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Busy time for research at MSU as fall semester ends

Season’s greetings from the Office of Research and Economic Development! We want to wish all of you a safe, restful and enjoyable holiday, but before the semester draws to a close, please let me share a few details about the projects we have been working on recently.


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

Research proposals and the upcoming break
I need to begin with a reminder to anyone working on research proposals that may be due during the Mississippi State winter break of Dec. 23-Jan. 2. The Office of Sponsored Programs Administration closes along with the rest of the university, and so if you have a special need for SPA support over the holidays, please coordinate that with SPA Director Jennifer Easley prior to the break. Her e-mail address is jeasley@spa.msstate.edu or call 662-325-3751.

Speaking of Sponsored Programs, last month, I mentioned that the SPA team was testing a new proposal development system — Cayuse 424 — and that they needed a few willing guinea pigs to try it for their Grants.gov submissions during our 90-day trial. We have been learning a lot during the trial. For example, the older, current system in place did not alert us to an error in an NIH proposal when it was submitted, and a critical deadline was missed. A similar NIH proposal submitted via Cayuse was flagged by the software's error-checking engine prior to submission, the error was corrected, and the proposal was submitted successfully. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to test drive Cayuse; your feedback has been very valuable in our assessment.

Cross-college, collaborative grants awarded
We are excited about announcing this year’s recipients of our cross-college, collaborative research grants. This marks the fourth time we have funded these grants, and we are very pleased to be able to provide additional resources that help faculty move their work forward. A $2,000 grant to each of the 41 teams will support the initiation of proposals, as well as help enhance multi-disciplinary collaboration of existing projects. I think it is worth noting that all of Mississippi State’s colleges are represented among the grant recipients, along with the MSU-Meridian campus. Read more about this year’s recipients at www.msstate.edu/web/memo/story.php?id=1929

Myhand joines Office of Research Compliance
Katie Myhand has joined the Office of Research Compliance as an assistant compliance administrator. She will be working with the human research protections, animal care and use, and financial conflict of interest programs, and serve as a point-of-contact for basic questions and initial processing of all documents. Advancing our status as a major research university is one of my office's highest priorities, and ORC plays an important role by assisting faculty with their research endeavors and ensuring that Mississippi State remains in compliance with regulations.

International opportunities
As you know, MSU has placed a major priority on developing international programs for research, outreach and education programs. We’ve seen several successes recently in this regard, including a major U.S. Agency for International Development grant led by Kathleen Ragsdale and Dan Reynolds at MSU. As I write this, they are traveling to Ghana to begin the preliminary work on the project. This is just the latest example of the great international work that our faculty in every college are doing.

Speaking of international efforts, Jon Rezek, the director of the MSU International Institute, and Roger King, director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, traveled with me this past month to India and Japan. We met with academic institutions and industries in both countries, and came home with partnership agreements well on their way to completion and, in one case, a proposal already under development. As we continue to develop these types of efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Dr. Rezek.

Kudos and congratulations
I enjoy hearing about our faculty and staff successes, and sharing them with you every month. Here are several that have come across my desk recently:

* Kudos to Wes Burger, a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture and associate director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and MAFES, who was recently named a fellow of The Wildlife Society. Dr. Burger was recognized for his exceptional service to the wildlife profession at the organization’s 2013 annual meeting.

* Congratulations to Angela Robertson, interim director of the Social Science Research Center, for being recognized as a prolific national female scholar in criminology by the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Dr. Robertson is cited in a new article titled "The most prolific female scholars in elite criminology and criminal justice journals, 2000-2010."

* Kudos to Roger King, director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and Giles Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, for his selection as a fellow of the IEEE, the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology. Dr. King was honored for “contributions to power systems data analytics to improve grid reliability.”

* Congratulations to Jim Giesen, the director of the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science and the Environment in the South and an associate professor in the Department of History, who is part of a five-year, $5-million National Science Foundation grant led by Duke University that will study the Southeast’s first Critical Zone Observatory. As part of the study, Dr. Giesen will analyze the human activity of the area, while others will provide geological and biological analysis. This collaboration is an excellent example how our faculty excel at cross-discipline, multi-institution partnerships.

Final words
By now, most of you have seen the exciting news about one of our students, Field Brown, being named a Rhodes Scholar. This is an extraordinary honor for Field, his family and professors, the Shackouls Honors College and our university. I add my congratulations for this tremendous achivement.

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.

During this special time of year, we wish you happy holidays and all the best in the upcoming new year.

Merry Christmas and Go Dawgs!

— David


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