Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp announced Wednesday that the Chancellor's Research Initiative will expand to reach all system schools.
The program through the next three years will make available $10 million in one-time funds for system schools to use at their discretion to pursue researchers and faculty members "who will have a transformational impact upon the academic and research missions of the schools," according to a system press release.
Funds can be used for recruitment, facilities upgrades and new equipment, but not for ongoing salaries or entirely new buildings. The $10 million was made available through conservative spending practices. A message from university officials sent by Texas A&M spokesperson Terry McDevitt read: "Because we've been holding spending down, we have some reserves from system resources that are not restricted that will be dedicated to expanding the Chancellor's Research Initiative to our regional universities."
The CRI will now reach Tarleton State University, Texas A&M International University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, West Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texas A&M University-Central Texas and Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
Originally established by Sharp in 2012, the CRI helped successfully recruit skilled professors to Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M over a three-year period with access to $100 million in funds from the Available University Fund.
System Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Jon Mogford said the $10 million in funds made available over the next three years will give schools the freedom they need to accomplish their individual goals that will help enhance research environments.
"It's really up to the campuses in terms of field of study and commitment to recruitment," he said. "Maybe they want to bolster a strength area or maybe they're looking two to five years ahead hoping to target a new research area and want to hire a professor in that area. What we expect is the recruitment of proven individuals."
The ideal CRI "all-star" researcher prospect will have a proven track record of being able to attract research funding from public, private and government bodies, according to Mogford.
Mogford said Prairie View's addition of NASA radiation researcher Dr. Francis Cucinotta and Texas A&M's addition of cancer researcher Dr. Rod Dashwood to the Health Science Center are two of many professors successfully recruited to bolster research faculty in areas of agriculture, veterinary health, material sciences, laser systems, tissue regeneration and marine sciences.
The success of the first three years at the two schools was reason enough for Sharp to call for another three years, according to Mogford.
"It's driven in large part due to the success of the original CRI." Mogford said. "The two campuses were able to recruit phenomenal faculty in large part using the CRI funds."
He added an expansion of the CRI will help accomplish the system's dedication to the land grant mission.
"These are disciplines that are connected in some manner the land and sea grant missions of the campuses," Mogford said. "They're all contributing in areas that have connectivity and improving society in health or engineering systems."
Mogford said there will be no required number of professors each school must recruit, as the system wants to put an emphasis on quality over quantity.
"Both the flagship and Prairie View A&M have recruited some really stellar research faculty," Mogford said. "I certainly expect other campuses that are part of the system will do that as well."