Delta Regional Authority, ASU To Build Research Group

Apr 7, 2015

The representatives of 35 universities and other private and public institutions in eight states will join with the Delta Regional Authority Thursday to form a consortium for research and innovation that will have a long-term positive economic impact on the region, leaders say.

DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill and Dr. Andrew Sustich, vice provost for research and graduate studies at Arkansas State University, issued a joint invitation Tuesday to assemble the Delta Research Consortium to university research officers and local economic development leadership in the DRA’s footprint in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The institutions will participate in the Delta Research Consortium Leadership Summit at A-State’s Dean B. Ellis Library, Thursday and Friday, April 9-10, with key stakeholders in industry and philanthropy.

DRA, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and Arkansas State are sponsors.

“In order to craft effective policies and solutions to address the Delta region’s greatest challenges, we must collaborate across sectors to produce the research, data, and resources to support economic and community growth,” Masingill said. ”This consortium will achieve this need by bringing academia, economic development practitioners, policy makers, and local industry together to identify and fulfill the needs of our region’s economy and people. This leadership summit is the first step in building a regional source for data that drives good decision making for our communities.”

Masingill will present the keynote address on the opportunities the consortium will create during the leadership summit’s first session on Thursday, April 9.

The other institutions supporting Arkansas State in organizing the summit are Delta State University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee at Martin.

“The Delta has a strong resource of public and private institutions that have the capacity to provide research and innovation to address the social and economic opportunities and challenges we face,” Sustich added. “We look forward to bringing these partners together to engage in meaningful collaborations that will positively impact our region and our nation.”

William David Burns, executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, will lead a plenary session for all summit participants during the Friday sessions, which also will include strategy and visioning workshops.

Tennessee State Senator Mark Norris of Collierville will address the group during a dinner Thursday evening. Norris, the Tennessee state senate majority leader, has been recognized as one of the top 40 state legislative leaders in the country.

Hope Credit Union and Ritter Communications are sponsoring luncheons for the attendees.

Further information about the research consortium is available by contacting Rebekah Craig at the Arkansas State office of Research and Technology Transfer at rcraig@AState.edu, (870) 972-2694 or at this link.