The amount of research dollars flowing into UT-Rio Grande Valley is growing exponentially, McAllen Economic Development Corporation board members have learned.
Dr. Parwinder Grewal, executive vice president for research, graduate studies and new program development, gives a monthly update to McAllen EDC. In his most recent report, Grewal said research investment has gone up from $32 million to $49.5 million.
“UTRGV research expenditures have grown from $32 million in the last year to $49.5 million,” Grewal told the MEDC board of directors. “Research expenditures bring in lots of jobs. Our goal is to grow research expenditures here funding from external agencies.”
Interviewed by the Rio Grande Guardian later, Grewal said:
“Since 2015, UTRGV has been growing its research enterprise. In the 2018 fiscal year, which includes 2018-19, it was $26 million. It has now grown to $49 million. This is annual research expenditure. We hope to continue to grow this research expenditure every year from here on out.”
Asked which areas of research UTRGV is expanding into, Grewal said: “We are expanding into agriculture, medical research, we are expanding into psychology research, and cancer research. These are some of our key areas.”
Asked why research at universities and colleges is important to a community, Grewal said: “Research is considered an important engine for economic growth. So, when faculty and students come together and work on local problems, local issues, they build solutions. Those solutions, once implemented or once the information is utilized, allows you to create new businesses, or improve a person’s health. That drives the local economy.”
Asked if he would like to say anything else about UTRGV’s efforts to secure more investment for research work, Grewal said:
“I think it is wonderful this university is growing in leaps and bounds. It is not only growing in research, it is growing in the development of new programs, it is growing in our health initiatives, it is growing in student numbers. We are creating programs that are relevant to the Valley. It is no more a typical school. It is producing professionals that will stay here and further develop the local economy.”
In his report to the MEDC board, Grewal said: “UTRGV is growing, growing every day in leaps and bounds.” Before running through some of the big projects currently underway, Grewal thanked the MEDC board for the part they played in selecting UTRGV President Guy Bailey as “Border Texan of the Year.”
He also thanked the City of McAllen for recently donating $1 million to the UTRGV School of Medicine.
Grewal also referenced a project that had been brought up at the board meeting by McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez – redevelopment of Quinta Mazatlan. Rodriguez had reported: “We are continuing our design at Quinta. It is a project of real magnitude and we have a lot of community partners that are willing to help us get this done. It is an amazing master plan. If you have not seen it I urge you to get a copy of it. If you would like to contact me, we can get you one.”
In his remarks about Quinta Mazatlan, Grewal said: “UT System has approved some funding for the City of McAllen project at Quinta Mazatlan. We have approval to continue to move forward in building the Urban Ecology Center in collaboration with the city.”
Grewal also reported that UTRGV had received $3 million for the new Institute for Neuroscience in Harlingen and had also secured funding for an early college high school being built in Harlingen in collaboration with Harlingen CISD.
Grewal said the Diabetes Institute in Brownsville is also expanding, with an additional building in the works. “That institute has been very successful in getting start up funding,” he said.
UTRGV has been certified as an Apple-approved university, Grewal reported, so both campuses will have Apple stores on campus.
The university has also announced a Physician Assistant Career Track program, he said. “It means top high school students from the area, ten of them, would be assured admission in the Physician Assistant program, if they meet certain criteria,” Grewal said. He reported that a similar program was started last month for the UTRGV School of Medicine.
Grewal was also proud to announce that UTRGV’s Master of Business Administration Finance program has been ranked best in the south and in the top 50 in nation by Intelligent dot com. said the university’s business analytics program is also doing well.
Finally, Grewal said that the board has approved an occupational therapy doctorate program that will start in a year’s time.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Dr. Parwinder Grewal, executive vice president for research, graduate studies and new program development at UT-Rio Grande Valley. (Photo: Ron Whitlock/Ron Whitlock Reports).