Governor Abbott Announces Two Governor’s University Research Initiative Grant Awards
Governor Greg Abbott today announced the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Tech University as recipients of Governor's University Research Initiative (GURI) grant awards. As a result of these awards, the universities were able to recruit pioneers in research to their campuses. Dr. Schafrik recently joined the University of Texas at Arlington, where he will lead and contribute to research in the field of material sciences and engineering. Dr. Herrera-Estrella will join Texas Tech University to develop and lead the effort in plant genomics and biodiversity through the creation of the new Center for Functional Genomic of Abiotic Stress.
"Texas has long been a leader in the fields of science and engineering, and the additions of Dr. Schafrik to the University of Texas at Arlington and Dr. Herrera-Estrella to Texas Tech University will further advance our state's reputation," said Governor Abbott. "I have no doubt that these universities will benefit enormously from their invaluable experience and further elevate their national research standings. These grants represent our strong commitment to excellence in higher education, to a more educated workforce, and to an even stronger economy."
Dr. Robert Schafrik joined the University of Texas at Arlington on February 19, 2018. Currently, he is a Fellow of ASM International and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). His research will be in leading and contributing to the development of new materials as well as finding everyday applications for their use. Dr. Schrafik's expertise will also be used to support the university's technology commercialization efforts with corporate partners and start-ups to bring new technologies directly to consumers through the development of the Arlington Innovation Center. Additionally, he is slated to receive a principal appointment to the Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering Department, and will also receive a joint appointment to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The University of Texas at Arlington has been awarded a matching GURI grant totaling $2,000,000.
Dr. Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella is director and full professor of the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (LANGEBIO), Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Irapuato, Mexico). He received a Ph.D. in plant molecular biology from the State University of Ghent, Belgium, where he also conducted postgraduate research. Beginning in August 2018, Dr. Herrera-Estrella will hold the tenured position of President’s Distinguished Professor of Plant Genomics and Director of the Center for Functional Genomic of Abiotic Stress. He will be joining TTU during a major growth phase in the university’s research efforts. He will develop opportunities and lead the effort in plant genomics and biodiversity through the creation of the new Center for Functional Genomic of Abiotic Stress. The new Center is expected to establish strong partnerships with various research groups and collaborators across the campus and within the greater Lubbock science and technology community. Texas Tech University has been awarded a matching GURI grant totaling $5,000,000.
The GURI program was one of Governor Abbott’s priorities in the most recent legislative session, aimed at bringing the best and brightest researchers in the world to Texas. Through the GURI program, the Lone Star State will continue to welcome transformative researchers who will in turn serve as economic catalysts to the Texas economy for years to come.