STARKVILLE, Miss.--A veteran Mississippi State faculty member and research scientist is being named vice president for research and economic development at the land-grant institution.
David R. Shaw, who holds the university's highest honorary distinction as a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, assumes his new duties Jan. 1, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. He succeeds Kirk Schulz, who now is president of Kansas State University.
"Dr. Shaw emerged from a strong pool of outstanding candidates from around the country as the person best suited to help MSU continue its rise in prominence among the nation's research universities," said President Dr. Mark Keenum. "He has an outstanding record as a teacher, researcher and administrator."
For the most recent year reported, Mississippi State ranks 34th among all engineering colleges nationally in research and development expenditures and fifth in agricultural sciences research. The university's entire research program stands at 58th among all public institutions of higher learning, with research expenditures totaling $206.2 million.
A university goal is to expand research that has a direct benefit to Mississippi.
Beginning his career at MSU in 1985 as assistant professor of weed science, Shaw has played a key role in the creation and leadership of several cross-disciplinary research centers that focus on the applications of remote sensing technology to resource management.
In 1998, he chaired an effort that led to the successful funding of the Remote Sensing Technologies Center with a NASA challenge grant which was, at the time, the largest in the university's history. He led that center until 2002, successfully developing a geospatial technologies certificate program at MSU and incorporating an Extension Geographic Information Systems Unit into the program.
In 2002, Shaw led efforts to merge the RSTC with three other centers that became the GeoResources Institute, focusing on use of state-of-the-art spatial technologies in the management of agricultural, forestry and water resources in particular. Now called the Geosystems Research Institute, it integrates a high-performance computing infrastructure into its activities.
The GRI has provided invaluable emergency-response support to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency during crises such as Hurricane Katrina, in addition to working with federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Transportation Department.
Most recently, Shaw successfully spearheaded a 2006 effort to form the NOAA-funded Northern Gulf Institute, an MSU-led collaboration with Louisiana State and Florida State universities, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory in Alabama. Chaired by Shaw, NGI focuses its research efforts on ecosystem management, coastal hazards and mitigation, and climate assessment and modeling.
Shaw is a fellow of the Weed Science Society and, in 2008, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Cameron University in Oklahoma and a master's and doctorate from Oklahoma State University, both in weed science.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.