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New year holds research, economic development opportunities

Welcome back to campus for the start of a new semester at Mississippi State. I hope that you enjoyed the break. Like many of you, we have had a busy start to the new year. Last week, I joined President Mark Keenum and other campus leaders in Rome where we broadened our partnership with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization on initiatives addressing world hunger and poverty [ http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6421 ]. Expanding this international partnership is a fitting way to kick off the new year as our institution continues to change the world through our land-grant mission of research, teaching and service. I am very excited about the opportunities 2014 holds. Please let me give you a brief update.


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

Nominations wanted for research awards
Every spring, our office and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine recognize outstanding faculty, staff and students during an annual research awards banquet, which takes place April 29 this year. The 2014 nomination period for research awards and the Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award is now open, and I encourage you to submit your nominations by the March 3rd deadline. Additional details and nomination forms are posted on the Maroon Research blog at http://blogs.msstate.edu/ored/2014/01/nominations_wanted_for_2014_po_1.html

MSU hosting Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Day
In early February, I hope that you will be able to participate in Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Day at Mississippi State. Officials from this top tier federal research laboratory will be on campus on Feb. 10 for sessions with MSU faculty, staff, administrators and students, as well as local industry and government representatives. Participants will explore collaborative research opportunities and funding possibilities, among other topics. We had a great turnout for a similar event last fall — Argonne National Lab Days — and I anticipate this one will be as productive for everyone. Look for more details and registration information in the next few days, but please put Feb. 10 on your calendar.

Great faculty support for MSMS student researchers
Over the past several years, we have partnered with the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science to develop a student researcher program that pairs MSU faculty with MSMS students. Last week, our latest cohort of students visited campus for orientation and to meet their mentors. This program is yet another example of the outstanding commitment our faculty has made to enhance research opportunities for potential students, in addition to current undergraduate and grad students at Mississippi State. I offer a special thank you to faculty who have volunteered their time and energy to this program. If you are interested in participating in the future, please contact Assistant Vice President Teresa Gammill at tgammill@research.msstate.edu

Human research protection program going green
As many of you know, streamlining processes and implementing paperless systems are priorities on our campus, and we are asking that all Human Research Protection Program applications, modifications and supporting documents be submitted for review in an editable, PDF format. Please make sure to check the forms section of the Office of Research Compliance website at http://www.orc.msstate.edu for the most up-to-date forms and for instructions on how to submit your documents. Please feel free to contact HRPP staff at 662-325-3294 if you have any questions regarding this process. Additionally, if you need IRB training, a live training session will be held on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. in Tully Auditorium. Refresher training options will be announced later in the semester. This will be the last live training offered until the fall 2014 semester. You may register online anytime at https://ssl2.msstate.edu/orc/workshops/loginorc.php

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:

* Congratulations to Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty members Dipangkar Dutta and Jim Dunne, post-doc Mitra Shabestari and graduate students Amrendra Narayan, Adesh Subedi and Luwani Ndukum in the Medium Energy Nuclear Physics group for their contributions to an international research team attempting a measurement of the proton’s weak charge. This groundbreaking work was recently featured in Physical Review Letters [ http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v111/i14/e141803 ]

* Kudos to MSU’s newest Certified Pre-award Research Administrators, Carly Cummings in the College of Arts and Sciences and Tina Hood in Sponsored Programs Administration, and Certified Research Administrator, LaDonna Bullman in MAFES.

* Congratulations to Darrin Dodds, associate Extension professor, for being named 2014 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year at the Extension Cotton Specialist annual dinner banquet during the 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans earlier this month. Extension cotton specialists representing every cotton-producing state select a winner annually for this award based on leadership and industry service and sponsored by Bayer CropScience.

Final words
Last month saw a departure from the Office of Research and Economic Development. Melvin Ray, who most recently served our campus as associate vice president for economic development, took a step toward retirement. With the start of the spring semester, Dr. Ray is working as a research fellow at the Social Science Research Center, and plans to retire this summer after an MSU career that has spanned nearly three decades. I cannot say enough about the contributions Mel has made to our office, this institution and our state. Thank you, Dr. Ray.

Moving forward, we are developing a plan to fill this vital role, and I look forward to sharing more information with you in the near future.

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


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