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Mississippi State playing vital role in research, economic development

It's hard to believe that a new academic year will be starting in a few days. This past month, I've had a number of opportunities to see first-hand the vital role that your university is playing at the local, state, national, and international levels in economic development and research. I continue to be extraordinarily proud of the reputation that Mississippi State has and continues to build. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our faculty, staff, and students, we are achieving unprecedented levels of success, and I am very proud to be a part of it. We have had a busy and productive summer in the Office of Research and Economic Development, and I'd like to take a few minutes to give you a brief update.

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

New policies address research scientists, research engineers
After a thorough development and review process, Mississippi State has implemented a new policy establishing a consistent set of titles for full-time research personnel engaged in research scientist activities and the promotion criteria and approval process for these positions. This policy complements the policy for research engineers approved by the Executive Council last fall. We believe these changes will help to promote research on campus and further enhance the university's position as one of the nation's leading research institutions. I appreciate the input we received during this process, as well as the widespread support for the new policies.

Mid-August deadline for SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grants
Please remember that applications for the Southeastern Conference Visiting Faculty Travel Grant Program are now being accepted, and the deadline to apply is Aug. 19. Mississippi State can select a maximum of eight faculty members to receive 2016-2017 travel grants of $1,250 each. The program was created to enhance faculty collaboration that stimulates scholarly initiatives between SEC universities. Additional information is available at http://memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=3493.

Education Policy Fellowship Program seeks applicants
The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a programmatic partnership between the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, D.C., the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development, and the Office of Research and Economic Development at Mississippi State. The MSU cohort will be working towards building the capacity of the institution to engage in research and outreach around rural education, and if you are interested in applying to the program, please visit http://memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=3592 for additional information.

Laser registration process underway
The Environmental Health and Safety Office has developed a new laser safety program to assist departments and units with general laser safety. MSU Radiation Safety Officer Donna Rogers will serve as our laser safety officer, and she is currently compiling an inventory of all laser devices on campus. Please note that this does not include laser pointers or laser printers. Please begin the registration process by contacting Donna by Aug. 15 at 662-325-4594 or drogers@ehs.msstate.edu.

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

* Kudos to the Northern Gulf Institute team. In July, NOAA reaffirmed NGI as its cooperative institute for the Gulf of Mexico region. The NOAA award comes with a commitment of $7 million for the first year of a five-year award that can be renewed for another five years based on successful performance. Read more at http://memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=3563.

* Congratulations to Jennifer Easley, the director of the Office of Sponsored Projects, who has been named president-elect of the Alabama/Mississippi Chapter of the Society of Research Administrators International. Mississippi State will host the chapter's annual meeting in 2017, and we are looking forward to having our colleagues from around Mississippi and Alabama on campus for a great educational and networking event.

* Kudos to Donna Reese, department head and professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, who has been selected as a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. She becomes the first honoree to represent CSE and the sixth Bagley College of Engineering faculty member to be named to ASEE's Academy of Fellows. Read more at http://memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=3538.

* Congratulations to Lauren Wright, who has been named director of the MSU International Institute's International Services Office, which advises students, research scholars, visiting professors, and MSU faculty and administrators about rules and regulations regarding immigration and the maintenance of a person's non-immigrant status. Read more at http://memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=3590.

* Kudos to Adam Skarke, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, who has been selected to participate in a University National Oceanographic Laboratory System Chief Scientist Training Cruise Program. Over the course of the cruise, Skarke and his 23 fellow early career scientists will be using manned and robotic submarines to study seafloor methane seeps that he helped discover in 2013. Read more at http://memo.msstate.edu/story.php?id=3584.

Final words
The Office of Research and Economic Development works closely with the MSU Foundation on a number of important initiatives, and I was pleased to see last month that the university had another outstanding year of fundraising -- raising $103.2 million in FY2016. It marked the third highest fundraising year in school history, as well as three years running in which institutional fundraising surpassed $100 million. Read more at www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2016/07/msu-again-tops-100-million-private-support-consecutive-year.

Please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns about any of our research and economic development activities.

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