Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI awards three new interdisciplinary partnerships

Media Contact:

KINGSTON, R.I. -- August 5, 2004 -- University of Rhode Island faculty and students from different disciplines are teaming up to find novel ways to tackle hunger and nutrition, gain interactive visualization expertise, and devise new ways to observe and manage ocean resources, thanks to $450,000 in seed money recently awarded by The Presidentís Partnership Program.

URI President Robert L. Carothers established the program in 1995, recognizing that all too often colleges resemble farm silos: vertical, self-contained structures of knowledge. The partnership program is designed to increase interaction among faculty, undergraduates and graduate students, and off-campus organizations and businesses.

Currently, more than 115 faculty and staff members representing 41 different departments and more than 80 outside organizations are actively involved in the partnerships. In addition, the number of student participants ranges from 15 to 50 per academic year in each partnership, with roughly an equal division between undergraduate and graduate students.

"Partnerships bring new eyes, ears, and minds together to wrestle with some of the most complex challenges we face as a state and as a nation," said President Carothers. "It is the multidisciplinary nature of their approach which enhances their creativity."

M. Beverly Swan, provost and vice president of academic affairs, coordinates the competitive partnership awards. The URI Council for Research reviews the proposals and makes recommendations for new partnerships. Awards were made to four partnerships in 1995, three partnerships in 1999, and three partnerships this year. After a start-up period, the three new partnerships are required to become self-supporting.

"Partnerships provide students with opportunities to work in close collaboration with
faculty members, other students, and government and business partners outside of the University. Many of these students publish their work before they graduate. Not only are the partnerships a valuable educational experience for our students, participating in them provides good preparation for the job market," said the Provost.

This yearís awards went to the following partnerships:

o The Partnership in Food, Hunger and Nutrition: Within the context of poverty, the partnership will explore the phenomenon, causes and consequences of food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger by integrating academic training, research, service learning, and outreach into Rhode Island communities where food insecurity is most prevalent. The partnership provides the needed framework to unify and focus the expertise of faculty, students, and community-based partners who historically worked separately to address poverty, policy, nutrition and food insecurity. Principal investigators: Kathleen Gorman, Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America; Nancy Fey-Yensan, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Philip Clark, program in gerontology.

o The 3-D Group for Interactive Visualization: This partnership will be involved in the research, development, instruction, and cross-disciplinary utilization of 3-dimensional modeling, animation and interactivity. The operational core will be faculty, staff, and students who gain expertise through a series of courses and research projects coordinated by the Departments of Art and Computer Science. The initial focus will be scientific visualization, games development, interactive 3D graphics for the web and 3D imaging for print. Principal investigators: Jean-Yves Hervť and Timothy Henry of the Department of Computer Science and Statistics, and Ron Hutt, Department of Art.

o The Partnership for Ocean Instrumentation: Created to contribute to the demand for new ways to observe and manage ocean resources. Plans include innovative student internships, collaborations of URI science and engineering faculty, guidance from industrial partners and international advisors. Principal investigators: Robert Tyce, Department of Ocean Engineering; John King, Graduate School of Oceanography.

The new partnerships join URIís existing five partnerships: URIís Partnership for Coastal Environment, Sensors and Surface Technology; Partnership in Physiological Measurements and Computing; Family Resource Partnership: Strengthening Services for Children and Families at Risk, and the Partnership in Forensic Science. Two partnerships are no longer active.