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posted by janrinok on Saturday May 11, @08:03PM   Printer-friendly

U.S. National Science Foundation suspends UTEP's aerospace grant - KVIA:

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- On April 25, The U.S. National Science Foundation instructed the University of Texas, El Paso [UTEP] to suspend work on the Regional Innovation Engine and Aerospace Center pending further review.

In a statement released by the university, "On or about April 6, UTEP became aware of potentially incorrect statements in its proposal to the National Science Foundation for the Regional Innovation Engine Program. UTEP conducted a review and found that the statements in question committed resources to the NSF grant that UTEP does not have. We have sent a letter today (May 6) informing the NSF of these erroneous claims."

In January, UTEP won the inaugural NSF Regional Innovation Engines award for up to $15 million dollars over the next two years, according to the university's website.

They say, they could have received up to $160 million dollars in over 10-years and would have supported the Paso del Norte Defense and Aerospace Innovation Engine, greatly impacting the borderland community.

According to El Paso Matters, The award was granted on the proposal from Dr. Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., UTEP's associate vice president, who lead the Aerospace Center.

Since the announcement of the suspension of the grant, borderland leaders have expressed their concerns.

"Dr. Choudhuri and Dr. Wicker have played pivotal roles in advancing UTEP's Aerospace Center. Their vision has propelled Far West Texas into an era of ambitious growth, positioning us as a competitive force in the aerospace, defense, and advanced manufacturing industry. We will continue our collaboration with UTEP and local partners to ensure the Aerospace Center continues to build economic opportunities and a brighter future for the students, workers, and communities of Far West Texas," says Texas Senator César Blanco.

"Over a decade ago, our community united to focus our economic development efforts on aerospace and defense manufacturing, aiming to raise wages, retain talent, and foster job creation, ultimately positioning El Paso as a national leader in these industries," said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. "At the heart of this vision stands Dr. Ashan Choudhuri, whose leadership has transformed what was once a dream into a tangible reality, unfolding daily before us."

[...] In the statement released by UTEP they did not mention Dr. Ahsan Choudhuri but the university did say that effective immediately, Dr. Kenneth Meissner, Dean of the College of Engineering, will serve as acting head for the center.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by drussell on Saturday May 11, @09:41PM (3 children)

    by drussell (2678) on Saturday May 11, @09:41PM (#1356585) Journal

    This article reads like absolute corporate doublespeak gobbledeygook!

    "On or about April 6, UTEP became aware of potentially incorrect statements in its proposal to the National Science Foundation for the Regional Innovation Engine Program. UTEP conducted a review and found that the statements in question committed resources to the NSF grant that UTEP does not have.

    What resources?! Personnel? Equipment? I have no idea what they're even talking about.


    Is this just one of those situations where you just "write a glorious proposal using buzzwords" and get a $15M grant?!

    Phase 1: Collect underpants.

    Phase 2: Just say something like, "we'll embody some synergies that will empower our core competency of utilizing using our innovative strategies to effect a deep dive into using the full bandwidth of our impactful innovations to fully amortize our immense investment in the impactful implementation of our partners' ethos!!"

    Phase 3:" Profit!!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @10:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @10:50PM (#1356591)

      Gobbledegook, yes. I see nothing really informative about the research, or the resources. What I distilled from reading the article is, someone falsified resources available, so UTEP took steps to cancel the grant. Easier to cancel now, than to answer to an inquisition later, I think.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by khallow on Saturday May 11, @10:57PM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 11, @10:57PM (#1356592) Journal
      Well, apparently they aren't collecting $15 million for this particular gobbledygook.

      County Judge says [] county's fault Fabens airport not ready which caused UTEP grant pause.

      Sounds like the grant required three working hangars at the local airport which wouldn't be ready by 2023 which apparently was what was advertised on the grant application.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Saturday May 11, @11:44PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 11, @11:44PM (#1356594) Journal


        LOL, shows how much attention I pay to dates.

        Part of the letter mentioned the concern of three hangars at Fabens Airport that were meant to be built by 2023 and would ostensibly be used for the NSF Innovation Engine.

        However, those hangars aren't expected to be operational until 2027.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Sunday May 12, @03:04AM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Sunday May 12, @03:04AM (#1356617) Journal

    Tremendous pressure to produce results. I wonder that anyone with a brain wants a leadership role in a project loaded with expectations that edge into impossibility. Such situations are where the art of saying "no" is so important. Sure, it hurts to turn down the big bucks, but there are many occasions in which that's the best move to make. Yes, try counterproposals first, but if they simply will not accept constraints on what might be possible, then tell them "no". Even if it costs you your job, tell them "no". No job is worth the extreme stress, the slow torture of failing to meet expectations, trebled because people within the organization have concluded that faking it is the only way to hang on a little longer. I've been there. I know what that's like.

    As to losing your job, this is why you need to keep your finances solid. Don't go into debt up to your eyeballs. Don't buy that expensive new car and bigger home. They may well push you to do just that. They can't outright order you to stick yourself into a financial vice, but they can and will put on a big show to try to manipulate you into doing just that. Tell you that doing so is patriotic or shows commitment or skin in the game or some such rubbish. Don't fall for it! Note also that being in a financial bind makes you more vulnerable to foreign influence. Presuming that whatever you're trying to do is something of significance, how'd you like to be sweating bullets over possibly losing your home and family, when here comes a spy for a foreign power willing to buy you out. If you're not burdened with crushing amounts of debt, you are in much better shape to resist the temptation to cheat or sell out.

    One fellow who pushed too hard was the leader of the Soviet space program, Sergei Korolev. He was also under incredible pressure, having spent time in the gulag and knowing full well that Soviet leadership could return him there anytime, and might do so if they ever thought he would make a better scapegoat than a space program director. The stress definitely contributed to his death at the relatively young age of just 59. Another fellow under extreme pressure was the fictional character Colonel Saito in The Bridge Over the River Kwai. If he did not succeed in getting that bridge built in time, "I will have to kill myself," he said.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @04:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @04:13AM (#1356621)

      We can teach these barbarians a lesson in Western methods and efficiency that will put them to shame.

      Love that movie.