UT System and Mexico technology council to expand STEM research programs

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

After nearly a year of negotiations, the UT System and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) reached an agreement to expand research programs at the UT-San Antonio campus.

System Chancellor William McRaven and CONACYT Director Enrique Cabrero signed the agreement Aug. 25 to expand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research as well as academic programs for faculty and students.

According to the UT System, some of the STEM programs to be developed under this agreement include applied math and modeling, medicine and health, biochemistry and agricultural sciences.

Randy Charbeneau, assistant vice chancellor for research for the UT System, said previous projects the two sides collaborated on include space and technology communications, along with migration and social issues in the border region.

UT System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said there are no costs associated with the agreement at this time.

Charbeneau said initial discussions occurred between both sides during a visit to CONACYT’s headquarters in Mexico City in Sept. 2014. The agreement is effective for a five-year period and can be extended for the same time period by written agreement.

UTSA President Ricardo Romo said this international agreement is an important collaboration, and he is glad to see UT and Mexico working together.

“I applaud the leadership of the two organizations represented by Dr. Cabrero and Chancellor McRaven,” Romo said. “This vision is about nurturing that relationship through economic integration, [which will] foster innovation with technologies and building infrastructure.”

Cabrero said CONACYT only collaborates with one other university system, the University of California System. Cabrero said the advances in education the project will facilitate make its
expansion crucial.

“[The] Mexican government has given priority to science and technology as never before,” Cabrero said. “As empirical evidence shows, there is a close relationship between research and development expenditure. [The] council argument behind this correlation is that science and technology contribute to generate better economic process and better social conditions.”    

McRaven said with signing this memorandum, he wanted to communicate that the state of Texas and the University of Texas are interested in fostering a positive relationship with Mexico.

“Since becoming the chancellor at the UT System, my interest and my appreciation has grown with the Mexican scholars,” McRaven said. “I see elite engineers from Mexico. I see elite research institutions. I see tremendous insights coming out of our relationship from Mexico.”