Governor’s University Research Initiative Brings Two Top Scholars to Texas A&M

Texas A&M University has been named the recipient of two grants from Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s Governor’s University Research Initiative, a program aimed at bringing the best and brightest researchers in the world to Texas.

"Texas universities continue to make great strides in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, making the Lone Star State the home of innovation," said Abbott. "Not only do our university faculties spearhead cutting-edge research, but they continue to educate and develop the leaders of the future. I look forward to the opportunities that these world-class researchers will bring to Texas to further solidify our universities as some of the best in the world."

Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew, a physician-scientist and internationally recognized leader in biomedical imaging and bioengineering, will join Texas A&M to lead Engineering Health (EnHealth), the nation’s first comprehensive educational program to fully integrate engineering into all health-related disciplines. Pettigrew is a member of the National Academy of Engineering as well as the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. M. Cynthia Hipwell, also a National Academy of Engineering member, has joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Distinguished Research Professor.

“The Governor’s University Research Initiative is the kind of smart, strategic investment that will keep our great research universities at the forefront of innovation,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Governor Abbott’s investment in higher education will pay off in a more educated workforce, a stronger economy and great universities.”

The program’s goal is to attract transformative researchers who will in turn serve as economic catalysts to the Texas economy for years to come.

“The Governor’s University Research Initiative provides a tremendous investment in human capital and gives us a competitive edge so that we can attract top scholars like Cynthia Hipwell and Roderic Pettigrew to Texas A&M,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. “Scholars of this caliber attract other top faculty, researchers, students and new funding opportunities, which are critical to our success as a public university.”

The two grants are for $3 million each, which is used for recruitment costs, including the purchase of research equipment and construction or renovation of facilities necessary to support the distinguished researchers’ efforts.

The governor’s initiative has already had a substantial impact on Texas A&M. Last year, Dr. Girish Saran Agarwal (biological and agricultural engineering), Dr. Leif Andersson (veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences), Dr. Richard B. Miles (aerospace and mechanical engineering), Dr. Thomas J. Overbye (electrical and computer engineering) and Dr. George M. Pharr IV (materials science and engineering) were recipients of GURI grants totaling $20 million.

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