UTPA explores collaborative research partnerships
Posted: 10/13/2005
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Research faculty at The University of Texas-Pan American recently met with the representatives from the Office of the Navy, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) - the applied research arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and Tennessee State University (TSU). At the meeting GTRI and TSU's successful research collaborative initiatives were shared, areas for possible research collaborations with UTPA faculty were explored and the structure for research partnerships among the three institutions was discussed.

UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas welcomed the guests to campus and expressed the importance of the initiative as a milestone on the path to further UTPA's goal of becoming a Carnegie Intensive Research Institute by 2010.

A Research Partnership meeting was held recently at The University of Texas-Pan American with representatives from the Office of the Navy, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and Tennessee State University (TSU) in order to build long term research alliances. Pictured left to right are Anthony V. Junior, director of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)/Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Program of the Navy's OSDBU office; Dr. Edwin LeMaster, dean of College of Science and Engineering, UTPA; UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas; Margie Brown, research associate, GTRI; Dr. Marcus Shute, vice president of Research, TSU; Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, associate vice president of Research, UTPA; and Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs, UTPA.
The partnership meeting was co-hosted by the UTPA Computing Information and Technology Center (CITeC) and the Office of Research Administration. Shelly Chtcherba, CITeC research coordinator, planned and organized the meeting with the assistance of Anthony V. Junior, director of Historically Black Colleges Universities (HBCU)/Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Program for the Department of the Navy.

Junior addressed the group about the Navy's interest in supporting the creation of research collaborations between an MSI, HBCU and a Research Tier 1 institution.

"The Department of the Navy is interested in further engaging minority institutions in the naval research enterprise. The Navy values their support in expanding the base of research institutions and educating the next generation workforce, and the minority institutions represent an important resource to fulfilling the Navy's mission," Junior said.

More than 40 research and administration representatives from UTPA heard from Dr. Marcus W. Shute, vice president of Research at TSU, a research intensive HBCU, who shared an overview of research at TSU. Shute discussed possible research collaboration overlap with UTPA and shared information about TSU's current collaborations with GTRI. Margie Brown, research associate at GTRI, presented information about the structure and research initiatives underway at GTRI and the strategy and the criteria used for pursuing funding opportunities in partnership with GTRI through grants and contracts.

Selected UTPA College of Science and Engineering faculty, whose research overlaps with areas of potential collaborations, also made presentations related to their current research interests. UTPA presenter Dr. Heinrich Foltz, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, said the collaborative partnership meeting with GTRI and TSU was an excellent opportunity to initiate joint projects with a major research institution.

"We made some valuable contacts and will definitely pursue the upcoming opportunities to expand our research base," Foltz said.

Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, associate vice president of Research at UTPA, said the UTPA faculty research presentations identified areas where possible overlaps in capabilities between the participating institutions existed.

"Through this meeting we are beginning the process to build the long term research partnerships and collaborations needed to create the critical research mass essential to UTPA's research success," she said.

For more information, contact Chtcherba at 956/292-7343.