December 2023


NMSU's Research Enterprise Since the Reorganization


By Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Economic Development

Due to recent administrative and organizational changes officially endorsed by the New Mexico State University Board of Regents in July, the office formerly known as Research, Creativity, and Strategic Initiatives has undergone a transformation and is now recognized as the Office of Research, Creativity, and Economic Development (RCED). As we approach the conclusion of the calendar year, RCED is pleased to share positive updates.

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article published last month, it was reported that the criteria for Carnegie R1 ranking recognition are set to undergo changes in 2025. The revised benchmark for obtaining the prestigious R1 designation will be an annual expenditure of $50 million in research and development, coupled with the conferral of more than 70 doctoral degrees in any research field each year. Notably, NMSU surpasses both criteria, positioning itself to join the ranks of the 168 Carnegie R1 universities anticipated in 2025.

Considering the exhilarating news of possible Carnegie R1 ranking, and Provost Shoho's call to revitalize teams for the final year of LEADS 2025, Goal 2 Team has undergone a transformation and regrouping to undertake two pivotal tasks:

  1. Collaborate on the development of a comprehensive data dashboard that delineates and presents a dynamic snapshot of our envisioned R1 university in 2025. This dashboard will elucidate how we measure up against other R1 universities, providing valuable insights into our progress.
  2. Contribute to the cultivation of expertise across all facets integral to the R1 ecosystem. Recognizing that the Carnegie ranking algorithm may evolve to consider a broader array of variables beyond expenditures and PhD production, Goal 2 Team will work towards building proficiency in these diverse dimensions.

I extend my gratitude to the new members of Goal 2 Team, whose expertise enriches our collective capabilities:

Kramer Winingham: Economic impact
of Carnegie R1 ranking

Adriana Chavez: Messaging impact of
Carnegie R1 ranking

Calixto Melero: Institutional analysis
and Carnegie R1 ranking metrics

Carolina Munoz: HERD Reporting
and Carnegie R1 ranking metrics

Dacia Sedillo: Social Mobility
and Carnegie R1 ranking metrics

Rebecca Palacios: Community Engaged
Research at NMSU

Allison Layfield: Growth in non-science
and engineering at NMSU

Zooey Sophia Sangwanthong: EID in
NMSU’s research enterprise

James McAteer: Faculty and research
staff contributions to Carnegie R1 ranking

Carol Flinchbaugh: Graduate programs'
contributions to Carnegie R1 ranking

Tanner Schaub: Infrastructure needs
of Carnegie R1 ranked university

Jay Lillywhite: ACES contributions
to Carnegie R1 ranking

Michèle Shuster: Arts and Sciences
contributions to Carnegie R1 ranking

Carlo Mora-Monge: College of Business
contributions to Carnegie R1 ranking

Steve Stochaj: Engineering contributions
to Carnegie R1 ranking

Yoshi Iwasaki: HEST contributions
to Carnegie R1 ranking

Finally, annual research expenditure stands out as a pivotal metric in the Carnegie rankings. As part of the LEADS 2025 initiative, Goal 2 strategically aims to boost research expenditures, emphasizing the submission of substantial grants exceeding $3 million, rather than merely increasing the quantity of grants.

From FY2018 to FY2020, the average amount requested per proposal submitted was $377,713. The subsequent three fiscal years witnessed a notable increase to $565,001, which has continued to rise, reaching $740,555 almost halfway into FY2024. This upward trajectory signifies our commitment to pursuing larger grants, reflecting a substantial enhancement in the scale and impact of our faculty, researchers, scholars, and research development staff.

Below, positive updates from Research Administration, Infrastructure and Partnerships, Workforce and Strategic Engagement, Economic Development (Arrowhead Center) and Service Operations.

Have a great Holiday break!














News from Research Administration


By Ms. Alisha Giron, Associate Vice President for Research

NMSU Research Administration has so much to recognize in 2023, however, I will provide a few key highlights among the many transformational accomplishments. First, we successfully launched the final Streamlyne module this year. Dr. JoAnne Dupre, Director, Compliance Administration, and her team have implemented the Export Control module and functionality for processing grants and contracts with export control-related considerations. As an example, we can now electronically develop, route, and monitor technology control plans that are needed for meeting security requirements, and we can keep them organized in one place for all key personnel to access. Second, as mentioned in September, NMSU Research Administration is listed among other top-tier university contributors in the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) resource compendium: Sponsored Research Administration: A Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices. This is something special for our unit that is deserving of an acknowledgement of our commitment to a comprehensive service mission. Third, the research development team in Research Administration Services (RAS), led by Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Proposal Development Specialist, Sr., offered their expertise to more than 50 internal and external grant applications with subsequent awarded funding totaling more than $7M. The team has worked tirelessly on developing research strategies for all areas of NMSU’s expansive research portfolio. All of the above, and more, has culminated in the most robust central research administrator cadre NMSU has ever assembled. We are so proud of our contributions that support and hopefully, propel, our amazing researchers without whom none of these accomplishments would be worthy. Here’s to a prosperous and exciting new year!                   


News from Infrastructure and Partnerships


By Dr. Tanner Schaub, Assistant Vice President for Research

Reflecting on a transformative year, the Infrastructure and Partnerships unit proudly highlights three key milestones:

  1. STEM+ Education Research Institute (SERI): A truly collaborative effort from many dedicated Aggies brought the STEM+ Education Research Institute to life. This new institute is poised to reenvision how our educational systems can elevate the young people of our region, or the communities that we serve, into exciting and profitable careers in fields that define what our world will become. Servingness is the word that defines this effort, and this is a visionary undertaking that NMSU will be proud of.
  2. Research Cores Program service to faculty: The RCP has grown from four to seven cores this year (with another three in the works!). The dedication of our core facility directors and staff has shown in workshops, class demonstrations, and hands-on activities, as well as in the training of student researchers and the collection of high-quality data for publications and grant proposals. The RCP installed powerful new equipment in service to NMSU faculty, including the ultrahigh resolution Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscope in the MICS Lab. RCP was supported by a talented group of administrative professionals from RCED Research Operations, without whom we would not function – thank you to Megan Wilson, Cortney Castle-Chavez, and Diana Sandoval of RCED, and also Sandra Lujan from Aggie Service Center – you all are appreciated!
  3. Major wins were achieved through the Technology Enhancement Fund, where RCED secured $9.8 million in state funding that pairs with more than $24 million in non-state funds. This ~$34 million boon to NMSU research builds significant capacity that translates to student research excellence and social mobility opportunities and lays the foundation for economic development.
As we conclude 2023, heartfelt thanks to the NMSU research community for your dedication and collaborative spirit. Here's to growth, innovation, and impactful partnerships in 2024!








News from Workforce and Strategic Engagement


By Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Director, Workforce and Strategic Engagements

What an amazing semester! Over the past several months, the team in Workforce and Strategic Engagement has focused efforts on building strategic partnerships to advance workforce alignment, expand our engagement in communities across the state, and build partnerships between faculty and staff researchers and statewide constituents to advance economic and workforce development.  As we wrap up the semester and make plans for the new year, we wanted to share a few highlights from this fall semester.

A major highlight of the semester was the awarding of a new $10 million cooperative agreement from EPA to create the South-central Environmental Justice Resource Center (SCEJRC).  As lead for EPA Region 6 on this national Thriving Community Technical Assistance Center (TCTAC) program, NMSU will work with a team of experienced partners across NM, AR, OK, LA, and TX to work with underserved and overburdened communities to foster access to federal funding in areas that support environmental and energy justice (EEJ).  In addition to providing grant writing and management training, SCEJRC will be focused on building community capacity for transformational and sustainable change for removing barriers and improving access to funding and resources in communities with environmental and energy justice concerns.  Unique to SCEJRC will be the creation of two EEJ cohort-based leadership programs for community and business/organization leaders and a program to foster equity in the workplace.  The NMSU EDGE program in Cooperative Extension will be leading the community cohort and SCEJRC partner, Beloved Community from LA, will lead the business/organization leadership cohort.  Direct technical assistance to communities is already underway, with recent successes including four community-led proposals in progress, three community-led proposal submissions, and one major DOE award to a NM-based rural electric cooperative recently announced.

Building on  our goal to expand our network of strategic partnerships, NMSU was honored to host Dr. Buu Nygren, President of the Navajo Nation and his leadership team, for a campus visit.  The visit encompassed a series of meetings with various departments and faculty researchers to explore opportunities for collaboration in meeting ongoing economic and workforce development needs across the Nation.  A major highlight of the visit was an evening dinner and reception for President Nygren by the NMSU American Indian Program, where he was joined by a number of NMSU students representing tribal communities across the country.  Outcomes from this visit are already bearing fruit with three proposal collaborations underway at the nexus of food-energy-water under the leadership of faculty from ACES and Engineering.

Finally, with the growing focus on the need for a technology-enabled workforce by employers and government agencies across the nation, NMSU Workforce and Strategic Engagement, in partnership with the NMSU Global Campus, is taking the lead in creating an innovative Workforce Accelerator to accelerate entry of NMSU STEM graduates into the workplace, post-graduation.  This new accelerator will work directly with state agencies and employer partners to shorten onboarding time into the workforce through innovative and collaborative strategies.  Our preliminary efforts are focused on identifying gaps in the workforce that can be met with innovative micro-credential programming utilizing virtual reality and holographic technologies, expanding employer engagement in career and leadership development programming for undergraduate students, working directly with economic development organizations to bring new employment opportunities to the state and region, and elevating awareness of career opportunities in  New Mexico including efforts to align access to employment opportunities with NM state agencies.  Our approach is novel and robust with our partner employers and government agencies expressing excitement about NMSU taking the lead on this important and relevant statewide priority.





News from the Arrowhead Center


By Ms. Kathy Hansen, Arrowhead Center

EDA University Center Award to Arrowhead Center: Arrowhead was awarded a five-year, $650,000 ($1.3M total) grant from the Economic Development Administration to create the NM University Center for Regional Commercialization and Resilience (UC), which is designed to enhance and foster entrepreneurial cultivation and accelerate technology commercialization. Arrowhead will bolster our college/university student incubator – Studio G – and its existing and future network of sites across NM to realize two goals: 1) Provide comprehensive and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)-cognizant entrepreneurial education and technology commercialization training programming and 2) Facilitate technology commercialization through experiential learning opportunities.

Arrowhead-led NM Energy Independence Consortium (NMEIC): The New Mexico Energy Independence Consortium (NMEIC), convened and led by Arrowhead, is comprised of higher education institutions, government agencies, industry and firms, economic development organizations, labor and workforce organizations, and national laboratories. As a small, rural state, each consortium member understands the need for (and benefits of) sharing a strategic vision. NMEIC has unlocked access to a broader range of funding opportunities in the energy space, attracting investments and resources previously unavailable at a local level.

Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship at Arrowhead: The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation announced a new $2.5 million gift to NMSU’s Arrowhead Center in October of 2023, doubling an earlier $2.5 million contribution by the Hunts to establish the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship at Arrowhead Center in 2017. This gift is a commitment to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative technologies that drive economic prosperity in our region. The Hunt Center will grow the entrepreneurship ecosystem through empowering diverse groups of people to explore and practice entrepreneurship; educating and encouraging students to bring innovative products and services to commercial markets; and increasing access to early-stage investment.





Research from Research Integrity and Compliance: Approved Changes to IRB Processes 2024


By Ms. Michelle Gavin, Research Integrity Coordinator, RIC

The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance would like to remind NMSU researchers about the implementation of several changes to review policy and procedures, particularly for determinations of human subjects research and exempt and expedited research.  These changes, which will take effect in 2024, were approved by the Institutional Review Board on November 17, 2023. Complete description of these changes is available here

Highlights of the proposed changes include:

  • A simpler process for requesting a determination of not human subjects research
  • Review and approval of exempt protocols by the IRB Chair or Vice Chair
  • Streamlined informed consent requirements for exempt protocols
  • A five-year approval period for exempt and expedited protocols with no need for annual continuing review (i.e., protocol renewal/status reporting) during the approval period
    • Currently approved protocols fitting these criteria will receive an extended approval period upon submission and review of their next continuing review (i.e., renewal/status report).  
  • Automatic closure of exempt and expedited protocols at the end of the approval period (unless the investigator requests an extension) without the need to submit a final report
For any questions about these changes, please send email to






RAS Welcomes New Grants and Contracts Administrator


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

We would like to welcome Ms. Megan Lee, Grants and Contract Administrator in the Office of Research Administration Services. As a member of the pre-award group Megan provides support to the two colleges of Health Education and Social Transformation, and Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences.  Before joining NMSU, Megan worked in the area of aerospace and land systems material manufacturing at Kit Pack in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Megan has a B.S. in individualized studies with a minor in Counseling and Educational Psychology. When she’s not working, Megan mostly spends time with her daughters, one of whom is a Level Four gymnast.

Megan can be reached at   


Ms. Megan Lee, NMSU

Recognizing Large Proposal Submitters (November 2023)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

Congratulations to Ms. Jeanne Garland, Drs. Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo, Jesse Waller, and Samuel Belteton for each submitting a large proposal in the month of November.




Ms. Jeanne Garland, NM AMP Director along with NM AMP proposal team submitted a $2.5 million proposal to NSF to extend the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (NM AMP). Since its inception, NM AMP, a partnership of universities and colleges across New Mexico, has increased the quantity and quality of underrepresented students who complete STEM baccalaureate degrees and are prepared to enter the STEM workforce and/or pursue graduate education. The principal investigator on this project is Provost Alan Shoho, and co-principal investigators are Drs. Paola Bandini, Regents Professor of Civil Engineering (NMSU), Stephanie Arnett, Assistant Professor of Sociology (NMSU), and Laura J Crossey, Distinguished professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences (University of New Mexico). For more information about the NM AMP program visit: or send email to




Ms. Jeanne Garland, NMSU

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo submitted a $1 million proposal to the Department of Defense (DoD). This collaborative proposal addresses challenges in incorporating robots for performing warfighting functions, or playing support roles, in the open world environments. The proposed research will provide opportunities for NMSU graduate and undergraduate students to engage in research and improve their communication and scholarly writing skills. In addition, the proposed project will provide opportunities for graduate students to attend a series of workshops that will enhance their skills making them valuable candidates for DoD employment opportunities.

Other investigators on this project are Drs. Steven Sandoval, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Cecilia Contreras-Aguirre, Research Scientist at NMSU’s Research Cores Program. For more information about this proposal please contact Dr. Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo at


Dr. Luis Rodolfo Garcia
Carrillo, NMSU

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor of Practice, Dr. Jesse Waller, submitted a $1 million proposal to the DoD to conduct research on an innovative approach, using machine learning, to ensure reliable metal additive manufactured parts are used in DoD applications. The proposed activities offer great opportunities for students involved in the project to get hands-on experience in advanced manufacturing, materials science, non-destructive evaluation, failure and defect analysis, and laboratory-based testing and analysis. In addition, the project will provide undergraduate summer internships at NMSU to assist graduate assistants and faculty members.

Other NMSU collaborators on this project include Drs. Huiping Cao, Professor of Computer Science, Vimal Chaitanya, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of Manufacturing Systems and Research Programs, Borys Drach, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Tuan Le, Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

For more information please contact Dr. Waller at


Dr. Jesse Waller, NMSU

Dr. Samuel Belteton, Director of Microscopy Imaging within NMSU Cores Program, submitted a $1 million proposal to the NSF Major Instrumentation Program to acquire a Stellaris 8 Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy system. The equipment will enhance NMSU scientists’ research in the areas of cell biology, neuroscience, and biosciences. It will also bolster research and student training in New Mexico and southern borderland region.

Other collaborating PIs on this proposal are Drs. Jessica Houston, Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering; Ryan Ashley, Professor of Animal Science; and Jennifer Curtis, Associate Professor of Biology.

Questions about this proposal should be directed to Dr. Belteton at  




Dr. Samuel Belteton, NMSU

Commercializing Technology


By Chris Corbine, Program Manager, Aggie I-Corps, Arrowhead Center

Commercializing technology is vital for researchers, as it enables the practical application of their innovations, impacting society and solving real-world problems. It offers opportunities for funding, collaboration, and boosts the university's innovation profile.

NMSU's partnership with NSF I-Corps™ Hub: Southwest enhances this journey by leading researchers to access to $50,000 in commercialization funding, expertise, and mentorship, aiding in transforming research into marketable solutions. This collaboration bridges the gap between academic research and market needs, ensuring valuable discoveries make a tangible impact.

Researchers eager to explore the commercial potential of their work are encouraged to contact Chris Corbine and visit the Aggie I-Corps website for support in this transformative journey.

For more information, visit the Aggie I-Corps website here.





Peanut Project: Agricultural Science Center at Clovis, NM


By Ms. Claire Montoya, Communications and Reporting Director, Agricultural Experiment Station Administration

Valencia peanut breeding plots were harvested in five locations in eastern New Mexico and west Texas. Yields are down this year due to extreme heat and drought during the growing season. It was a good year to screen for drought-tolerant breeding populations. Only three lines performed better than our tolerant check. The interesting finding is that the drought-tolerant lines exhibited longer root mass than the check variety. The connection between root system architecture and drought tolerance is well-established in plant biology. The longer root mass in the tolerant lines likely indicates an adaptive response to the stress conditions, allowing the plants to access water resources more effectively. The project seems to be making important strides in developing drought-tolerant Valencia peanut varieties by identifying promising lines with desirable root system characteristics. The insights gained from your research contribute valuable knowledge to plant breeding and stress physiology.

For more information about this project please contact Dr. Naveen Puppala, at




Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services maintains a list of limited submission funding opportunities for NMSU research community.  The list is accessible through a link on the Research website, through the Research Administration tab. NMSU users can also access the list directly on SharePoint.  We encourage NMSU researchers to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to 


Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the RCSI has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot available at  

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

Click on the Sign up link.DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT!
Choose New Mexico State University from the Institution drop down menu.
You will be prompted to log in using your NMSU username and password.
Follow the process for NMSU's 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to





Graduate School

No news this month. 

Questions and comments regarding NMSU’s Research Digest should be directed to Hamid Mansouri Rad, Ph.D. at, (575) 646-6429.