The spring 2005 strategic planning meeting for the 2006 Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnerships (MSIRP) Conference was held recently on the campus of The University of Texas-Pan American. The 2006 conference will be held Feb 2-4 at UTPA, the first time the conference has been held at a Hispanic Serving Institution.
MSIRP is a collaborative effort of institutions of higher learning, particularly Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), government agencies, business and industry and foundations to enhance their ability to create opportunities for contracts, grants and cooperative agreements. MSIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
"Our goal is to encourage, create and support the alliances between academic institutions, small business, government and the private sector through collaborative business and education development initiatives," said Shelly M. Chtcherba, CITeC research coordinator.
Goals for the conference include the clustering and displaying of research competencies and best practices of MSIs in research, education and service for potential research, contracting and other joint venture opportunities as well as facilitating a forum to share experiences and success stories, needs and capabilities within government, business and academic communities. The 2006 conference will include forums, workshops and a business expo among its numerous activities.
"We recognize that there is strength in numbers and it is more beneficial for us to come together to work on a lot of the issues that we are all confronted with rather than trying to work on them solo," said Jeannette Brown, director of the EPA's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. She said UTPA was chosen as the site of the next conference after reviewing its enrollment figures, diversity and its anticipated growth over the next few years. Prior conferences were held at Jackson State University and at Southern University and A&M College.
"Because the students in these universities and colleges (MSIs) are our leaders of tomorrow we want to offer the best to them in terms of potential job opportunities, research capabilities but also in broadening their educational experience and the potential experiences with these other entities that we are focusing or targeting," Brown said.
UTPA's Associate Vice President for Research, Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, said next year's conference will provide new opportunities for the University's students and faculty.
"The MSIRP 2006 conference brings the opportunity to our students to learn about Federal employment as well as graduate education and research opportunities. In addition, our faculty will have the chance to create research partnerships and the University and our research expertise will become well-known to the research funding agencies that attend," she said.
The next planning meeting for the 2006 conference will be held in May in Washington, D.C. For more information on the conference, log on to http://citec.panam.edu/msirc