NMSU honors millionaire researchers

Writer: Hamid Mansouri Rad

On March 2, NMSU honored researchers who secured more than half a million dollars in funded research during fiscal year 2011. President Barbara Couture and Vice President for Research Vimal Chaitanya held a special reception in recognition of 62 outstanding NMSU researchers who collectively brought in more than $121 million in external research funding in that period. Among them were 11 researchers from the College of Engineering.

Research funding

“I appreciate the work that our researchers do, writing proposals, often facing rejection and having to revise and resubmit proposals in order to achieve that success,” said Couture. The president also thanked the office of the vice president for research for supporting the faculty with their research proposals.

Expressing gratitude for the excellent work done by NMSU researchers, Chaitanya said that the researchers being recognized were responsible for 87 percent of the total awards in fiscal year 2011. He also reported that in that period 602 principal investigators were involved in funded research activities and 406 individuals acted as principal investigators on at least one project.

Couture took the opportunity to talk about the visit to White Sands Missile Range that she undertook with Chaitanya. They met with Brigadier General John G. Ferrari, WSMR commanding officer, and a number of WSMR division =heads. They also toured the NASA test facility.

“Everywhere we went, they could not say enough about NMSU,” said Couture. “We also met several NMSU graduates who are working at WSMR in different areas, from theoretical physics to applied engineering, business and finance, and healthcare. These students felt they all received great education at NMSU. They also appreciated the real-world experience that NMSU gave them by providing opportunity to work side by side with faculty researchers. We too appreciate the work that our faculty and researchers do, not only those who bring money to our university, but also those who educate our students.”

Couture mentioned that she is working to measure the contributions of our research activities to our land grant mission and announced that next year the New Mexico State funding formula for higher education will include factors for research universities. She asked for NMSU faculty and researchers. input in specifying factors that would help measure and quantify NMSU’s impact on the state and demonstrate to our legislature the need for continuous investment in research universities.

NMSU’s research expenditures in FY2011 exceeded $157 million. In that period 85.8 percent of NMSU’s external awards was from federal sources, such as Department of Defense, 21 percent; NASA, 16.1percent; Department of Health and Human Services, 14 percent; National Science Foundation, 6.3 percent; Department of Education, 6.2 percent; Department of Agriculture, 5.8 percent; and Department of Energy 5.8 percent. The rest of the awards were funded by the State, 5.6 percent, and other sources 8.6 precent.

Following are the researchers from the College of Engineering who were honored.

  • Eric Butcher, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Jeanine Cook, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Abbas Ghassemi, WERC
  • James King, Civil Engineering
  • Ricardo Jacquez, NM Alliance for Minority Participation
  • David Jauregui, Civil Engineering
  • Nagamany Nirmalakhandan, Civil Engineering
  • Satishkumar Ranade, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Andrew Rosenthal, Southwest Technology Development Institute
  • Rudi Schoenmackers, Engineering Research Center
  • John Wiles, Southwest Technology Development Institute

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