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Memorable fall underway at Mississippi State

Fall is my favorite time of the year, and it is turning out to be a memorable season for all of us at Mississippi State this year. Having a highly ranked football team generates significant interest in so many other aspects of the university, including our economic development and research initiatives like our faculty and students who are developing a safer football helmet. WREG-TV featured their work a few weeks ago, and you can find the report online at http://wreg.com/2014/09/25/mississippi-state-university-tackles-football-concussions-builds-safer-helmets

Please let me take a moment to update you about a few of our recent activities.


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

Experts to lead research funding resources overview
As most of you know, the funding environment for research has never been more competitive. My office is committed to providing faculty and staff the resources needed to successfully meet this challenge. Later this month, we will host a two-day visit by program advisors from the Grants Resource Center, a unit of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Sessions will cover a range of funding issues, and experts will also be available for private consultations to provide guidance on best-fit grant opportunities for your projects. To sign up for a one-on-one, 15-minutes slot to discuss your project on Oct. 29 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. or Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., please contact Lynn Taylor at ltaylor@research.msstate.edu or 662-325-3168. Additional information about this visit is online at www.research.msstate.edu/rresources/news.php?id=3691

'Safety Stand-Down' planned for Biosafety Level 2 labs
Many of you have received an email from Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Greg Bohach and myself about the U.S. government’s “Safety Stand-Down.” In light of recent biosafety and biosecurity incidents at federal laboratories, the White House has directed all federal departments and agencies -- including the USDA, NIH, CDC, FDA, EPA and others — that operate facilities that possess, use or transfer human, animal or plant infectious agents and toxins and/or recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids to perform a “Safety Stand-Down.” In a continuing effort to meet best practices at Mississippi State, Dr. Bohach and I are supporting this endeavor via a phased approach in order to ensure that everyone has sufficient time to respond. MSU is requiring all principal investigators who conduct research at Biosafety Level 2 to participate in a phased plan to accomplish the tasks at hand. The deadline for phase one is March 13, 2015, and I ask that you review the information we have posted at http://blogs.msstate.edu/ored/2014/10/safety_standdown_plan_in_place.html

Excellent export compliance presentation now online
In September, Will Mackie, a senior attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's National Security Division, visited Mississippi State and delivered a very important presentation about the absolute necessity of export control compliance. Mr. Mackie gained notoriety for the successful prosecution of a Tennessee professor and a high-technology defense contractor for violating terms of the Arms Export Control Act, and his insight into this issue is second to none. If you weren’t able to attend his presentation, I invite you to visit www.research.msstate.edu/rresources and click on the link titled “Will Mackie Presentation: Export Control Laws, Technical Data and Academic Research Projects.” If you need additional information, please contact MSU’s Office of Research Security at www.ors.msstate.edu

NIH emphasizing individual development plans
In an effort to better prepare students and postdocs to participate successfully in a broad-based and evolving research-related economy, the National Institutes of Health strongly encourages institutions to develop and use individual development plans, or IDPs, for grad students and postdoctoral research supported by NIH awards regardless of their position or title. IDPs provide a structure for the identification and achievement of career goals. NIH progress reports submitted on or after Oct. 17 must include a report on the use of IDPs. For more information, please visit the Office of Research Compliance website at www.orc.msstate.edu or contact Kacey Strickland at 662-325-7474 or kstrickland@research.msstate.edu

Deadline nears for cross-college grant program
As I’ve mentioned, we are again soliciting proposals from faculty who desire to create interdisciplinary, cross-college research groups on campus. This program has been a very popular research facilitation tool, and one that has demonstrated a strong return on our investment. The deadline to submit a funding proposal through the appropriate associate dean for research is Oct. 17, and you may find additional details and submission information at www.research.msstate.edu/rresources/news.php?id=3623

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

* Congratulations to Heather Jordan, a new assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who has been awarded funding from the National Institute of Justice for $843,376. Her three-year proposal is studying the utilization of microbial structure and function in investigations of criminal justice.

* Kudos to Center for Safety and Health Program Manager Davern Jones and Industrial Hygienist Steven Holman for earning Certified Safety Professional designations. CSP qualifications are based on professional safety practice in the U.S., and requirements for the credential include education, professional safety experience, demonstrating knowledge of professional safety practice, and passing a comprehensive exam.

* Congratulations to Kevin Hunt, professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture and director of the Human Dimensions and Conservation Law Enforcement Laboratory, who has been reappointed to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s board of directors. It is another example of our faculty’s outstanding national reputation.

* Kudos to David Thompson, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and associate director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, who has received a prestigious Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering. The program’s goal is to help universities in the United Kingdom build capacity and promote collaborations by facilitating visits by distinguished international experts.

* Congratulations to Sead “Sejo” Sabanadzovic, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, who has been elected to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses’ executive committee. Dr. Sabanadzovic is the only plant virologist from the U.S. serving on the committee, and his election speaks highly of Mississippi State’s reputation in the international plant virology community.

* Kudos to principal investigator Tommy Morris, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and associate director of the Distributed Analytics and Security Institute, and his team for their work to develop a Relay Settings Automation program for Entergy Corp. With this software, a process that takes four to six hours to complete manually can be performed electronically in less than a minute. Team members include students Travis Green, Srilalita Neti, Jeff Hsu, Quinton Grice, Joseph Johnson, Stefan Lewis; research associates Angie Card and Greg Henley; and Mike Mazzola, professor and endowed chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Read more about this innovative project at www.bagley.msstate.edu/news/bcoe-partners-with-entergy-to-develop-new-software

* Welcome home to Stephen Brain and Stephen Cottrell. An associate professor in the Department of History, Dr. Brain has returned from a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. He and his family lived and worked just 30 miles from the Ukraine border while he conducted research and taught at Southern Federal University. As a consequence of his experience, Dr. Brain will be co-writing a book focused on Soviet leaderships' commitment to "green" and leading a study abroad program to Russia this summer. Dr. Cottrell, director of MSU's Office of International Engagement, and his family recently returned from Nha Trang, Vietnam, after a yearlong Fulbright teaching scholarship. While there, they had the opportunity to travel throughout the nation and visit Cambodia. As a result of his trip, a functioning MOU with Nha Trang University is in development and several academically gifted students have applied to Mississippi State.

Final words
If you’ve spent any time in the Research Park recently, you couldn’t have missed all of the construction. C Spire’s data center is now open, and the new sidewalk around the one-mile Research Boulevard loop is finished. The sidewalk was a top request from many of our tenants in the park, and we are pleased that this additional amenity is available to them, as well as to the local community. We are also looking forward to the installation of three shuttle stop shelters on the boulevard in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns about Mississippi State’s research and economic development activities, please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu

Go Dawgs!

— David


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