Chancellor’s Research Initiative

Prairie View A&M University Benefits from Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp’s announcement to create $100 million research initiative

August 1, 2012 by TAMUS

John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, announced that he will ask the Board of Regents for the creation of the Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI), which will provide one-time funds to Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University for the recruitment and hiring of faculty members.

“We have some of the best universities in the country, and we want to attract exceptional faculty members who will have a transformative impact upon the academic and research missions of Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M,” said Sharp. “I envision that these talented candidates will also attract additional research dollars for their work and our universities.”

The CRI will provide $33 million each year for FY 2013 and FY 2014, and $34 million for FY 2015. The funding for the initiative will come from the annual Available University Fund (AUF) distribution. Sharp said that the A&M System was particularly interested in candidates who have a proven track record of success in developing and implementing large, multi-investigator, federally funded programs such as NSF Engineering Research Centers, NSF Materials Research Science & Engineering Centers, foundations that support the liberal arts, and other funding mechanisms of similar scope and scale.

In addition, candidates will be evaluated on their ability to augment federal funding with additional support from commercial and/or non-profit sources; alignment of their area of study with current/future national funding priorities and university strategic thrusts; and a track record of their trainees successfully obtaining federal funding.

As we continue to be challenged with doing more with less, it is important for us to find ways to attract world-class researchers without overtaxing our already lean budgets,” Sharp said. “The CRI seeks to find outstanding researchers who can not only produce amazing work, but also bring in some much needed funding to support that work.”

Its charge is to create a network of Faculty Fellows who will advance the intellectual climate and deepen the graduate experience at Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University.

Prairie View A&M University has seized the opportunity proposed by chancellor Sharp and approved by the Board of Regents. After extensive negotiations entered into by President George Wright, Dr. Willie Trotty, Vice President Research & Graduate Studies and other executive management and several prospects with compelling research profiles that demonstrate significant intellectual merit, consistently exceeds the standards for broader impacts and defines innovation.  One of the selection factors for the prospects is commitment and evidence of ability to capitalize on the talent among the diverse cultural and academically talented faculty and to invest in the graduate student experience. The intent of the initiative is to advance scientific contributions to society, thereby ensuring sustained performance to the maximum benefit of the state of Texas and the nation.

After an exhaustive review, an emerging prospect that holds promise is a project in advanced radiation research with a focus on biological effects. The advanced radiation research focus is related to the safety of astronauts and equipment during space travel and habitation through the results of cooperative research among the disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and medicine. Prairie View has partnered with NASA and other agencies on the effects of radiation research and as a result the exploration of biological effects is a utilization of current scholarship and a natural extension of the current laboratory focus. The radiation research team is working with the members of facilities and instrumentation vendors to conceptualize a laboratory with the capabilities to continue to build upon the research profile of excellence it has established. The new facility design is to anticipate the needs of the intergalactic travel involving humans, on the horizon for NASA and other agencies as we look at different ways to capitalize on technology and the capabilities of computer modeling.

Several research teams and ideas are still under review for feasibility and several involve proposed new centers or institutes. The feasibility process determines what investment is needed in facilities and organizational infrastructure, equipment, support personnel, and compliance and safety actions are needed for the successful conduct of research to include the enhancement of existing research structures to achieve first class research.

The areas of research interest are:

  • Nano-materials in the Biomedical Sciences
  • Advanced Telecommunications and Cyber Security
  • Health Indicators for Wellness across the Life Span
  • Advancing Innovations in Smart MicroGrids
  • Ecological Footprint of the Gulf Coast Region of the United States
  • Advanced Electrical Energy Storage (Batteries) Research
  • Computational Biology and Bioengineering Research

About Prairie View A&M University and the A&M System
Prairie View A&M University, a land grant university (LGU) with a congressional designation as a Historical Black College and University (HBCU) is a member of the A&M System. The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.3 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $780 million and help drive the state’s economy.

Contributors to the article are:

Steven B. Moore


Dr. Marcia Shelton