The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) announce five new programs as signature projects of the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, a collaboration between the state of Maryland’s two most powerful public research institutions.
The strategic partnership leverages the sizable strengths and complementary missions of both campuses to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation.
Each year, the partnership adds to its portfolio of signature projects that enhance the two campuses’ missions to collaboratively address our nation’s most pressing issues and serve as economic engines for the state. A distinguishing feature of these new projects is that they would be unattainable or difficult to achieve by UMB or UMCP acting independent of each other. The projects were selected for their ability to grow beyond the initial MPowering the State funding, and to be sustainable through external funding sources. The new programs include:
The Maryland Blended Reality Center will capitalize on the growth of virtual and augmented reality and develop innovative new uses, combining the advanced computing, visual capture and display resources at UMCP with the clinical data, biomedical and patient care at UMB. The center will be led by Amitabh Varshney, Ph.D., Professor and Director, University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, UMCP; and Sarah Murthi, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine, UMB.
The Opioid Use Disorders project will combine UMB and UMCP’s expertise in preclinical, clinical and policy areas to address the opioid epidemic in the state of Maryland and the nation, with the goal to better understand opioid use disorder, develop treatment strategies and create recommendations for treatment research and education. The project will be led by Asaf Keller, Ph.D., Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology, School of Medicine, UMB; and Eric Wish, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director, Center for Substance Abuse Research, UMCP.
The Health Informatics and Data Science partnership will develop a health informatics specialization within the Bachelor of Science in Information Science degree at UMCP, and will explore other degrees and pathways between existing programs to educate the next generation of health informatics professionals. The partnership will be led by Keith Marzullo, Ph.D., Professor and Dean, College of Information Studies, UMCP; Jane Kirschling, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, UMB; and Mark Reynolds, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.A., Dean, School of Dentistry, UMB.
The Center of Excellence in Cochlear Implants will combine the strengths of both institutions to provide educational training, clinical services and basic and translational biomedical research on cochlear implants, and usher in an era of personalized hearing rehabilitation. The center will be led by Rochelle Newman, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, UMCP; Matthew Goupell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, UMCP; Nicole Nguyen, Au.D., Director of Clinical Audiology, Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, UMCP; Ronna Hertzano, M.D., Associate Professor, Otorhinolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, UMB; and David Eisenman, M.D., Associate Professor, Otorhinolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, UMB.
The Policing Partnership program will create a collaborative, inter-campus effort to address and aim to improve relationships between local police departments and community residents; and expand research, business development and educational opportunities in the field. The program will be led by Gregory Ball, Ph.D., Professor and Dean, College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, UMCP; Bonnie Thornton Dill, Ph.D., Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Humanities, UMCP; Lucy Dalglish, J.D., Professor and Dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, UMCP; Gerald Wilkinson, Ph.D., Professor and Interim Dean, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, UMCP; and Donald Tobin, J.D., Dean and Professor of Law, Francis King Carey School of Law, UMB.
“I’m so grateful to the General Assembly for formalizing UMB’s close partnership with UMCP, for backing us as we come together to advance health, justice, science, and social progress,” said UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD. “We know that our biggest breakthroughs happen at the intersections – the intersection of investigators, disciplines, and institutions – and I look forward to seeing how these extraordinary teams invent new solutions to some of the most intractable challenges we face today.”
“This partnership is changing lives across the state, and these new collaborations will extend that impact,” said UMCP President Wallace D. Loh. “To address large societal problems, we are expanding faculty collaborations across departments and schools at both campuses.”
The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act of 2016 (SB 1052) strengthened and formalized the structured relationship between UMB and UMCP, which began in 2012. The law deepens the alliance and energizes UMB and UMCP to pursue even greater transformative change and impact, far surpassing what each institution could do independent of each other.
The strategic partnership continues to show innovation and impact across the state of Maryland. The S.A.F.E. Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, which opened in 2016, has provided social, basic medical and mental health, and legal services to more than 40 clients who have been victims of sex and labor trafficking. The universities recently broke ground on the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance in the new Cole Field House, which will be at the forefront of research tackling traumatic brain injury and recovery, and advancing the science of sport. In fiscal year 2016, UM Ventures, which combines the entrepreneurial resources and offices at UMB and UMCP to commercialize university inventions and launch successful university startups, tallied more than 300 inventions from faculty, with more than 50 technologies licensed to companies, including 20 new startup companies.
As part of the strategic partnership, UMB and UMCP have also established the Center for Maryland Advanced Ventures (CMAV) and the University of Maryland Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Development (UMCEED), both of which will capitalize on the research and development success of MPowering the State, fortify its innovation infrastructure, and create the next generation of Maryland entrepreneurs.
CMAV, located on the UMB campus, will be led by Executive Director Jim Hughes, UMB’s chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president; and director of UM Ventures-Baltimore. CMAV will promote the commercialization of university discoveries, providing grants to university entrepreneurs whose research has high commercialization potential and supporting startups with staff, facilities, and equipment needed to develop companies. The center will assist university-affiliated startups from across the state with relocating to Baltimore City.
UMCEED, located on the UMCP campus, will be led by Executive Director Mary Ann Rankin, UMCP’s senior vice president and provost. UMCEED will advance education and research in neuroscience, virtual and augmented reality, biomedical devices, data analytics and cybersecurity.