Dr. Thomas J. McCoy, Vice President for Research, Creativity & Technology Transfer
"Our expenditures from
sponsored research programs almost eclipsed the
$100 million milestone."
by Dr. Thomas McCoy
The 2005 Research and Creative Activities Report is once again a time to celebrate the achievements of the great faculty and students at Montana State University. Given the size of our institution, everyone should be proud of the fact that our expenditures from sponsored research programs almost eclipsed the $100 million milestone. While this is an impressive testimonial to the quality of our faculty and students, the goal is not to increase expenditures for the sake of an increase. Rather, our goal is to show what increased research funding means for the educational quality at MSU. Research at MSU means:
- We have faculty skilled enough to compete with others across the nation for projects funded by the federal government, many of them directed toward issues of national importance. Those issues include energy development, the production of food and fiber, and the education of the next generation.
- We have non-state funds with which to purchase state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom equipment that ensures our students can compete in the job market. These funds offer our students experience with equipment they would not have access to at a non-research university.
We have students who can work with faculty on projects that make a difference in the lives of the students and the lives of others. These projects provide inquiry-based learning experiences that enable our students to enter the modern-day problem-solving workplace ready to perform.
- We produce discoveries capable of being transferred to existing Montana companies or of starting up new companies. These technologies can form the basis for commercialization and economic development.
- As part of the discovery of knowledge and pursuit of creative activities, our faculty are able to disseminate that knowledge in an environment that recognizes the complete integration of learning and discovery, teaching and research.
While recognizing that dollars expended are not the yardstick of success, it is worth noting that in 2005 the Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology became the first department on campus to surpass the $10-million milestone in sponsored research, having doubled its research volume in just two years. Importantly, the faculty’s focus on infectious diseases, especially emergent zoonotic diseases that can move between livestock, wildlife and humans and the critical impact these disease may have on human health, ensures the scholarly activities of this department will continue to flourish.
I invite you to read through this report for information on climate change as measured in Yellowstone National Park (page 2). Other stories report on students studying at the ends of the Earth (page 20) and on the value of studying modern animals to better understand dinosaurs (page 16).
One writer went to northeastern Montana to report on West Nile virus (page 23). Another explored malt barley development and the prognosis for dryland cultivation of the crop in Montana. Stories on a professor at the forefront of fraud detection and one studying medicine and the humanities are also inside.
Developing wireless technology to address communications needs in Montana is described on page 5. Stories on teaching architecture students the solid side of their art (page 12) and helping Montana manufacturers thrive (page 10) round out this report.
I welcome any comments you may have.