Partnerships were the theme of the day as Mississippi State University and Argonne National Laboratories formalized a memorandum of understanding Thursday afternoon.
Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and Argonne Director Peter Littlewood signed the memorandum of understanding during MSU’s first Joint Center for Energy Storage Research Symposium at the newly-opened Mill at MSU conference center.
Littlewood said the memorandum will create a focal point at MSU that will allow Argonne researchers to work with MSU faculty to further energy research.
“Partnerships are what help science evolve,” Keenum said. “When you have research university like Mississippi State and a wonderful national lab like Argonne with scientists who can bring their strength and expertise together to solve a common problem … you have very positive results that can make a difference.”
MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw said the partnership between the university and Argonne would lead to benefits that stretch beyond the two parties.
“This country is going to benefit from the MOU we will be signing today,” Shaw said. “It’s not just a benefit to the two institutions that are participating. There are many, many things that will come from this partnership that we can’t even begin to envision today. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research is but one great opportunity that’s in front of us.
Littlewood said the partnership will be beneficial for both parties because of the different environments that exist at a university and a national lab.
“At a university, you have distinguished faculty doing groundbreaking research of their own in individual ways,” he said. “That’s something we need to tap into because we’re team-oriented and focus oriented in what we do. It’s that collision of ideas in different ways of working and different things that people can do that I think is really the strength of this partnership. It’s going to be very exciting.”
U.S. District 1 Representative Trent Kelly delivered a keynote address during a luncheon before Keenum and Littlewood signed the memorandum.
Kelly, like Keenum and Littlewood, said collaboration is at the heart of Thursday’s accomplishment.
“It’s truly a joint partnership where you’re coming together to do things to help us store energy, discovery new types of energy and to research and develop to move this state and our nation forward,” Kelly said.
Kelly and Keenum also said memorandum is the culmination of work started several years ago by the late Alan Nunnelee.
Nunnelee, the former U.S. District 1 representative who died earlier this year, began working to have a “National Labs Day” in Mississippi to invite leaders from labs such as Argonne to the state to explore collaboration opportunities with the state’s universities.
“Most great things that happen in America are because of vision and leadership,” he said. “Congressman Nunnelee provided both of those in putting this team together.”