May 11, 2007
By Angie Bukley
Ohio University has been accepted into the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), a consortium of Ph.D.-granting universities that offer graduate programs in space sciences, space technology and related fields.
Ohio University began the highly selective application process two years ago. The institution was asked to demonstrate a significant level of space research across a variety of disciplines, including physics and astronomy, engineering and technology, telecommunications, geography, medicine and life sciences. USRA membership could open doors for new funding opportunities and research collaboration.
"USRA membership gives Ohio University greater visibility in emerging academic disciplines that relate to space," said Don Flournoy, director of Ohio University's Institute for Telecommunication Studies and editor of the Online Journal of Space Communication, who spearheaded the USRA application. "It gives students easier access to internships and jobs. It adds to the prestige of Ohio University because we're part of a consortium of very elite universities."
USRA is a private nonprofit corporation sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and composed of about 100 institutions around the world. NASA helped create the organization in 1969 because the federal government needed greater access to the nation's best space researchers and latest research findings.
"NASA and USRA are very tightly connected, which means USRA membership opens more doors to space-related research and job opportunities for our graduate and undergraduate students," said Angie Bukley, associate dean for research and graduate studies in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, who helped compile the university's application. "Membership also will give the university access to previously unavailable research funding announcements."
Ohio University has been placed in USRA's Regional Group II, whose other members include Case Western Reserve University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Delaware, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Pittsburgh and University of Virginia.
President Roderick McDavis has signed the agreement and has designated interim Vice President for Research Jim Rankin as Ohio University's representative to USRA.