The Impact of USU Research


In this ninth edition of Research Matters we feature USU researchers who are making a difference in very real ways. They are affecting people’s daily lives by improving food quality, family relationships and personal spending and saving habits. On a global scale, USU researchers are working to preserve natural landscapes, discover alternative energy sources and engineer new, environmentally friendly materials.

These researchers are solving real-world problems, and, at the same time, they are elevating the quality of education for our students. Even—and especially—in this economic climate, research is a powerful investment, providing better teachers, labs, equipment and libraries for Utah State.

Even more, USU research positions the state for a strong economic recovery. Through initiatives such as the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative, investments are being made in strategic research clusters that will yield new technologies and grow high-tech companies and jobs in the state.

The past decade, under the leadership of Vice President for Research Brent Miller, has brought unprecedented growth of USU’s research programs. Last year alone brought the largest increase in research funding ever—both dollars- and percentage-wise. New programs are also in place to bring USU discoveries to the marketplace and into the hands of the people who need them.

We are pleased to share with you these fascinating stories that show how much USU research matters.


Stan L. Albrecht

The Story of USU Research


One of the advantages about being the VP for research is getting a closer look at the numerous great ideas, discoveries and inventions being created by USU faculty and students. Many of these amazing stories are known only on campus to a small group of those close to the researchers and scholars. On the other hand, researchers’ findings and results have a national audience among their professional peers through publications, presentations, and exhibits. We launched Research Matters in 2003 to tell these wonderful stories more broadly. I am very proud that this publication now helps to better communicate the story of USU research and creative activity to others in the University, and to the general public in the community, the state and the nation.

The main stories in Research Matters focus on a faculty member (or a research team) nominated for inclusion by their college dean. We have broadened Research Matters to include a story about a USU research center—this year the High Performance Computing Center—and a listing of faculty books published, and awards received, in the past year. There is an uncommon feature this year about a group of young faculty researchers from several different colleges, all of whom are included because they were selected by the National Science Foundation to receive prestigious awards to support their early CAREER plans that combine teaching and research. In addition, stories are included here about outstanding graduate student and undergraduate student researchers.

Looking back after 11 years as vice president for research, I find it enormously fulfilling to have been closely associated with the outstanding research being done at Utah State University. In the next few months USU will be closing in on $200 million in sponsored awards won by university researchers and their colleagues for this fiscal year. Besides addressing the many interesting and important issues highlighted here in Research Matters, this large amount of funded research provides literally thousands of jobs for faculty, students and research-related professionals. So I thank them, and I thank my Research Office colleagues, for doing such great work to facilitate and celebrate their success.


Brent C. Miller, PhD
Vice President for Research