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New Partnership Puts Texas A&M on Top, Chancellor Says

Touting a new collaboration, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp asserted on Wednesday that the system's flagship university in College Station "has become the premier research university in the Southwest."

A&M System Chancellor John Sharp explains the 25X25 engineering initiative at a Capitol press conference on Jan. 23, 2013.

Touting Texas A&M University’s involvement in a new collaboration with several other universities and a Google subsidiary, Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said in a statement Wednesday that the system’s flagship university “has become the premier research university in the Southwest.”

Sharp’s statement came as he noted A&M’s participation in an initiative with Motorola Mobility's Advanced Technology and Projects group and seven other universities that focuses on streamlining the bureaucratic processes of providing funding for university research.

Currently, it typically takes several months to establish agreements for sponsored research projects. The new understanding is designed to allow Motorola Mobility to help the universities — whether it be a small effort at one institution or a large collaboration between multiple schools — get projects started in less than 30 days.

The other universities include Harvard University, Stanford University, Virginia Tech, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"It validates a lot of things I've been seeing and saying since I got here," Sharp, a former state comptroller who became chancellor in 2011, told the Tribune. "You've got one of the biggest corporations in the country tapping A&M as one of the top research universities in the country."

Sharp said the deal, which is also expected to foster collaboration among the eight universities, took roughly six months to put together. He said A&M was first approached by the company in late 2012.

Kaigham Gabriel, the vice president and deputy director of the group that is spearheading the effort at Motorola Mobility, issued a statement saying, "Such an agreement has the potential to be a national model for how companies and universities work together to speed innovation and U.S. competitiveness, while staying true to their individual missions and cultures."

One university that might take issue with Sharp’s declaration, the University of Texas at Austin, announced Wednesday that it was receiving a $7.8 million award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology for nanoelectronics research. Representatives of UT-Austin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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