George Hopper on his selection as the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Forest Resources, and director of both the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center.

We look forward to working with each of you as you engage in research and economic development activities.

Office of Regulatory Compliance and Safety moves on campus

For some time now, the Office of Regulatory Compliance and Safety has been located off campus on Stark Road. This was not an ideal location, given the interaction required between faculty and Regulatory Compliance staff.

I am pleased to report that ORC&S has been relocated to 53 Morgan Ave. on campus. This location now houses staff for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subjects Research, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Biosafety, General Safety and Lab Safety personnel. Radiological Safety and Hazardous Waste staff members remain in Dorman Hall.

The mail stop for 53 Morgan Ave. is 9563 and the fax number is 325-8776. Please feel free to contact Ms. Kacey Strickland at kstrickland@research.msstate.edu if you have questions about the move or the services that the office provides.

Hosting program managers

Our office is always willing to host program managers from funding agencies here at MSU. Our campus and research programs always impress visitors, and when we can get a program manager from one of our funding agencies to visit, I believe it helps us obtain future grants. We are continually looking for a diversity of speakers, so if you have a particular program manager that you would like us to consider inviting to the university, please let Dr. Teresa Gammill know about it. She would appreciate you emailing suggestions to her at tgammill@research.msstate.edu.

Dr. Gammill has also arranged for the National Science Foundation to present a free workshop at MSU titled, "Science: Becoming the Messenger." This is a communication skill-building workshop that will be held Aug. 29 in the Colvard Student Union Foster Ballroom.

Principal investigators, early-career researchers and engineers, graduate students, post-docs, and public information officers from public and private colleges, universities, and community colleges in the state of Mississippi are invited to attend this workshop to learn more about communicating research advancements and scientific discovery to the media and general public. For more information, see http://www.research.msstate.edu/sciencemessenger/.

Click here to register for "Science: Becoming the Messenger." Registration ends Aug. 22, 2011.

Paperless initial trial sees success

I continue to be pleased with our efforts to move toward electronic processing of documents instead of paper forms. The Office of Sponsored Programs Administration has completed an initial trial using an electronic internal approval sheet instead of the more labor-intensive paper version. The trial was successful, and SPA is now working with the Bagley College of Engineering to implement it within engineering departments prior to moving it to campus-wide use. This move should accelerate processing of the IAS, and parallelize it rather than remaining locked in the sequential processing of the past.

Key research areas and kick-offs

I am working with my staff, as well as Vice Presidents Greg Bohach and Jerry Gilbert, to identify key research focus areas for MSU. Once we have developed the draft list, we will be sharing it with deans and center directors for comment. From there we are looking to share it campus wide. At every step we will be seeking and carefully considering feedback so that it is truly representative of the best our campus has to offer. It will be incredibly important to formally outline the university's key research focus areas and concentrate support in those areas.

I simply can't adequately put into words how much I appreciate the research efforts of our faculty. Our rating as a "very high research productivity" university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching would not be possible without your efforts. As we see decreases in federal initiatives and overall federal research funding, we will be relying on faculty more than ever to retain our high research productivity levels.

As the fall semester begins, activities on campus will hit a fever pitch. It is always the true start of our new year, and this one looks to be our best ever. And, I'm personally looking forward to the opening home game against LSU on Thursday evening, Sept. 15. I hope to see you at Davis Wade Stadium as another winning season kicks off.

Go Dawgs!

David Shaw
Vice President for Research and Economic Development


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