College of Engineering enters top research ranks

Contact: Bob Ratliff

Mississippi State's College of Engineering now ranks among the nation's top 50 engineering research schools, based on research spending.

Figures released recently by the American Society for Engineering Education show the university's engineering research expenditures for 1997-98 totaled more than $21 million, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. MSU now is 49th on the ASEE list, just behind Michigan State and the University of Arizona.

Among Southeastern Conference schools, Mississippi State's level of engineering research is second only to the University of Florida.

"Most of the $21.2 million spent on research went into our state's economy, making engineering research at MSU a big business for Mississippi," said engineering dean A. Wayne Bennett. "An additional benefit of the growing research program is the involvement of undergraduate and graduate students, which is an enhancement to their education.

"This is a major accomplishment for the college," he added. "I am proud of our faculty and staff for their efforts."

ASEE is a 106-year-old organization of some 12,000 members, including college deans, faculty members, students, and industry representatives.

Much of MSU's engineering research is conducted at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, which accounted for $7 million of the 1997-98 total, and the Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory, with $6 million. The balance of research in the college is carried out in the academic departments.

Current engineering research projects range from prototype aircraft systems development to work with artificial wetlands that can be used to treat waste.

Bennett said engineering research spending for the most recent fiscal year totaled almost $27 million, an increase of more than 25 percent.

"Mississippi State likely will move up the ASEE list for 1998-99," he said.

The increased activity in the College of Engineering is part of the university-wide emphasis by President Malcolm Portera and research Vice President Robert Altenkirch on strengthening support for research.

Among his goals for Mississippi State, Portera has set a ranking among the top 50 public research universities as determined by the National Science Foundation. The university currently ranks 66th on the NSF list.

"I am confident we will continue to see gains in this area," Bennett said.

Fri, 09/24/1999 - 05:00