MSU hires new research chief

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Their View

Montana State University has successfully completed a nationwide search for a new vice president for research and found a top-notch candidate. Next month it will be time for Jason Carter to take the reins of MSU research — a task critical to the university, Bozeman and the state.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this post. Arguably it is the second most important position at MSU behind the president. Not only will Carter oversee research, he will also be in charge of economic development and graduate education — both vital components to the MSU research mission.

MSU research is a $130-million-a-year enterprise — the largest of its kind in the state and a major player in the regional economy. Those research dollars filter through local businesses as researchers buy needed materials and spend salaries on housing, transportation and other necessities.

Even more importantly, the program has spun off hundreds of private-sector, high-tech businesses that are the real potential for long-term economic growth in Montana. MSU grad students have converted ideas spawned from MSU research into businesses that market new and highly beneficial products. Many of these businesses are small. But some are generating goodpaying jobs. And MSU research is also producing a skilled labor force that helps attract out-of-state tech businesses.

In January, MSU regained its status as an institution of very high research activity as designated by the Carnegie Institute, one of just 130 schools to achieve such status out of more than 4,000 higher ed institutions nationwide. It’s vital MSU maintain that status in the interest of recruiting the very best faculty and students.

Carter will have the tools to do that. He brings with him a rich background in research and science from the Michigan Technological University where he was an associate vice president. He has a long career of research in kinesiology and exercise science. He will replace Renee Reijo Pera, who left the post to become vice president of research and economic development at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California. And he will become the latest in a line of research VPs who have chalked up big successes at MSU.

Carter is wished the best of luck in his new position. He is urged to use his talents to take MSU research to a new level.

— Bozeman Daily Chronicle



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