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Research update as we move into the spring semester

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday break, and that you are as excited as I am about the prospects for 2013. The Office of Research and Economic Development staff and I are continuing our work of supporting Mississippi State University’s research enterprise, which is creating new opportunities that enhance the quality of our research, improving the quality of life for Mississippians, and growing our state’s economy. As we move fully into the spring semester, I wanted to take a moment to update you on a few of our activities.

SEC Visiting Travel Grant Program applications
We received a very good response to the recent call for SEC visiting travel grant proposals, and we are currently working with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost to select four awards of $2,500 each that will support collaboration with other SEC universities. The applications we received were very good, and I appreciate the efforts of those of you who applied. We should be able to announce the four awards by early February. It’s heartening to know that we have so many opportunities to work with our sister universities in the SEC.

Faculty and staff garner recognition
One of the best parts of my job is working with a lot of very smart and very talented people on our campus. Here are a few of the folks whose recent accomplishments have caught my attention:

* Dr. Jodi Roberts, the university’s Institutional Review Board officer who oversees our Human Research Protection Program (HRPP), submitted MSU’s application for accreditation to the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs Inc. (AAHRPP) in late December. AAHRPP is now reviewing this application, and we expect a site visit before the end of the spring semester. This is a very extensive application, and it requires a great deal of effort. Kudos to Dr. Roberts and her staff for their work.

* Dr. Kevin Armbrust, director of the Mississippi Chemical Laboratory, was nominated by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) to serve on the Food and Drug Administration's Food Advisory Committee last year. After an extensive selection process, he has been invited to serve on the committee for the next three years. This appointment to a federal advisory committee is a true testament to Mississippi State’s excellent faculty and research capabilities.

* Dr. Daniel Peterson, director of the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology and a professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, will receive the 2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award from the National Cotton Council of America for his and his co-author’s efforts on the ‘gold standard’ D5 genome sequence and the associated paper published in Nature.

* Dr. Mark F. Horstemeyer, a chair professor in mechanical and computation engineering, is being recognized as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Engineering Section at its annual meeting in February. Dr. Horstemeyer will receive the same honor from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International at an April ceremony. These honors bring his total Fellow titles to four, an unprecedented accomplishment within the Bagley College of Engineering.

* Dr. James C. Newman, the Richard H. Johnson chair of aerospace engineering and a Giles Distinguished Professor, received the Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 International Conference on Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials in September. In February, he joins Dr. Horstemeyer in being recognized as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Engineering Section at its annual meeting.

Steel research partnership underway
The Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and Severstal North America are launching the Steel Research Center (SRC) that will create a steelmaking technology hub at Mississippi State. This 4,000-square-foot SRC is located in the Edwards Reactor Building on Herbert Street on the university’s main campus. Dr. Roger King, director of CAVS, will oversee the creation of the SRC which will help drive advanced predictive capabilities focusing on steel manufacturing processes and the design of new alloys for key flat rolled products to support the steel consuming industries. Congratulations to all for moving this project forward. It is one of the many examples of how our researchers are partnering with Mississippi’s largest employers.

International activities accelerate
We continue to increase our international presence and research activity. I just completed a trip to Rome, along with Dr. Jerry Gilbert and Dr. Greg Bohach. We visited with a number of universities and government organizations that see value in working with MSU. We will continue to foster these relationships over the coming year, and I anticipate contacting various research groups for support as we work toward solid collaborations. In late January, Mr. Donald Tong, the Hong Kong Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs, traveled to our state for meetings with MSU, the Mississippi Development Authority and other officials and business leaders. Mr. Tong spent time on our campus meeting with students, faculty and staff; toured many of our research facilities; and spoke in Jackson at the Janos Radvanyi Chair in International Security Studies Executive Lecture Forum luncheon. We are also growing our cyber security collaborations with universities in Australia, and executed an MOU with the University of South Australia formalizing our joint research efforts with them. As you can see, we are growing Mississippi State’s presence in the global community, and I look forward to sharing additional success stories about our efforts in the future.

nSPARC on move to Cochran Research Park
The National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) under the directorship of Dr. Mimmo Parisi will soon be relocating to a new home. We have made arrangements for this highly productive research center to occupy space in the Powe Building, which is located in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park.

Final words
I know I often tell you how much I appreciate your efforts, and I will continue to do so. Without you and your hard work, we would not have an internationally recognized research program. I am very aware that the funding landscape is becoming more and more difficult these days, but Mississippi State University continues to hold its own nationally. Thank you for all you do, and my best wishes for a productive new year.

Go Dawgs!

David Shaw
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Mississippi State University


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