Friday, November 13, 2009

Tailgating for Books

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM

I hate to be late. Following the mantra to “show up at least five minutes early” expounded by my father, I’ve mastered the art of the casual, on-time stroll into events, parties etc.

At least, until now, thanks to citydesk editor Hoffman, who gave me 10 minutes notice for this assignment.

I boarded the elevator to the Stueckle Sky Center for an apparently formal noon luncheon with the President of my school, Bob Kustra and his rival fresh-off-the-boat chief at the University of Idaho, Duane Nellis, at exactly 12:08 p.m. I tapped the “close door” button repeatedly, until I emerged on the sixth floor, and was overcome by the panoramic view of Boise from the sky.

The luncheon, scheduled before tomorrow’s Broncos vs. Vandals football game, brings to light the little told story of partnerships between Boise and that school in Moscow.

I managed to maneuver to a nearby table, just barely catching the end of the remarks made by University of Idaho's new president, Duane Nellis. Frank Zang, Kustra’s media-relations guy, pulled me aside to fill in the details. Turns out I'd only missed cursory opening remarks; the banquet was more high-class tailgating than the research collaboration symposium promised.

At the tables around me sat numerous members of faculty from Moscow as well as from here in Boise. The professors are members of multiple groups that seek to foster a more heady research climate in the state of Idaho.

Working together, the faculty seek to further the relationship between Boise and Moscow, as well as with the Idaho National Lab, to help Idaho prosper in biomedical research, new energy development, creating research opportunities for students, and managing innovative water solutions.

Those in attendance were a part of the groups CAES, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, INBRE, the Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence and IWRRI, the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute.

Duane Nellis said: “It’s about competing on a national level. Without investing in higher education, we will lose our edge against other states."

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