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Can Unmanned Aircraft Stop Poachers in Their Tracks?

April 9, 2013
Contacts: 

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

"Entrepreneurial Approaches to Protecting Highly Endangered Wildlife: Saving Rhinos with Math, Drones and Satellites," is free and open to the public, April 11 from 3 to 4 p.m. at 1410 Physics Lecture Hall on the College Park Campus. COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A daring experiment to use drone aircraft and intelligence tools against rhinoceros poachers in South Africa will be previewed in a free public talk April 11 at the University of Maryland. This wildlife conservation experiment is one of many peaceful uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being explored by governments, universities and the commercial sector. And it occurs as the FAA is beginning development of a comprehensive plan for integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace.

Tom Snitch, Ph.D., an intelligence consultant and remote sensing expert based in Bethesda, Md., is executive officer of the United Nations' Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring Systems, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) and chairman of the Board of Visitors of UMD's College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (CMNS). Snitch has organized a May 25 field test of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones, for anti-poaching surveillance on a game reserve near South Africa's Kruger National Park, the center of a deadly epidemic of rhino killings.

It will be the first time unmanned aircraft are combined with satellite imagery and sophisticated mathematical modeling to catch rhino poachers in the act.  The goal is to quickly mobilize game wardens to stop the poachers, who are illegally killing one black rhino every 11 hours for their horns, prized in traditional Asian medicine. Poachers have fought a series of bloody battles with government troops and private game wardens.

UMD Mathematicians, physicists, and artificial intelligence experts are sharing ideas with the anti-poaching team. Some of the techniques to be tested were developed by UMD. Computer Science Professor V.S. Subrahmanian used a similar algorithm to find Iraqi insurgents' caches of bomb-making materials.

UMD faculty members are working on a range of other peacetime uses for unmanned aircraft, from rescuing lost hikers to controlling the spread of crop diseases. UMD aerospace engineers also are developing new types of UAVs; and the university is leading a state of Maryland effort to win a test site designation from the FAA for the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace.

"Entrepreneurial Approaches to Protecting Highly Endangered Wildlife: Saving Rhinos with Math, Drones and Satellites," is free and open to the public, April 11 from 3 to 4 p.m. at 1410 Physics Lecture Hall on the College Park Campus.  Snitch's talk is part of a "30 Days of EnTERPreneurship," a month-long series of campus events highlighting entrepreneurship.

Three UMD Students Earn Goldwater Scholarships

April 9, 2013
Contacts: 

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Three University of Maryland students have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics.

Noah Roth MandellStephen RandallFang CaoUMD sophomores Fang Cao (left) and Stephen Randall (center), and junior Noah Roth Mandell (right) were among the 271 scholars selected from 1,107 students nominated this year.

Cao, a double major in neuroscience and computer science, is a member of the first cohort of the Integrated Life Sciences program in the Honors College. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Randall is a double major in physics and mathematics and plans to pursue a doctorate in theoretical physics. Mandell, a physics majors, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.

"Maryland's winners already show distinguished achievement in academics and research. They join the ranks of 41 Goldwater winners from UMD since the program's creation – and a total of 14 winners in the last five years," said Robert L. Infantino, associate dean, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, and UMD's Goldwater faculty advisor. "These Goldwater alums have gone on to pursue doctorates at prestigious institutions such as CalTech, Cambridge, Oxford, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, and Penn."

The Goldwater Scholarship program was created in 1986 to indentify students of outstanding ability and promise in science, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage their pursuit of advanced study and research careers. Colleges and universities can submit up to four nominations annually for these awards.

The University of Maryland has had a total of 44 Goldwater winners since the program's inception 27 years ago. UMD's prior Goldwater scholars and nominees have continued their impressive academic pursuits, including:

  • Three were 2013 National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship winners
  • A 2013 Gates Cambridge Scholar
  • A Churchill Scholar at Cambridge University, now at UC Berkley to pursue a Ph.D. in engineering
  • A Clarendon Scholar pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Oxford University
  • And several pursuing medical and doctorate degrees at prestigious U.S. institutions

Goldwater scholars receive one- or two-year scholarships that cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board. These scholarships are a stepping-stone to future support for their research careers. Goldwater scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowships and distinguished honors.

UMD Mentors PG Students to Robotics Championship Shot

April 5, 2013
Contacts: 

Ted Knight 301-405-3596

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A group of University of Maryland undergraduates in the A. James Clark School of Engineering have helped mentor a local student robotics team to a top three finish in the recent Washington, D.C., Regional FIRST Robotics Competition and a chance to compete in the championship competition in St. Louis.

Six of the ten UMD undergraduates who mentored Team Illusion join the students as the celebrate their accomplishments at the FIRST Robotics Competition: Kanay Patel (mechanical engineering), Nitay Ravin (sophomore, electrical engineering), Eli Barnett (junior, physics), Ori Perl (sophomore, mechanical engineering), Yalun "Allen" Wu (junior, electrical engineering) and Mark Hoppel (freshman, mechanical engineering).

The UMD students are part of the Mentors Advancing STEM Education (MASE) group. MASE was formed in October 2012 by a group of Clark School undergraduate students to support and mentor K-12 students in engineering-related activities, including robotics. MASE now includes 26 UMD students, and is advised by Betsy Mendelsohn, director of the Science, Technology and Society program within UMD's College Park Scholars academic residential community program.

"College students benefit from mentoring children and teens in robotics," says Mendelsohn. "They get to integrate and implement many of the skills we require in different courses, like planning, public speaking, group facilitation and being resourceful. They also feel good, since the children's appreciation validates their own skills and engagement in engineering."

Team Illusion 4464, comprised of middle and high school students from Prince George's County, Md., was one of only three teams out of 58 participating in the D.C. regional competition selected to advance to the FIRST Championship Competition. Team Illusion also earned the Rookie All Star Award in recognition of the team's success in its first year competing.

"We guide the students to practical ideas and help them turn the images in their minds into an actual robot they can compete with," says Kanay Patel of MASE, a mechanical engineering student who participated in a FIRST Robotics team when he attended Cherokee High School in Marlton, N.J., before he came to UMD. "Seeing the glow in each student's eyes when everything comes together at the end of the build season is the most satisfying part. They see the masterpiece they all have worked so hard to put together finally do what it was designed to do. The sense of pride the students have for their robot and the unity the team has by the end of the build season is incredible."

UMD's Maryland Robotics Center, directed by Associate Professor Nuno Martins (Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research), has also played a key role connecting Team Illusion and other local FIRST Robotics clubs and teams with UMD students and resources.

A highlight of this support was opening their weekly seminar on March 8 to a presentation by three FIRST Robotics Competition teams from Maryland, led by FIRST Director for Maryland Bill Duncan. Martins also has arranged for FIRST members to participate in an all-day workshop about robotics at the American Control Conference in Washington, D.C., this June. UMD may also be eligible to host the Maryland Regional FIRST Competition, beginning in 2014 at the Comcast Center.

Mourning the Loss of UMD Alumna Jane Henson

April 3, 2013
Contacts: 

Missy McTamney 301-405-8102

From the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies:

Jane HensonCOLLEGE PARK, Md - The University of Maryland is saddened by the news that alumna and world-celebrated puppeteer Jane Henson, class of 1955, died Tuesday at her home in Connecticut at the age of 78 following a battle with cancer. Ms. Henson was the widow of puppeteer Jim Henson, class of 1960.

Born Jane Ann Nebel, she and Jim Henson met as freshmen at a UMD puppetry class during the mid-1950s. They began working together on the live 1950s television show Sam and Friends, where Jane collaborated with Jim in performing the Muppets and devising several of the show's technical innovations, including the use of television monitors to watch their performances in real time. 

In 1996, Jane established The Jim Henson Fund for Puppetry to foster interest in and encourage student work in the art of puppetry and in 2002 she established The Henson Endowment for Performing Arts, which supports Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center programs related to puppetry.

In January 2005, The Jane Henson Foundation and The Jim Henson Legacy generously donated videos and funding to UMD to support the creation of what is now known as The Jim Henson Works. This collection includes over 70 digital videos spanning 35 years of Jim and Jane Henson's groundbreaking work in television and film. These full-length videos can be viewed at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, McKeldin Library and Hornbake Library.

UMD CIO Named First Presidential Fellow by EDUCAUSE

April 2, 2013
Contacts: 

Brian D. VossCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland and EDUCAUSE announce the appointment of Brian D. Voss, UMD's vice president and chief information officer (CIO), as the first EDUCAUSE Presidential Fellow, effective April 2013. EDUCAUSE is an association of higher education information technology professionals.

Voss will remain as Maryland's VP and CIO. He will devote a portion of his time to working directly for EDUCAUSE President and CEO Diana Oblinger and with her executive team, leading the planning for a new association initiative focused on cost reduction in administrative use of information technology (administrative IT). "Administrative IT consumes a significant share of institutional spending at colleges and universities," explained Oblinger. "As a community, we must find ways of focusing resources to bring the greatest value to the mission of our institutions. Increasingly, that means streamlining investments in administrative functions, both for cost savings overall and for enabling investments in teaching, learning, and research and innovation. As a creative leader with broad experience across the entire IT enterprise, Brian will bring unparalleled experience and insight to this initiative."

Voss is the first EDUCAUSE Presidential Fellow, a position that will improve the association's ability to track and address the strategic issues that sitting CIOs consider most pressing. In addition to leading the administrative IT initiative, Voss will advise the association on other topics relevant to CIOs, including aspects of the CIO "career pipeline" challenge faced by aspiring and sitting CIOs and their institutions. He will also work with other constituencies, partners, and associations to address priority issues facing higher education. "My work at EDUCAUSE will directly complement our efforts at Maryland to assess and focus our IT investments both efficiently and strategically," said Voss. "I look forward to working with EDUCAUSE to influence community directions in a broad set of ways."

Voss has nearly 30 years of experience in IT, much of it in leadership positions at public flagship research universities. At the University of Maryland's flagship institution in College Park, he is responsible for IT strategy, infrastructure, and services. Voss is well known nationally as a result of his many publications and presentations and his community service. His contributions span a broad range of areas, such as research computing, cyberinfrastructure, telecommunications, disaster recovery and continuity planning, as well as IT security. He also focuses on IT leadership, the economic development impact of IT, and most recently, the implications of MOOCs and the impact of IT on blended and online learning environments.

"Brian's appointment as a Presidential Fellow at EDUCAUSE is an honor for the university as much as it is for Brian personally," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. "I am delighted and proud to see his talent and leadership recognized and put to use in the broader community."

Can Obama Broker Arab-Israeli Peace?

April 1, 2013
Contacts: 

Neil Tickner, 301-405-4622
Laura Ours, 301-405-5722

Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development program

WHAT:

Former U.S. officials and a leading PBS journalist will discuss timely topics on U.S. involvement in Arab-Israeli diplomacy with the University of Maryland's Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, with opening remarks by Dr. Jehan Sadat, former first lady of Egypt. One of UMD's premier international events, the 2013 Sadat Forum is convening in coordination with the release of The Peace Puzzle: America's Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace: 1989–2011, with co-authors Daniel Kurtzer and Shibley Telhami available for discussion. This event coincides with Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Israel; the panelists will discuss his new role and the significance of his visit to the region. Approximately 250 attendees will include guests from think tanks and the diplomatic community, as well as members of the university community.

The Forum is sponsored by the University of Maryland's Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Sadat Chair Shibley Telhami will moderate the event.

A public reception and book signing will follow the event.

WHEN:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 4 p.m.

WHERE:

Dance Theatre, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland, College Park 20742
Directions and parking information: http://claricesmithcenter.umd.edu/parking-directions

RSVP:

The event is free and open to the public. Audience members are requested to RSVP online at http://ter.ps/sadatfrm2013. Members of the media are encouraged to RSVP to Laura Ours at lours@umd.edu.

WHO:

  • Daniel Kurtzer: S. Daniel Abraham Professor in Middle Eastern Policy Studies, Princeton University; Former United States Ambassador to Israel and to Egypt
  • Dr. Jehan Sadat: former first lady of Egypt and Associate Resident Scholar, University of Maryland
  • Shibley Telhami: Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings
  • Margaret Warner: Senior Correspondent, PBS NewsHour
  • Tamara Cofman Wittes: Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State


About the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development and the Sadat Forum

The goals of the Anwar Sadat Chair, and of the professor who occupies it, are to further the dialogue for peace in the Middle East and throughout the world; to bridge the gap that often occurs between the academic and policy worlds, bringing the policy community of Washington, D.C. in closer touch with the latest research findings; and to maintain an active and rigorous research agenda. Professor Shibley Telhami was invested on October 7, 1997 as the first Sadat Professor.

Through the Sadat Forum, the community of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Dr. Jehan Sadat continue to honor the peacemaking legacy of Dr. Sadat's late husband, Anwar Sadat, the third president of Egypt. The Sadat Forum was organized a decade ago and supplements the Sadat Lecture for Peace, which has hosted renowned speakers including Nelson Mandela, President Carter, Kofi Anan, Henry Kissinger, and Madeline Albright. On May 7, 2013, the Sadat Lecture will be delivered at 10 a.m. in UMD's Comcast Center by His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet (see www.umd.edu/lecture for more information).

Astronomers Take a Closer Look at Comet ISON

March 29, 2013
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Astronomers from the University of Maryland, along with Lowell Observatory, have had the rare opportunity to observe comet ISON in close detail, which may become one of the most dazzling in decades when it rounds the sun later this year.

Using images acquired over the last two months from NASA's Swift satellite's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT), the team has been able to make initial estimates of the comet's water and dust production and used them to infer the size of its icy nucleus.

"Comet ISON has the potential to be among the brightest comets of the last 50 years, which gives us a rare opportunity to observe its changes in great detail and over an extended period," says lead investigator Dennis Bodewits, an astronomer at UMD.

The Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope aboard NASA's Swift imaged comet ISON (center) on Jan. 30, when it was located about 3.3 degrees from the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini. At the time of this 5.5-minute optical exposure, ISON was about 5,000 times fainter than the limit of human vision.In late February, a team of comet experts initiated the Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC) to assist ground- and space-based facilities in obtaining the most scientifically useful data.

Like all comets, ISON is a clump of frozen gases mixed with dust. Often described as "dirty snowballs," comets emit gas and dust whenever they venture near enough to the sun that the icy material transforms from a solid to gas, a process called sublimation. Jets powered by sublimating ice also release dust, which reflects sunlight and brightens the comet. Typically, a comet's water content remains frozen until it comes within about three times Earth's distance to the sun.

In January, UVOT observations found that ISON was shedding a significant amount of dust, but a much smaller amount of water. "The mismatch we detect between the amount of dust and water produced tells us that ISON's water sublimation is not yet powering its jets because the comet is still too far from the sun," Bodewits says. "Other more volatile materials, such as carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide ice, evaporate at greater distances and are now fueling ISON's activity."

Similar levels of activity were observed in February, and the team plans to do additional UVOT observations.

While the water and dust production rates are relatively uncertain because of the comet's faintness, they can be used to estimate the size of ISON's icy body, which they've found is a typical size for a comet.

An important question is whether ISON will continue to brighten at the same pace once water evaporation becomes the dominant source for its jets.

"It looks promising, but that's all we can say for sure now," said Matthew Knight, an astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., and a member of the Swift and CIOC teams. "Past comets have failed to live up to expectations once they reached the inner solar system, and only observations over the next few months will improve our knowledge of how ISON will perform."

Based on ISON's orbit, astronomers think the comet is making its first-ever trip through the inner solar system. The first of several intriguing observing opportunities occurs on Oct. 1, when the inbound comet passes about 6.7 million miles from Mars. Fifty-eight days later, on Nov. 28, ISON will make a sweltering passage around the sun. Around this time, the comet may become bright enough to glimpse just by holding up a hand to block the sun's glare. Following ISON's solar encounter, the comet will depart the sun and move toward Earth, appearing in evening twilight through December.
From now through October, comet ISON tracks through the constellations Gemini, Cancer and Leo as it falls toward the sun.
Whether we'll look back on ISON as a "comet of the century" or as an overhyped cosmic dud remains to be seen, but astronomers are planning to learn the most they can about this unusual visitor no matter what happens. 

Watch this animation showing the comet's approach and departure from the inner solar system from various perspective:

30 Days of EnTERPreneurship Returns

March 28, 2013
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

Cupid's Cup LogoCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announced today the second annual '30 Days of EnTERPreneurship.' The month-long celebration of our creative spirit kicks off with Cupid's Cup, now a nationwide student competition hosted by Under Armour founder and Terp alumni Kevin Plank. The event is free and open to the public at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5 in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. 

Do Good ChallengeLectures, special events and competitions, including the Do Good Challenge on Wednesday, April 10, sponsored by actress Fran Drescher, founder of the Cancer Schmancer Movement, will fill the calendar for the '30 Days.' It will all culminate with Maryland Day, our community showcase of our great university with over 400 events.

Dean ChangUMD also launched a new web portal for innovation and entrepreneurship at the university.  Innovation.umd.edu will serve as a central site for the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, academic programs, university resources, events and competitions, and innovation news.  The site contains a complete list of all of the events that are a part of our '30 Days' celebration. 

"The University of Maryland has a rich array of over 60 innovative and entrepreneurial programs, from all corners of campus," says Dean Chang, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. "The Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was specifically created this semester to help grow those programs and launch new ones in this critical area. The '30 Days' celebration and new web portal are terrific showcases of the entrepreneurial culture here on campus."

UMD Students to Compete to 'Do Good' at UMD April 10

March 28, 2013
Contacts: 

Jennifer Lynn Talhelm 301-405-4390

Actress Fran Drescher, Olympian Carl Lewis and Morgan Stanley’s Melanie Schnoll Begun to be Do Good Challenge Celebrity Judges

Do Good ChallengeCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland is proud to announce that philanthropists – acclaimed television star Fran Drescher and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis – will headline an “American Idol”-style celebrity panel of judges for the final round of the Do Good Challenge on the College Park campus, April 10.  They will be joined by Melanie Schnoll Begun, managing director and head of philanthropy management at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, the lead sponsor of the Challenge.

The second-annual competition is run by the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the UMD School of Public Policy.  It’s a unique part of a new effort in higher education to encourage students to make a difference locally or around the globe. 

Student contestants had between Feb. 4 and March 24 to “do good” for a cause or charity by advocating, raising money, volunteering, or developing a creative new solution to a social problem.  The student teams are now in the process of being pared down to five finalists.  On April 10, those teams will pitch their work to the celebrity judge panel and a live audience, which will vote for the winner via text message.  This year’s winners will receive $5,000 for their cause, and all the finalists will receive cash prizes. 

Fran DrescherDrescher, an award-winning actress (TV’s “The Nanny” and “Happily Divorced”), cancer survivor and leading public health advocate, officially kicked off the competition with a video recorded from New York City.

The Do Good Challenge is “a terrific opportunity for you to take your passion and turn it into something that’s personal to you and can make a difference….,” she says in the video.  “It’s really exciting that I got to take what I’m passionate about and become a do-gooder … I hope you do too!”

Says Professor Robert T. Grimm, Jr., Director of the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership: “The Do Good Challenge has rapidly become one of the important – and really fun – ways we’re creating a new culture of philanthropy on campus.  The competition is part of making philanthropy a pillar of the Maryland experience.  No other university includes Maryland's extensive and innovative hands-on philanthropic experiences.”

Grimm says that while the celebrity judges add excitement and intensity to the contest, they’re also important role models for the students.    

“Our judges demonstrate that philanthropy can be both fun and serious business.  All three of them are a driving force for innovative and high-impact efforts that literally change lives,” Grimm says.  

After surviving uterine cancer, Drescher decided “to turn my pain into purpose and ensure no woman dies because of a late stage cancer diagnosis.”  In 2007, she started the Cancer Schmancer Movement to promote cancer prevention and awareness.  She was instrumental in getting the United States’ first Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act passed into law, and was appointed to the distinguished position of Special Envoy for Women’s Health Issues by the U.S. State Department.

Carl LewisLewis, a track-and-field star who has competed in four Olympic games and won nine gold medals, was voted “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee and named Sports Illustrated “Olympian of the Century.”  In his retirement from active competition, Lewis has used his profile and become active in philanthropic work, founding “The Carl Lewis Foundation,” which serves as an umbrella for the many charities that Lewis supports including the “Best Buddies” organization, The Wendy Marx Foundation (for organ donor awareness), and many youth fitness groups. 

Melanie Schnoll BegunAt Morgan Stanley, Schnoll Begun serves as a philanthropic counselor to families, foundations, family offices and nonprofits wishing to give back to their communities.  She is also a nonprofit leader herself, serving as board president of the New York City chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and on the advisory boards of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and Grameen America, a non-profit microfinance organization whose mission is to help entrepreneurial individuals, especially women, build credit and defeat poverty.

“Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management is proud to be the lead sponsor of the Do Good Challenge.  The mission of the competition – to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of young people and develop future citizens and leaders committed to improving our world – is one Morgan Stanley believes will help drive meaningful change and innovative ideas,” Schnoll Begun says.  “Personally, I’m thrilled to join the panel of judges and be a part of this fun and novel event.  I can’t wait to see how Terps do good!”

Last year with actor Kevin Bacon as the lead celebrity for the Challenge, student teams tackled issues from hunger to breast cancer awareness.  Last year’s winning team, Food Recovery Network, which collects and delivers unsold food from campus cafeterias and sporting events to area shelters, has since become a nonprofit, cumulatively recovered over 130,000 pounds of food for shelters, and expanded to 17 other college campuses across the country.

Grimm concludes, “The Do Good Challenge isn’t just about winning a prize – it’s about arousing a passion for doing good.  The potential is enormous – just look at what Food Recovery Network has been able to accomplish in the last year.  I expect great things from this year’s teams!”

Along with Morgan Stanley’s lead sponsorship, other key sponsors and partners of the Challenge include the UMD Colonnade Society and the Center for Social Value Creation at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.  

UMB and UMCP Celebrate First Year of Collaborative Success

March 28, 2013
Contacts: 

Lee Tune, UMCP, 301-405-4679
Alex Likowski, UMB, 410-706-3801

Innovation strengthens Maryland's economy, creates jobs and opportunities for students

University of Maryland: MPowering the State

Adelphi, Md. — University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay Perman and University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) President Wallace Loh celebrate the first year of the University of Maryland: MPowering the State collaboration.  One year ago, the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland (USM), with guidance from the Maryland General Assembly, charted this bold new course, using the resources of the two universities to better serve students, attract more exceptional faculty and researchers, and boost research, technology transfer and commercialization.

"Maryland has tremendous competitive advantages in research and education," says USM Chancellor William Kirwan.  "In just one year, MPowering the State is already producing significant results, creating new business partnerships and jobs."

A core mission of MPowering the State is better commercializing the more than one billion dollars in grant-based research conducted by the two universities.  "We launched UM Ventures because it positions us to strengthen our technology transfer efforts and commercialization statewide," says UMCP President Wallace Loh.  "A fully coordinated innovation ecosystem and unified technology transfer improves our ability to work with industry and bring innovative products to the market."

MPowering the State is also providing new educational opportunities for Maryland students, including the creation of a collaborative school of public health, which will build upon the strengths of the existing School of Public Health in College Park and the epidemiology and public health program in the School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Students have greatly improved opportunities to take advantage of the complementary strengths of both campuses," says UMB President Jay Perman.   "And they'll be better equipped to take their place in the high quality, increasingly complex health care system of Maryland's future."

Other accomplishments of MPowering the State's first year include:

  • Creating a new center for health-related informatics and bioimaging, combining the advanced computing resources of UMCP with the clinical data and biomedical expertise of UMB;
  • Creating the Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI), leveraging the health sciences work of UMB and the engineering expertise of UMCP;
  • Implementing a seed grant program, resulting in more than $6 million in joint research awards;
  • Combining the research efforts at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research—a joint UMB-UMCP institute—and those at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Montgomery County with new educational programs in health, law, human services and the sciences; and
  • Working together with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on the Institute for a Healthiest Maryland (IHM) to improve wellness in areas such as obesity and tobacco prevention.

The University of Maryland: MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership.  Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will focus the collective expertise on critical state-wide issues of public health, biomedical informatics, and bioengineering. This collaboration will drive an even greater impact on the state, its economy, the job market, and the next generation of innovators.  The joint initiatives will have a profound effect on productivity, the economy, and the very fabric of higher education.

Pages

January 11
Funding will provide scholarships for students in UMD’s Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students program Read
January 12
The National Academy of Inventors recognizes  “academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of... Read
January 10
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January 9
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