LC Bulletin: Research vital to university

April 9, 2010. Retrieved online: April 9, 2010, from Gabriel Vasquez, Las Cruces Bulletin

On March 9, New Mexico State University paid tribute to faculty and staff whose research projects generated funding of $1 million or more during the 2008-09 fiscal year.

In total, 46 researchers in six academic colleges were honored as well as the College of Extended Learning and Student Success, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, Physical Science Laboratory and Doña Ana Community College.

To newcomers and outsiders, NMSU may not seem like a strong research focused institution. Other than a massive greenhouse on the outskirts of Las Cruces and a small satellite farm visible from Interstate 25, NMSU’s research efforts are not visible to the naked eye.

Professors, scientists, students and industry partners are scattered throughout various campus buildings and extension campuses across New Mexico – each of them diligently working to improve existing technology, science and theory.

Researchers brought in $154 million in contracts and grants during the past fiscal year, some 76 percent of which was brought in by the researchers honored last week at the Stan Fulton Center, according to NMSU.

The fact is, NMSU is classified as a high-research doctoral university by the Carnegie Foundation. Our university is doing a great job of living up to those standards. It ranks in the top 100 of institutions in the country that receive federal research expenditures.

Research projects aid in economic development of the state, strengthen graduate degree programs and attract high-intellectual talent to our corner of the world, said Vimal Chaitanaya, vice president for Research, Graduate Studies and International Programs.

NMSU serves as the headquarters for the Space Grant Consortium, New Mexico Water Resources Institute and WERC, a statewide consortium for environmental education and technology research. It’s the top U.S. Department of Defense contractor among Hispanic serving institutions. NMSU research clusters include biosciences, information sciences, natural resources, the Southwest border and 21st Century Aerospace.

More recently, NMSU has established itself as one of the national leaders in biofuel research thanks to becoming a part of a $44 million consortium to research feedstock and biofuel.

Research isn’t just limited to New Mexico. Mick O’Neill, superintendent of NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center in Farmington, has recently returned from a six-month trip to Rwanda where he assisted an African community in developing an irrigation master plan.

Read the article.

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