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Many reasons to be thankful at Mississippi State this fall

What an exciting time to be a part of the Mississippi State family. From Starkville to Jackson and Washington, D.C. — and every place in between — folks can’t get enough of our top-ranked Bulldogs, and that is drawing favorable attention to so many other aspects of our university, including research and economic development. Please let me take a few minutes to give you an update.


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

Collaborative research initiative with ERDC in Vicksburg
Late last month, I joined President Mark Keenum in Vicksburg where he signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create the Institute for Systems Engineering Research at the Engineer Research and Development Center's Information Technology Laboratory. Our partnership will create a hub to develop advanced systems that enhance existing industries, attract new jobs, and bolster national defense capabilities. The collaboration with ERDC will utilize a range of the university's research assets, including our expertise in systems engineering and high performance computing. We are very pleased about opening this new chapter in our decades-long relationship with one of the nation’s premier research centers. For additional information, please see the Office of Public Affairs news release at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6887

Grants Resource Center information, tools available
Representatives of the Grants Resource Center presented a series of programs in October to introduce MSU faculty and staff to a new tool for learning about and preparing for external funding opportunities. The GRC, a subscription service of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, provides comprehensive and personalized support in many forms, including databases of sponsor and discipline-specific funding opportunities and funded proposals, agency fact sheets and a faculty alert system for notifying faculty of opportunities and updates. GRC also offers a series of publications for grant seekers, templates and toolkits for research, proposal development and award management, as well as opportunities for professional development, networking and collaboration. If you have questions about this service or would like to learn more, please contact Sponsored Programs Administration director Jennifer Easley or your SPA administrator. You can access the GRC website and MSU’s institutional login credentials through the GRC link on SPA’s website at www.spa.msstate.edu/grc and the GRC website is also accessible directly at www.aascu.org/GRC

SEC visiting faculty travel grants awarded
After carefully reviewing the 19 applications for the 2015 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: Todd Archer, assistant professor of small animal medicine; Linkan Bian, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering; Charles Freeman, School of Human Sciences assistant professor; and Lindsey Peterson, assistant professor of sociology. Each will receive a $2,500 grant intended to enhance faculty collaborations that stimulate scholarly initiatives between SEC universities.

Applications sought for international working group grants
The International Institute is requesting proposals from faculty and research and Extension staff interested in creating interdisciplinary, cross-college international working groups at Mississippi State. Grants will be awarded up to $2,500 and have a 12-month duration. The main goal of this competitive program is to encourage interdisciplinary international research among MSU faculty. A secondary goal of the program is to expand and catalyze established international partnerships. Applications are due Dec. 15. Visit www.msstate.edu/web/memo/story.php?id=2519 for additional information.

Reminder: 'Safety Stand-Down' plan in place for Biosafety Level 2 labs
As I mentioned last month, 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, the university is 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

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 Mike Brown, state climatologist and Department of Geosciences professor, who received the National Weather Association’s 2014 Public Education Award for "providing significant contributions to increase the public's weather awareness."

* Kudos to Mississippi State's student chapter of Engineers Without Borders and faculty adviser Dennis Truax, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering head and professor, who were recognized recently for their work in Zambia. Read more about their outstanding efforts at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6897

* Congratulations to Terry Amburgey, a retired Giles Distinguished Professor and professor emeritus in the College of Forest Resources, who received the 2014 Award of Merit from the Railway Tie Association for his contributions to the industry and lifetime of service.

Final words
It has been a busy and productive fall at Mississippi State, and we have many reasons to be thankful. As we look forward to a short break at the end of the month, I wish each of you and your families all the best and hope you enjoy a very happy Thanksgiving.

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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