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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Dr. Ricardo Romo

Initiative Will Expand Research Faculty and Graduate Program

As part of a four-year, $40 million program, UTSA will recruit 60 new top-tier researchers to advance the university’s research capabilities and strengthen San Antonio’s standing in the competitive global economy. News of the plan came during President Ricardo Romo’s State of the University address in September.

The program, known as the GoldStar Initiative, will build on areas critical to Tier One designation for UTSA. In its first year it will recruit experts in strategic research areas such as advanced materials, open-cloud computing and cybersecurity, big data, biomedicine and social and educational transformation as well as sustainable communities.

“I consider these hires to be some of the most crucial in our history,” Romo says. “If San Antonio is to remain a leader in a global economy, it must have the high caliber of research that we conduct at UTSA.”

Initially, the university will rely on institutional resources to support the hiring of the additional researchers, 15 each year over four years. It also will pursue funding from the UT System Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention Program to recruit several of the researchers and new gifts from donors to directly support the work.

As part of the GoldStar Initiative, the university intends to increase its annual research expenditures from the current level of approximately $50 million to $75 million in the next five years, then soon after to $100 million -- a Tier One threshold for research spending.

As new researchers come to UTSA, the university will recruit additional graduate students to assist them. The university will expand both its master’s and doctoral degree programs over the next three years, with a goal of increasing the number of master’s students to 4,500 from 3,300 and the number of Ph.D. students to 900 from the current 750. UTSA also will develop at least six new doctoral programs over the same period.

Additionally, with community support, the university will create a significant number of new endowed fellowships to support graduate students. It also will increase the number of faculty endowments to 80 from its current 61.

The recruitment of GoldStar Initiative researchers will be in addition to the hiring of top-tier faculty that takes place on a regular basis at UTSA to support academic excellence. “We will recruit even more of the best and brightest researchers to UTSA to drive innovation and develop technology,” Romo says. “We will hire a combination of well-established researchers and young researchers with great promise. They will light a passion for discovery and innovation in our students and help us build for the future.”


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