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SHsu.jpg Hear the Conversation 22:45 min – 13 mb mp3

Stephen Hsu is Michigan State University‘s vice president for research and graduate studies. He was born to a land-grant faculty family in Ames, Iowa.

Hsu tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis that it’s a fair question for taxpayers to wonder why we engage in research at universities like MSU.

“The research we engage in today is what will make the future awesome for our kids,” Hsu says.

Hsu says he and most others in his generation grew up never thinking we’d see anything close to Dick Tracy’s watch, but now we have the then-unimaginable iPhone.

“It’s the basic research at universities that leads to advances in technology,” says Hsu.

Hollis points out that Hsu recruits faculty just like coaches Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio recruit athletes.

“But we can offer more than you can,” quips Hsu to Hollis. “Fortunately most researchers are idealistic.

“What they really want from a university is the resources to create a great lab, hire a great team, and make the breakthroughs that will impact our future.”

Hsu adds that it takes a certain perspective to realize that we need to invest in risky endeavors and endeavors that we can’t immediately see where they’re going to lead.

“No one can predict where we’ll be in 30 years,” Hsu says. “But 30 years from now, it’s the activity happening at MSU today that will be impacting the world in 30 years.”

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