For Immediate Release
April 8, 2009
Contacts: Beth Cavanaugh, 301-405-4625 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UM, Smithsonian Enter Into Agreement to Formally Pursue Research Collaborations
College Park, Md. -- The University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution have formally entered into an agreement to pursue broad research collaborations. This agreement allows, as well as encourages, both institutions, its scholars, scientists and researchers to work together to increase contributions to science and knowledge, share their knowledge with the public, and engage in the development and education of future generations. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was formally signed today by UM President C. D. Mote, Jr., and Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough at a ceremony on the College Park campus.
"The University of Maryland is very excited about formalizing its relationship with the Smithsonian Institution, which has a rich and venerable tradition of education," said Mote. "Our faculty and students have benefited greatly from collaborations with Smithsonian curators, scholars and other experts for many years. The University is proud to have such an esteemed partner who shares our passion for knowledge and discovery."
The memorandum was developed to enable the two institutions, which have worked together in smaller, informal capacities for decades, to establish additional cooperative relationships with greater ease and flexibility.
An accompanying memorandum between the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the Graduate Program in Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics (BEES) at the University of Maryland was also signed to establish the Consortium for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology. This multi-faceted collaboration will result in increased multi-disciplinary research projects and training and development opportunities for UM students, Smithsonian scientists, and UM researchers. Through this consortium, UM students can link to the vast resources of the Museum, both in its collections and scientific knowledge.
"The BEES program is an outstanding, nationally recognized, graduate program that offers faculty and students the opportunity to carry out research in behavior, ecology, evolution, and systematics with colleagues, both locally and around the world," says UM College of Chemical and Life Sciences Dean Norma Allewell. "From this new agreement, I think you'll see the emergence of a world-class center for the study of biodiversity and evolution -- one with unsurpassed intellectual diversity and opportunity for students."
Several years ago, UM faculty partnered with Smithsonian colleagues in a National Science Foundation grant on the biology of small populations. That collaboration helped lay the foundation for creation of BEES in 2000. While the BEES program is administered from the College of Life Sciences, it is multidisciplinary with more than 50 distinguished graduate faculty from ten departments in five colleges at the University of Maryland, as well as more than 10 adjunct faculty from several nearby research institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute.
"I chose the University of Maryland for my doctoral research because of the strong interdisciplinary collaboration between departments and colleges and its connections to centers and institutions, such as the Smithsonian and USDA," said Akito Kawahara, Ph.D. candidate, UM department of entomology. "From my experience, I am convinced that providing students with vast resources and collaborative research opportunities are fundamental to a student's success."
The university entered into a similar partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal agency with the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2003. Together, they developed a new cooperative program, the UM-NIST Center for Nanomanufacturing and Metrology, to further development of measurement technologies and other new tools that support the creation of new nanotechnologies. As part of the program, NIST made a $1.5 million competitively awarded grant to the university in 2006.
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