April 2023



RCSI News and NM Technology Enhancement Fund


By Drs. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Strategic Initiatives (RCSI) and Tanner Schaub, Assistant Vice President for Research

As of March 2023, the Office of Research, Creativity and Strategic Initiatives (RCSI) executive team is comprised of myself, honored to continue serving as vice president for RCSI, Ms. Alisha Giron, associate vice president, research administration, and Dr. Tanner Schaub, assistant vice president for research. Ms. Giron will oversee research development, pre-award administration, non-financial post-award administration, and research integrity and compliance. Dr. Schaub will continue to lead the Research Cores Program and will now manage faculty startup and postdoctoral funding initiatives. Both Ms. Giron and Dr. Schaub will serve as RCSI liaisons between RCSI and the university community.

Game changing news! This summer and fall, NMSU will begin installing $8 million worth of laboratory equipment resources for the NMSU research enterprise within three projects funded by non-State matching funds paired with funds from the State of New Mexico’s Technology Enhancement Fund (TEF).

Over the past few months, RCSI has worked with associate deans for research and departments to collect and facilitate development of significant institutional cost-sharing proposals and equipment procurement initiatives that could be eligible for funding through the TEF.

In this inaugural application of the program, NMSU vied with other New Mexico institutions for a share of the first TEF tranche, or $16 million available in funding. The RCSI office garnered over $10 million in NMSU TEF requests (supported by more than $25 million in non-state grant and contract funds), which were evaluated by the Council of Associate Deans for Research (CADRe). A prioritized list was submitted to the state TEF review committee in February.

New Mexico Higher Education Department funds three NMSU projects:

  • Molecular Structure Determination Core: In collaboration with the NM INBRE program, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will establish a core facility for biomedical research, benefiting eight institutions and two tribal communities. The facility will house diverse equipment, including an X-ray diffraction system, a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer, and a real-time PCR system.
  • Shimadzu SPARQ: The Shimadzu Corporation, along with NM INBRE, ACES Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and RCSI Research Cores Program, will install a modern chemical analysis laboratory suite in Skeen Hall. This facility will offer access to advanced, shared-use chemical analysis equipment to enable interdisciplinary collaboration in fields such as environmental engineering and water remediation, biomedical discovery, agriculture and plant science, materials science, and food safety.
  • Wild and Lab Animal Vivariums: NMSU will construct a new Biomedical Research Facility, comprising a lab animal vivarium, wild animal vivarium, insectary, and aviary. Funded by state GO bonds and a $7.1 million NIH grant, the facility will enhance biomedical research and training. Technology Enhancement Funds will support equipment purchases for safe operation, animal care, sample analysis, and surgery suites.

Looking ahead to FY24, and subject to the Governor's approval, a remarkable $55 million is projected to be accessible through the TEF, representing a substantial increase. We expect a robust interest from our Aggie researchers in securing these funds and encourage faculty with ambitious research proposals requiring a match to initiate discussions with us at the earliest opportunity. For any inquiries, please feel free to contact me or assistant vice president for research, Dr. Tanner Schaub, at tschaub@nmsu.edu or (575) 646-5156.








On Research Security and Fundamental Research


By Ms. Alisha Giron, Associate Vice President for Research and Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for RCSI

Vice President for RCSI Cifuentes was back in his old Montgomery County, MD digs attending the March 31st Protecting Research in the University Environment: Research Security Roundtable hosted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the University of Maryland Campus. For context, National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) was issued in January 2021, directing government agencies and departments to improve research security. Guidance for Implementing NSPM-33 was issued a year later, which has trickled down to universities that are now required to institute basic safeguards for its research activities. This is vital to NMSU as much of our research does not fall under the fundamental research exception; NMSU Department of Defense awards exceeded $42 million in the past five years. The challenge our research community faces is how to meet NSPM-33 requirements without eroding the definition of fundamental research, without limiting open exchange of ideas our faculty and research scientists enjoy and benefit from, and without creating a campus culture of fear and mistrust.

RSCI will bring this issue to the campus community requesting that it be included in upcoming agendas for Council of Academic Deans for Research (CADRe), University Research Council (URC) and Faculty Senate Standing Committee on Research and Creative Activity (FS RCA).





Recognizing Large Award (March 2023)


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

Congratulations to Dr. Liang Sun for garnering an award exceeding one million dollars in March.

Dr. Liang Sun, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering received a $6 million competitive award from NASA to address NASA’s challenges in advanced air mobility, including urban air mobility and regional air mobility. The all-encompassing goal of this project is to develop a mobility-energy-coordinated platform for efficient infrastructure planning.

This effort is the result of the collaboration between NMSU principal investigators Drs. Liang Sun, Fengyu Wang (assistant professor in Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering), and Son Tran (Head of the Department of Computer Science) and peer collaborators at George Washington University; the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation; Argonne National Laboratory; and Whisper Aero.

For more information, please contact Dr. Sun at lsun@nmsu.edu.




Dr. Liang Sun, NMSU

Recognizing Large Proposal Submitters (March 2023)


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

Congratulations to Drs. Enrico Pontelli, Sam Fernald, and Ramesh Chinnasamy for each leading proposals exceeding $1 million in the month of March, 2023.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Computer Science Dr. Enrico Pontelli led a $4.5 million proposal titled Diversity Alliance for sTudent Advancement (DATA) S-STEM New Mexico (DATA S-STEM) program to the National Science Foundation (NSF). This multi-institutional proposal involves collaboration with four other Hispanic-Serving Institutions of Higher Education: Dona Ana Community College; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; San Juan College; and Eastern New Mexico University, Ruidoso Branch Community College. The proposed DATA S-STEM program will provide scholarships to undergraduate students from two-year and four-year Computer Science and computing-related programs, who are academically talented and have demonstrated financial need. The goal of this program is to guide the DATA scholars along pathways leading from 2-year programs, to 4-year degrees in computing, to successful careers and/or graduate studies in computing. Eligible students will be recruited from a predominantly Hispanic student population.

For more information, please contact Dean Pontelli at epontell@nmsu.edu, or Professor Huiping Cao at hcao@nmsu.edu, co-principal investigator on this project and a faculty at NMSU’s Department of Computer Science.






Dean Enrico Pontelli, NMSU

Dr. Ramesh Chinnasamy, college assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, led a $2.5 million to the NSF S-STEM program. This collaborative proposal aims to increase the enrollment of academically talented students from low-income families and recruit then through freshmen classes from DACC and high schools in southern New Mexico and west Texas. The proposal plans to provide scholarships to recruited students and provide academic and non-academic support to ensure their success. The team members who collaborated with Dr. Chinnasamy to develop this proposal were Drs. Muhammed Dawood (professor of electrical engineering), Bo Hyun Lee (assistant professor of psychology), and Deanna Dunlavy (college associate professor of chemistry).

For more information please contact Dr. Chinnasamy at ramesh@nmsu.edu.


Dr. Ramesh Chinnasamy, NMSU

Drs. Sam Fernald, professor of Watershed Management and director of New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) and Connie Maxwell, post-doctoral researcher at NM WRRI led a $1.1 million proposal to the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation to implement watershed restoration and adapt land and water management to restore natural functions that will increase resilience in critical locations in the Hatch and Mesilla Valley Watershed of the Southern New Mexico Rio Grande basin.

This effort is in collaboration with Dona Ana and Caballo Soil and Water Conservation Districts. NMSU collaborators include Dr. Santiago Utsumi, associate professor of Animal and Range Sciences, Dr. Huidae Cho, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering.

For more information about this proposal please contact Dr. Fernald at afernald@nmsu.edu.




Dr. Sam Fernald, NMSU

Faculty Highlight: A Book on Civil rights and the Corruption of the Beer Industry in America


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

April 7 was the National Beer Day marking the day the Cullen–Harrison Act of 1933 ended prohibition and made the sale of beer in the country legal. The US now boasts thousands of breweries both large/corporate and small and independent. There are 100 breweries in New Mexico alone producing 152,531 barrels a year. While this trade has been steadily booming, independent breweries have always faced numerous struggles to survive and while everyone’s challenges seem similar (location, equipment, staffing, marketing, operations, sales, etc.), African American entrepreneurs in this business faced additional hardships in particular in pre-civil rights era. The struggles of one such entrepreneur is depicted by Dr. Clint Lanier, assistant professor of English in his book Ted Mack and America’s First Black-Owned Brewery published this month.

Having fought in the Korean War and defied the odds by playing football at Ohio State and earning a college degree, Alabama native Theodore A. (Ted) Mack, Sr., believed owning a microbrewery wouldn’t be more difficult than fighting in a war or organizing buses to the March on Washington or picketing segregated schools in Milwaukee. But he was in for a surprise.

“This is the story of Mack’s purchase of Peoples Brewing Company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin,” states Dr. Lanier. “Though he had carefully planned for the historic acquisition, he underestimated the subtle bigotry of middle America, the corruption of the beer industry, and the failures of the Federal Government that plagued his ownership.”

I was curious to know what prompted Clint to write this story, so I asked him about it.

“The story was out there in blog form or short articles before I discovered it, but they always presented Ted Mack as the unfortunate victim of racism, but as I started looking into the story even more, I found it was much deeper than that. Mr. Mack was a civil rights pioneer and had a completely different sense of how equality should happen. He was an exceptional man who achieved more by the time he was 40 than most do their entire lives. I wanted to tell his full story so that readers could get a full sense of what he accomplished and so that he might get the recognition he deserved.”

As Dr. Lanier explains it Mack’s ownership of Peoples Brewing is an inspirational story of Black entrepreneurship, innovation, and pride at a time when America was at an important racial justice crossroads. This book, which is at the intersection of Civil Rights, the corruption of beer industry in the US, and beer as a cultural marker, took six years to write and publish.

For more information contact Dr. Lanier at clanier@nmsu.edu.






Dr. Clint Lanier, NMSU

Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub


By Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Director, Strategic Initiatives

Following a year of building collaborations and partnerships, the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub (WISHH) has completed its submission as an applicant for a $1.25 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance the hydrogen economy in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. NMSU, as a university partner, was actively engaged in the development of one of the eight proposed demonstration projects, and was also instrumental in guiding development of the Community Engagement Plan and the subsequent Innovation in America Workforce (IAW) plan.  Building on networked relationships with higher education institutions, industry partners, and labor unions across the four-state region, NMSU was instrumental in advancing a framework for stakeholder engagement that connects higher education and labor union training programs with anticipated and emerging workforce needs.  If WISHH is awarded funding by DOE, NMSU is well positioned to lead development and implementation of the proposed IAW plan. A major focus of the WISHH IAW plan is to ensure local communities and citizens are able to benefit from economic and workforce opportunities anticipated within the four states.


Permian Energy Development Laboratory


By Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Director, Strategic Initiatives

NMSU has joined a new energy consortium in partnership with New Mexico and Texas universities and national laboratories for the creation of the Permian Energy Development Laboratory (PEDL).  PEDL was created through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) among seven New Mexico and Texas universities, two national laboratories and a center for advanced energy research at UT Energy Week 2023 in Austin, TX. The MOU reflects a shared goal of conducting advanced energy research and deployment, educating the next generation of energy professionals, and supporting energy-intensive communities and the natural resources they depend on. PEDL will build on strengths across the universities and national laboratories to assist industries in diversification to solve the challenges surrounding operations in the Permian, such as water conservation and recycling produced water. PEDL will also work on re-educating the work force to build renewables, including solar panels and other non-oil and gas power-generating technologies. Building on technical strengths across the partner institutions, PEDL will support energy-based economic resiliency and an increase in environmental sustainability, with a specific focus on (1) advanced energy, fuels and integration, (2) carbon and materials management, (3) water, land and agriculture, and (4) economic and workforce development.  In addition to NMSU, participating institutions include NM Tech, UT Austin, the Houston Advanced Research Center, Midland College, the University of Texas El Paso, the University of Texas Permian Basin, Sandia National Laboratories, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.





NEH Summer Stipend Information Session: April 20, 2023


By Dr. Allison Layfield, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services and the College of Arts and Sciences will host a one-hour information session about the 2024 NEH Summer Stipend Program on Thursday, April 20 from 3-4pm (MT). NEH Summer Stipends provide funding for individual humanities scholars to work full-time on their research for 2 months during the summer. Tenure-track, non-tenure track, independent scholars and non-teaching staff members are all eligible to apply.

To apply, scholars must:

  • Propose work on a specific research project
  • Be engaged in research in any area of the humanities or humanistic social sciences
  • Work full-time on their research for two consecutive months (no teaching) 
  • Work on no other NEH grants or fellowships during the period of performance

This in-person information session will provide an overview of NEH, details about the Summer Stipend program and deadlines, proposal-writing resources, and information about available NMSU matching funds. Attendees will also hear from NMSU faculty who have previously received NEH fellowships.

To register, please email layfield@nmsu.edu. If you are unable to attend in person, please reach out for accommodation. 







Research Administration Welcomes New Addition


By Ms. Cortney Chavez, Research Operations Support Officer, RCSI 

The administrative support team in the office of RCSI would like to welcome our newest member, Megan Wilson. Megan joined on April 3, 2023 as an Administrative Assistant, Sr. She brings extensive administrative experience and has already hit the ground running serving both Research Administration and the Research Cores Program. We very much look forward to her contributions and expertise. Megan is new to NMSU and new to the area, so please join us in warmly welcoming her and her family.

Megan can be reached at megwil@nmsu.edu, (575) 646-1590, and via Microsoft Teams. Welcome, Megan!




Ms. Megan Wilson, NMSU

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 ras@nmsu.edu. 


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 https://pivot.proquest.com/session/login.  

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 hamid@nmsu.edu



Graduate School

No significant news. For information about NMSU Graduate School visit: https://gradschool.nmsu.edu/.


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