Michigan State Named Partner in Socially Impactful Research

Published online: Nov 01, 2018 Articles
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Source: Michigan State University

What do potatoes, galaxy clusters and kestrels have in common?

Each is studied by a Michigan State University researcher who made advancements in these areas of expertise. But oftentimes, the general public does not know about their research outcomes—nor why should it care.

Addressing this challenge, MSU was named a foundational partner in the Advancing Research and its Impact on Society Center, or ARIS, made possible by a $5.2 million National Science Foundation grant.

“Researchers want to make a difference in the world,” says Laurie Van Egeren, MSU’s interim associate provost for university outreach and engagement and ARIS Center co-PI. “The ARIS Center was created so that that scientists have the tools and knowledge to make their research as meaningful for the public as it is for academic colleagues. MSU partners with communities to target critical issues and drive change for our state and beyond.”

The ARIS Center, housed at the University of Missouri, will build capacity, advance scholarship, grow partnerships and provide resources to scientists and engagement practitioners so that they can actively demonstrate the impact of research in their communities and society.

The center will benefit researchers responsible for propelling discovery, practitioners who collaborate with researchers and community stakeholders, and to the public who benefit from research, education and workforce advancements. The ARIS Center will emphasize support for serving traditionally underserved populations while providing inclusive public engagement to ensure a diverse science workforce.

“Ventures such as ARIS provide excellent opportunities for MSU academics to connect with resources that can help them identify impactful ways to share their exciting discoveries with the public,” says ARIS board member Beronda Montgomery, assistant provost of faculty and academic staff development and MSU foundation professor in the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. “The consortium of partners across the U.S. also will provide a significant network to facilitate and expand local efforts at MSU.”

ARIS Center’s board of advisors includes members from global higher education, as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities, the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education, the Council on Undergraduate Research, NASA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others.

In addition to MSU, national partners and institutions for the ARIS Center include Brown UniversityDuke UniversityIowa State University, Madison Area Technical CollegeNortheastern UniversityNorthwestern UniversityOregon State University, Rutgers University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

So to answer “why the public should care” about potato, galaxy cluster and kestrel research: