UTA scientists to meet with Sandia officials

By Patrick Mcgee
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Posted on Thu, Sep. 25, 2003

ARLINGTON - University of Texas at Arlington scientists plan to meet with their counterparts at Sandia National Laboratories on Friday for technical discussions that are expected to nudge the two institutions closer toward collaboration on research projects.

UT-Arlington officials are hoping that a relationship with the billion-dollar government research complex in Albuquerque, N.M., will boost the university's research work.

"We've still got to find common ground, and we're talking about science here," interim UT-Arlington President Charles Sorber said. "It's got to be related to their mission. … We do think we do have common interests or we wouldn't be pursuing it, nor would they."

Hefty research expenditures are often seen in academia as a measure of a university's prowess, and local leaders nationwide are increasingly supporting university research for the grants and potential economic development it brings their areas.

Sorber and Keith McDowell, vice president of research, said they will leave the high-tech conversations to the scientists and will not attend the meeting.

McDowell said he is working on a memorandum of understanding that he hopes the two institutions can sign to jump-start research collaborations. McDowell said he is modeling the memorandum after one the University of Texas at Austin has with Sandia.

Tinsley Oden, UT-Austin's associate vice president for research, said his institution's memorandum of understanding with Sandia has already been fruitful even though it's not even a year old.

He said that dozens of students who finished their graduate work at UT-Austin got jobs at the lab, and that the university has boosted its research expenditures by several hundred thousand dollars by making joint grant applications with Sandia.

"Our experience so far has been very encouraging and rewarding, and we intend to expand the interaction with Sandia," Oden said.