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No summer slowdown for research, economic development

While summer activities are well underway on campus, like many of you, we are anticipating the start of a new academic year and the return of all of our students. Offering undergraduates and grad students unique research opportunities is a priority at Mississippi State, and it is one very important aspect of the overall student experience that sets us apart from our peers. If you are interested in including students in your research activities, I encourage you to visit http://www.urcd.msstate.edu or contact Assistant Vice President for Research Teresa Gammill at tgammill@research.msstate.edu.

Please let me share a brief update with you.


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

APLU recognizes Mississippi State for innovation, economic development
As many of you know, we play a unique role in economic development throughout our state and beyond as Mississippi's flagship research university. Late last month, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and its Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity recognized these contributions by designating MSU an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University. We are among 18 leading universities receiving this designation, and one of only two Southeastern Conference institutions in the third-annual class. Special thanks to Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement and Economic Development Kathy Gelston for leading us through the intensive review process with the APLU to earn this honor. Read more about it from the Office of Public Affairs at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7319

New class named for Faculty Leadership Program
My office is pleased to work with the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President to offer an annual academic leadership orientation program for selected faculty. As I have noted, this program has been very successful in the past, and many of its participants serve in key leadership positions on campus today. In August, another outstanding class of participants will begin the 2015-2016 Fred Tom Mitchell Faculty Leadership Program. Congratulations to Janet R. Donaldson, associate professor, biological sciences; Kimberly R. Hall, associate professor, Meridian Division of Education; Dean Jousan, associate Extension professor, animal and dairy science; Deborah Lee, professor, general library and co-director, Maroon & Write Quality Enhancement Plan; Shien Lu, associate professor, biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology; Bonnie Carr O’Neill, associate professor, English; Amanda Clay Powers, associate professor, general library; Kathy Sherman-Morris, associate professor, geosciences; Jack Smith, acting associate dean and associate professor, pathobiology and population medicine; Lisa Wallace, associate professor, biological sciences; Lakiesha N. Williams, associate professor, agricultural and biological engineering; and Joe D. Wilmoth, associate professor, School of Human Sciences.

Mark your calendars: Uniform Guidance sessions
The Office of Management and Budget has streamlined the federal government’s guidance on administrative requirements, cost principles and audit requirements for federal awards through the Uniform Guidance streamlining initiative. The release of the Uniform Guidance and agency implementations impacts existing institutional policies, federal sponsor guidelines, and the terms and conditions expressed in federal awards. My office will be hosting a one-and-a-half day seminar on Uniform Guidance on Aug. 24-25, and I encourage you to save the date on your calendars. This workshop is designed to provide attendees important information about the changes incorporated in Uniform Guidance, and how these changes impact research administration policies and procedures, and familiarize them with Uniform Guidance and agency implementations. Look for more information in August when new Research Seminar Series brochures are delivered or visit www.research.msstate.edu/workshops for additional information and registration.

Lab safety stand-down moving to next phase
After several recent biosafety and biosecurity incidents in federal laboratories, all federal agencies that possess, use or transfer human, animal or plant infectious agents and toxins and/or recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids participated in a safety stand-down. In a continuing effort to meet best practices at Mississippi State, Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine Greg Bohach and I supported this endeavor. Phase I was completed last March by all BSL-2 investigators, and we appreciate your participation. We are now moving into Phase II comprised of an online general biosafety training course called "Biological Safety: Principles and Practices" offered through myCourses. It is accessed through the self-enrollment option. The IBC/biosafety program underwent an external audit in April, and a major deficiency noted was the lack of required training. To rectify that finding and comply with the federal stand-down program training conditions, Phase II training will become effective on Aug. 1. Dr. Bohach and I will provide detailed information later this month pertaining to the myCourse instructions and timelines for completion.

Don't miss: Joint Center for Energy Storage Research symposium
Next month, Mississippi State will host a regional symposium in conjunction with the Argonne National Laboratory-led Joint Center for Energy Storage Research examining the challenges and opportunities of energy storage technology for the electric grid in the Southeast. We are very excited about this special event, and I encourage you to register for it soon. During the symposium, small businesses and industry, utility companies, academic and government researchers, economic developers, and policymakers will have ample opportunities to explore energy storage and major applications in the region at both the transmission and distribution level. Learn more about the symposium at www.ei.msstate.edu/jcesrsymposium.

National expert on tap for MSU's COBRE Seminar Series
Our colleagues in the College of Veterinary Medicine will be hosting a national expert on Aug. 18 as part of the MSU COBRE Seminar Series. Rita Scheman, the director of publications and executive editor of the American Physiological Society in Bethesda, Maryland, will present a seminar in the Tait-Butler Classroom on the second floor of the Wise Center from 11 a.m.-noon, and we are looking forward to a very informative presentation from her. The NIH's Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, or COBRE, program provides competitive grants in support of multidisciplinary centers that strengthen institutional biomedical research capacity.

Hill named director of international research development for International Institute
On July 1, Shauncey Hill was named the director of international research development for the International Institute at MSU. She has more than 18 years of experience in administering sponsored research initiatives for the university, and I encourage faculty working in all areas of international research and outreach to contact her or Interim Associate Vice President for International Programs Jon Rezek for assistance identifying funding opportunities, developing research proposals, and managing grant submissions. The International Institute is online at www.international.msstate.edu.

Thomas named new chemical hygiene officer
Please join me in welcoming Mississippi State chemical engineering alumnus Matt Thomas to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety as the university's chemical hygiene officer. In this role, he will be responsible for maintaining our laboratory safety program, which entails ensuring compliance with applicable federal, state and local requirements as well as promoting best practices for a safe working environment for faculty, staff and students within campus teaching and research laboratories. Visit www.ehs.msstate.edu for additional information.

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

* Congratulations to Cory Gallo, associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture, and the students, faculty, staff and community volunteers for their work on the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum's rain garden program, which was recently honored with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4's Rain Catcher Award. Learn more about this impressive project at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7308.

* Kudos to Bill Cooke, the Department of Geosciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and all of our faculty, staff and students across campus engaged in geospatial sciences teaching and research. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey have designated Mississippi State as a Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences. A key component of the CAE designation is encouraging student research. See more about this prestigious national designation at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7312.

* Congratulations to Devon Brenner, head of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, who is serving as an education policy fellow for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Washington. Learn more about her fellowship at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7283.

* Kudos to David Perkes, the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio team, and the College of Architecture, Art and Design. The Architects Foundation recently recognized the studio as a Regional Resilience Design Studio as part of its ongoing National Resilience Initiative, which aims to create a network of Regional Resilience Design Studios across the country. Located in Biloxi, MSU's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio was created to respond to Hurricane Katrina and has evolved from disaster recovery to long-term efforts of resilience. Read more at http://aia.org/press/releases/AIAB106506.

* Congratulations to Mississippi State's newest Certified Research Administrator: Stephanie Hyche, an assistant director for Sponsored Programs Administration.

Final words
In early June, we held a celebratory press conference where state leaders joined our senior leadership, researchers and others to share more information about the university's lead role for the Federal Aviation Administration's new National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. It was an exciting day, and I thank each of you who attended. As I told the standing-room only crowd, this is a very big deal. I encourage you to read more about it at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7286.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this month’s letter. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns about research and economic development at Mississippi State, please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu.

Go Dawgs!

— David


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