Oregon’s Commitment for a Better Future
As Oregon’s land grant university, Oregon State is helping achieve a better future by serving as an engaged partner and investor in initiatives that make prosperity possible throughout the state.
Directed by the university’s strategic plan, Oregon State is committed to strengthening the economy; improving public health and quality of life; and protecting our environment while making wise use of natural resources. And while the university’s research, education and service programs may begin in Oregon, they extend across the United States and around the world. With these strategic plan goals in mind, Oregon State University commits itself to the following next steps toward a better future.
Strengthening the economy and creating jobs are essential priorities. Oregon State will expand efforts to support economic growth by accelerating research-based innovation; increasing university-industry partnerships through sponsored research; and emphasizing new business development and commercialization of research. The university will enhance the key role it already plays in the economy by producing more graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills and by working with industry to transform breakthrough ideas into high-value products and services.
Public health and preventative health care
Through Oregon’s only College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State is addressing the most challenging health and wellness issues that are facing the state and the nation across all ages. Oregon State’s efforts will include teaching, research and outreach programs throughout the state that fight hunger and promote proper nutrition, encourage exercise and fitness, enhance early childhood development, promote healthy aging, prevent disease, promote access to healthcare services and maximize the use of environmentally friendly materials in clothing and building materials.
The next century of engagement and outreach education
Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, the OSU Extension Service continues to serve Oregonians, improving and expanding research-based education in urban and rural communities throughout the state. Through a growing Oregon Open Campus Initiative, Oregon State is partnering with local community colleges, school districts, local governments and businesses to provide educational programs unique to the needs of individual communities. Oregon Open Campus programs can serve the more than 750,000 Oregonians who may have some college experience but haven’t completed a degree. In addition to Oregon Open Campus programs, Oregon State’s Extended Campus online curriculum provides learning opportunities statewide that will bolster Oregonians’ quality of life and prosperity, regardless of where they live.
Helping improve the quality of life and economy of the Portland region
Oregon State recognizes the importance of strengthening the economy and enhancing the quality of life throughout the greater Portland area. The university is aligning research initiatives with regional economic strategies to support key business clusters such as outdoor apparel, green technology, software and advanced manufacturing. Oregon State will build upon Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station programs in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. Oregon State will continue to support and extend Portland-area programs offered by the colleges of Business, Public Health and Human Sciences, Pharmacy and veterinary Medicine. Finally, Oregon State will expand its community engagement efforts through the work of its faculty, staff and alumni.
Sharing our science, helping leaders chart a course
At a time when choices on complex issues will certainly shape the future, Oregon State University is committed to share the depth and breadth of its research to further inform the public, private industry, stakeholder groups and elected officials. Oregon State will launch a series of briefings throughout Oregon featuring prominent scientists, including those from its faculty, who will share their knowledge on issues such as biofuels, biomass, water policy, climate change, marine sciences, nuclear power, public infrastructure and feeding an ever-increasing world population. The goal is to give the public, stakeholder groups, business people and elected decision makers greater knowledge and contextual information to address important issues that for years have remained unresolved.
Preventing childhood obesity in rural areas
Why are children in rural communities at greater risk for obesity? Oregon State researchers Deborah John and Kathy Gunter identify several factors: long bus commutes; few resources to support physical activity, recreational sports programs or health education; and lack of healthy food choices.
Now, they’re doing something about it. Funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, John and Gunter are developing an obesity prevention program through OSU Extension that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. Working with school districts, health care providers, parents and volunteer groups, they will begin assessments and field testing in September in Clackamas, Columbia and Klamath counties. The goal is to improve the Body Mass Index (BMI) among five- to eight-year-old children.
Disease prevention and healthy aging
The future of medicine lies not just in treating diseases, but in preventing those that are the leading cause of death in the developed world: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and neurodegenerative disease.
Prevention is the focus of Oregon State’s Linus Pauling Institute and the Center for Healthy Aging Research. Current research projects are investigating the role of vitamin D in protecting immune function and therapeutic uses for lipoic acid, such as anti-inflammatories.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $2.9 million grant for aging research. New studies have shown some diets can help prevent the loss of mental acuity and brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, while other foods accentuate the problem.
Disease prevention can significantly reduce health care costs. And staying healthier longer offers better quality of life to an aging population.
Oregon may be known for rain, but OSU is helping the state become a leader in the solar power industry.
Oregon State electrical engineer Terri Fiez is also co-founder of Azuray Technologies, which has developed power
optimizing and monitoring electronics that improve reliability, reduce cost and harvest more energy from solar panel arrays.
Transparent electronics discovered by John Wager have been licensed by OSU and Hewlett Packard to a California firm developing solar power devices that offer twice the efficiency at half the cost of traditional solar panels.
Other OSU research is investigating more economical methods for making thin-film solar electronics, including continuous-flow microreactors and inkjet printing. And pyrite, better known as “fool’s gold,” is helping researchers identify related compounds that could be used for low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells.