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4/28/11 - Cyber infrastructure critical, NSF official says

Stormy spring skies didn't dampen the enthusiasm of more than 100 student researchers and faculty advisors from around the state who attended the Mississippi Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) annual meeting April 14-15 at Mississippi State University.

In spite of tornado warnings throughout day two of the conference, participants enjoyed a full agenda of presentations, networking opportunities and special speakers at this year's gathering, according to education and outreach coordinator Katie Echols.

"It was wonderful to be able to showcase the work our students and faculty are pursuing thanks to EPSCoR programs and funding. The feedback we have received from the meeting has been very encouraging," she said.

In Mississippi, the initiative funded by a National Science Foundation grant identifies, develops and deploys academic science and technology to increase the state's research and development competitiveness and foster economic growth.

The program provides a platform for advancing scientific capabilities in the state, and also seeks to identify and enhance capacity needs and give stakeholders the ability to address those needs. For example, a new, high-speed Internet research ring is one of EPSCoR's goals as it helps the state take advantage of major project funding opportunities.

"Without the new networking backbone and a robust cyber infrastructure, Mississippi institutions would be crippled in their ability to compete effectively for many NSF programs. They are critical," said National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR Program Director Jennifer M. Schopf, who was on campus to provide an update of the program from a Washington perspective.

EPSCoR programs utilize the resources of MSU, as well as the universities of Mississippi and Southern Mississippi and Jackson State University, under the auspices of the Mississippi Research Consortium. (For more, see http://www.mississippiresearch.org.)

For additional information about EPSCoR, visit http://www.msepscor.org or contact Echols at kechols@research.msstate.edu or 662-325-8904.

JIM LAIRD | University Relations and the Office of Research and Economic Development

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