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Regents approve board of directors, funding for Physical Science Institute

The New Mexico State University Board of Regents on Jan. 24 approved a board of directors and start-up funding for the university's new Physical Science Institute, a non-profit corporation created under the New Mexico Research Park Act.


PSI, located at NMSU's Physical Science Laboratory, will foster research and development of new technologies with promising commercial applications. Gary Cunningham, NMSU's vice president for research, said PSI is expected to facilitate the creation of new businesses and jobs for New Mexico based on technologies developed by NMSU researchers.

The Board of Regents approved the transfer of $250,000 to a PSI account for the institute's initial operating expenses. Cunningham said the money will be transferred from Physical Science Laboratory overhead funds. Ultimately the PSI is expected to produce revenue for the university through licensing of patented technologies and possibly partial ownership of spinoff enterprises.

Regent James Manatt of Roswell described the institute as "a departure from business as usual" and "an extremely important step" for the university. Although the venture involves some risk, Manatt said, it is "a creative new direction that hopefully will become a model" for enhancing research and economic development.

Regent Vice President Larry Sheffield of Las Cruces, noting that the Physical Science Laboratory historically has been heavily involved in defense-related research and development contracts, said the institute "allows us to get more into non- defense areas and use our knowledge and expertise to be more entrepreneurial."

The initial board of directors consists of Cunningham, Physical Science Laboratory Director Donald Birx, Stephen Hottman and Kathy Hansen of the PSL, and two members of the Board of Regents, Manatt and Sheffield.

Karl Hill
Jan. 24, 2001