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Taking research partnerships to the next level

Our mission statement at Missouri S&T is to integrate “education, research and application to create and convey knowledge that serves our state and helps solve the world’s great challenges.”

Admittedly, this is a lofty goal, but last weekend I was reminded how much we’re doing just that. I attended the send-off for our newest solar house, called the Nest Home. Joined by students, faculty and staff, I got an inside peek at one of our most impressive solar homes to date.

Next month, the Nest Home, designed and built by our Solar House Design Team, will travel to Irvine, California, to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. This home is a shining example of the work we’re doing to leverage research and experiential learning for the greater good. It’s also an excellent example of the mutually beneficial research partnerships we are building. Ameren, Rolla Municipal Utilities, Azimuth Energy, Milbank, the City Utilities of Springfield and others are partners in our fully occupied solar village and view it as a “living lab” where our researchers can provide observations on how such an off-the-grid smart network of homes performs in a real-world setting.

In this month’s newsletter, I will focus on our research investors, a key group we’re fostering as guided by our strategic plan, Rising to the Challenge. Our research partners are crucial allies as we endeavor to fulfill our vital mission as a university.

Forming new collaborations

On Tuesday, we celebrated the formalization of just such a partnership with the signing of a master collaboration agreement with Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies. Honeywell has been a longtime recruiter of our students and supporter of research on campus. In fact, many officials who attended this week’s ceremony are also Missouri S&T graduates.

This new agreement will allow us to work more closely on research and the development of new technology to meet national security needs. As part of our agreement, Honeywell and its customer, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, are providing a Renishaw AM250 additive manufacturing printing system to facilitate the use of new technology by Missouri S&T students. The research conducted with this equipment will be used to further study and identify material standards in the emerging field of additive manufacturing. This ties into our signature research and education area of Advanced Manufacturing.

In addition to the new agreement with Honeywell, in the past year we have signed a master research agreement with Boeing and a memorandum of understanding with Phelps County Regional Medical Center. These partnerships will enable Missouri S&T to continue to grow our research programs while providing opportunities for faculty, staff and students to take on some of the biggest challenges facing our state, nation and world.

Research programs continue to flourish

One of the things that sets Missouri S&T apart from other universities is the unique research opportunities we provide our students. Whether studying the sleep patterns of fruit flies or conducting experiments in wetlands, our students can engage in research under the direction of our faculty experts — even at the undergraduate level.

Our latest research numbers from the past fiscal year are out, and they show we continue to make progress in our goal to expand our research programs. The number of U.S. patents filed by our researchers, for example, has increased 40 percent since we launched our strategic plan three years ago. In addition, royalty income has nearly doubled, and National Science Foundation grant expenditures per tenured or tenure-track faculty for FY15 was $19,184 — a 30 percent increase over our baseline.

You can read more about our research programs, including our four signature areas, in our recently released annual report on research.

Eash joins Missouri S&T

To provide a one-stop resource for our corporate partners, this summer we opened the office of corporate relations. And in August, John Eash began as executive director of this office. John, a longtime Boeing leader and Missouri S&T graduate, will work closely with sponsored programs, advancement, distance learning, career opportunities and other campus units to ensure that our corporate partners are able to connect with the services and individuals they need.

Did you know?

USA Today and College Factual have named our bachelor's in engineering programs the third-best in the nation, one notch below Georgia Tech and three spots above MIT. This is very good company to be in! As noted by USA Today, “Engineering is one of the highest paid degrees you can get — and it’s a popular choice for students who are interested in building and developing products, as well as for those who have a knack for math and science.” My thoughts exactly!


To keep up with all our latest news, including our developing research partnerships, make sure you attend my annual State of the University address at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 23, in Leach Theatre. There you’ll learn about our progress on our ambitious faculty hiring initiative, our strategic funding initiatives and what’s on the horizon for our great university. For those of you who can't attend in person, you’ll be able to watch the address beginning Thursday, Sept. 24, online right here.

Warmest regards,

Cheryl B. Schrader, Ph.D.
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