Abbott’s fund awards $6 million to recruit two A&M researchers


Highlights

Roderic I. Pettigrew will lead Engineering Health; M. Cynthia Hipwell brings technology development chops.

Gov. Greg Abbott had to employ 11th-hour pressure at the Legislature to keep the research initiative alive.

Two prominent researchers have been recruited to Texas A&M University, thanks in part to $6 million awarded by Gov. Greg Abbott’s university research initiative.

Roderic I. Pettigrew will lead A&M’s Engineering Health, or EnHealth, program, which aims to integrate engineering into dentistry, medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine and other health disciplines. He is currently director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering and has a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a medical degree from the University of California, San Diego.

M. Cynthia Hipwell comes to A&M from Bühler Inc., where she has been vice president of engineering. She has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, which has recognized her for technology development.

“Texas universities continue to make great strides in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, making the Lone Star State the home of innovation,” Abbott said. “I look forward to the opportunities that these world-class researchers will bring to Texas to further solidify our universities as some of the best in the world.”

The Governor’s University Research Initiative was established in 2015 by the Legislature with nearly $40 million for a two-year budget at the Republican governor’s behest. It was renewed this year, though not without the 11th-hour insistence of the state’s chief executive. Neither the House nor the Senate had given the initiative any money in initial budget proposals for the 2018 and 2019 budgets.

All told, the governor’s fund has awarded $37 million to 11 researchers.

Grants from the governor’s fund go toward the purchase of research equipment and construction or renovation of facilities to support research. Universities match the state grants dollar for dollar.



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