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Successful fall for research and economic development

I hope that your fall has been going well. It has been a very successful semester in the Office of Research and Economic Development, and I would like to thank you for your contributions. While our office plays a leadership role in the university’s overall research enterprise and economic development initiatives, the commitment of our faculty, staff, administrators and students is what makes Mississippi State a catalyst for positive change in our state, nation and in communities around the world.

As you can imagine, having the funding necessary to support our research remains a top priority for us. Appropriation cuts, the federal budget sequester, and the recent government shutdown have all contributed to heightened concern. Quite frankly, less money for research affects major land-grant universities like MSU in a number of counterproductive ways. We are working diligently to mitigate these effects by, among other things, supporting faculty with their funding proposals, and providing resources to enable successful grant writing. Contact Assistant Vice President for Research Teresa Gammill at tgammill@research.msstate.edu with your questions, or visit http://www.research.msstate.edu/rresources for more information.

Please let me share a few of the other things that we have been working on recently.


David Shaw is vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State University.

Job accelerator grant a major win
Late last month, we were very pleased to learn that Mississippi State has been awarded a $1.9-million grant as part of the Make It In America Challenge, which encourages U.S. companies to keep, expand or reshore their manufacturing operations in America, and to entice international companies to build facilities to make their products in the U.S. Our three-year effort will focus strongly on both returning jobs to the U.S. and keeping advanced manufacturing jobs in the state. Winning this highly competitive award is an excellent example of MSU’s culture of collaboration and expertise at pulling together effective statewide partnerships. Read more about what we will be doing at http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6301.

Governor declares November 'Innovation Month'
Gov. Phil Bryant has declared November as Innovation Month in our state, and we are proud that “Every month is innovation month at Mississippi State. Innovation and discovery that boost economic development is part of our institutional DNA,” as President Keenum wrote in a statewide op-ed piece last week. And we are pleased to join our IHL peers in contributing more than $400 million annually in research and development. Read Dr. Keenum’s column at http://on.thec-l.com/Hzsg71 and find out how Mississippi Public Universities are fueling innovation at http://bit.ly/17A30YS.

SPA testing new proposal development system — Cayuse 424
Sponsored Programs Administration is testing a new proposal development system — Cayuse 424 — and early indications are that it is a very user-friendly system for faculty who are writing and submitting grants. Currently, the university has a 90-day trial of the new application, and SPA is searching for a few willing — and patient — guinea pigs who would like to test it for their Grants.gov submissions and provide feedback. If you are interested, please contact SPA director Jennifer Easley at jeasley@spa.msstate.edu or 662-325-3751. Learn more about Cayuse 424 at http://www.cayuse.com/solutions/connect.php.

SEC visiting faculty travel grants awarded
After carefully reviewing 31 applications for the 2014 SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grant Program, my office recently joined the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine to announce this year’s recipients from Mississippi State: Robert Crossler, assistant professor of management and information systems; Nick Fitzkee, assistant professor of chemistry; Daniel Petrolia, associate professor of agricultural economics; and Morgan Varner, assistant professor of forestry. Each will receive a $2,500 grant intended to enhance faculty collaborations that stimulate scholarly initiatives between SEC universities.

Mississippi State's role in K-12 education
As you’ve probably seen, I’m serving on the commission to provide recommendations on how the Starkville and Oktibbeha County public schools can be consolidated. I’m very proud of how many at our university, and particularly the College of Education, have stepped up and committed to playing a vital role in the education of children in this city and county. Changing education in our state is a pillar of the Infinite Impact capital campaign that MSU recently brought public. Our entire university is ideally positioned to have a major impact on improving the education of Mississippians, and rural populations throughout the nation. My serving on the commission has brought to light many things that have already been going on without my knowledge from every college on our campus. Thanks to everyone for having such an impact — and let’s see even more happen in the years to come!

OETT welcomes Hill and Lopez
Please join me in welcoming Eric Hill and Julie Lopez to the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer team. Eric is now coordinating OETT’s entrepreneurship-related endeavors, and Julie is the new licensing associate. Innovation, entrepreneurship and taking ideas from inception into the marketplace are priorities on our campus, and OETT is playing a vital role in these activities. And speaking of how Mississippi State-led innovation is making a difference, take a look at how a few of our researchers are making the concrete used for the Davis Wade Stadium expansion more environmentally-friendly in this great story on the HailStateBeat blog — http://bit.ly/15DKs5a

Kudos and congratulations
Every month, I look forward to sharing success stories about our students, faculty and staff with you. Here are a few that have crossed my desk recently:

* Congratulations to Matt Brown, a new assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, for his contributions to the discovery of a new protist -- a diverse collection of single-celled organisms that do not fit into any other category -- that he named Pygsuia biforma. He is the lead author of the article describing his team’s research, which was published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology), the leading British biological research journal. Well done, Dr. Brown!

* Kudos to Robert Boyd, a professor in the Department of Sociology, for his appointment as deputy editor of the American Sociological Review -- the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Brown for this achievement. It is great to see Mississippi State listed at the top of the journal’s masthead with Vanderbilt, Penn, UC Berkeley and other leading institutions.

* Congratulations to Jim Giesen, an associate professor in the Department of History, for winning the Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association. The award recognizes the best first book in the field of Southern history over a two-year period. He won the award for Boll Weevil Blues: Cotton, Myth, and Power in the American South, which also won the 2012 Deep South Book Prize for the best book in Southern history. Outstanding!

Family care seminar Nov. 19
In our busy lives, many of us face challenges outside of work and need good advice. On Nov. 19, the university’s Work Life Balance Committee and MSU Staff Council will host a family care seminar featuring sessions about child care and elder care, including estate planning for seniors, caring for the caregiver, common childhood illnesses and bullying, among others. Faculty, staff and the local community are invited to attend this free event, which begins at 9 a.m. at Bost Extension Center’s theater. Additional details are online at http://www.worklifebalance.msstate.edu/family-care-seminar.

Final words
As I mentioned previously, MSU recently launched the public phase of a major fundraising program called Infinite Impact: The Mississippi State University Campaign. We work closely with the MSU Foundation, and its work plays a crucial role in supporting research at our institution, and so will this capital campaign. I encourage you to learn more about Infinite Impact at http://www.infiniteimpactmsu.com.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this month’s letter. Please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu with your research or economic development questions or suggestions.

Go Dawgs!

— David


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2013 2:30 PM.

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