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Nixon Highlights Excellence in Research

Recognizing Mizzou 

During a roundtable discussion with students, faculty and staff engaged in groundbreaking plant science research at the University of Missouri-Columbia's Bradford Research Center, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the National Science Foundation has awarded MU a $4.2 million grant to fund a four-year project to study how corn varieties maintain growth in drought conditions.

"As the only academic program in the state that addresses issues related to plant production, plant protection and plant biology, MU's Division of Plant Sciences is leading the way toward a more secure, sustainable and prosperous future," said Gov. Nixon. "This grant is great news for Mizzou and a testament to the talent and dedication of these researchers, who work each and every day to develop solutions to the world's most pressing challenges."

"The Physiological Genomics of Maize Nodal Root Growth under Drought" project, which will be led by a team of researchers from the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group, received funding from the NSF's Plant Genome Research Program. As part of the project, students and postdoctoral associates will learn how to be more competitive in the job market, and minority students will be trained to conduct research through a diversity component of the grant. An MU School of Journalism outreach component will help to communicate results of the project to the public.

"The work being done here at the Division of Plant Sciences is a prime example of why investing in higher education is smart investment with a big return for our state," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why I'm urging the Senate to follow my recommendation for a $56 million increase in performance funding for higher education, so that our colleges and universities can freeze tuition while continuing to be centers of academic excellence."

The Governor's Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal includes an increase of $55.7 million in performance funding for the state's public colleges and universities in exchange for a tuition freeze. Based on that funding level, those higher education institutions have agreed to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduates.

By contrast, the budget approved this week by the Missouri House includes no increase in general revenue for higher education performance funding.

The most recent report on pricing trends by The College Board found Missouri once again leading all 50 states in holding down tuition increases at public universities over the last seven years.

The Governor said Missouri's colleges and universities also have been able to hold down costs for students because of the resources they can dedicate for capital improvements through the Building Affordability initiative. Gov. Nixon proposed the initiative in collaboration with public colleges and universities, and it was subsequently passed with bi-partisan support in the General Assembly in 2015.

Through Building Affordability, Missouri is investing $200 million in higher education campuses throughout the state. The additional investments by the state are helping colleges and universities make needed renovations and improvements to their campuses without raising tuition to cover the costs of these projects.

To read the full article or get more information on Missouri's agriculture business visit the Missouri Agriculture Connection's website.