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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New Mexico State University selects Vimal Desai as vice president for research

Vimal Desai, director of the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center at the University of Central Florida since the center was founded in 1998, has accepted the position of vice president for research at New Mexico State University.

Vimal Desai, director of the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center at the University of Central Florida, will become vice president for research at New Mexico State University on July 1. (NMSU photo by Ben La Marca)

Desai assumes the post officially on July 1. He will be responsible for building upon and expanding the university's $120 million research program, cultivating new sources of research funding, and guiding the development of the university's new cross-disciplinary, cluster-based research initiatives.

"Dr. Desai has a very strong record of building multidisciplinary research," said William Flores, NMSU executive vice president and provost. "He has directed a very successful research center similar to the kind we want to develop here. We look forward to working with him to build upon the strong research program at NMSU."

The Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC) at the University of Central Florida in Orlando was established to increase U.S. competitiveness in the global market, enhance economic growth and promote industrial development in central Florida by stimulating in-depth research and education in the interdisciplinary field of advanced materials. Its research areas include energy, microelectronics and laser materials technology.

In addition to being director of AMPAC, Desai is director of UCF's Materials Science and Engineering program and its Materials Characterization Facility.

He has a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a master's degree in bioengineering from Clemson University in South Carolina, and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from M.S. University of Baroda, India. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

"The research potential at NMSU is just great," Desai said. "I also feel that the right steps have been taken already in forming the clusters for research. As with most major universities these days, even though we would like to be good at everything, we can only be excellent in a few areas. We have to look at our strengths and the needs of the nation, and I think New Mexico State has done an excellent job of that."

NMSU's research clusters are focused on addressing state and national needs in five strategic areas: aerospace technologies; biosciences; information sciences and security systems; natural resource sustainability and renewal; and Southwest and border regions health, education, culture and development.

"I would like to help make these clusters very active, very research-productive and inclusive," Desai said. "These initiatives offer unique opportunities to students and researchers. We have done something similar and quite successful here at UCF, so I will bring that experience and some of those models to NMSU and we will see which ones are applicable."

Desai said a major factor in his decision to accept the NMSU position was the people he met during the interview process. "I think we have the right people," he said. "I really enjoyed meeting all of them and I look forward to working with them."

Desai received the University of Central Florida's Research Achievement Award in 2002 and the UCF Leadership Award in 1999. He is a five-time winner of his academic department's Researcher of the Year award.

He was selected from a national pool of candidates screened by a search committee chaired by Garrey Carruthers, dean of the NMSU College of Business and vice provost for economic development.