FORUM ON EDUCATION
Faculty and Student Intern Partnerships
S. Narasinga Rao
The R&D Intern Partnerships program funds faculty and student internship programs at colleges and universities in Oklahoma. Students and faculty from these institutions of higher education are paired with 48 Oklahoma firms and farms that benefit from the interns’ efforts.
The R& D Intern Partnerships program has (1) increased the pool of scientists and engineers available to Oklahoma industry, (2) encouraged students to be scientists and engineers and (3) enhanced a faculty member’s background to provide a better teaching environment.
The projects have five common features.
(1) An Oklahoma business, Oklahoma college or Oklahoma university must be the fiscal agent.
(2) An equal match of the OCAST funds from nonstate appropriated funds is required.
(3) The research must be performed in an applied research facility - located at a firm, a non-profit research institute, or an institution of higher education. The mentor is from industry or an academic with documented success record of applied research.
(4) An Oklahoma firm or farm must benefit.
(5) A majority of the project reviewers are from outside of Oklahoma and have a background in industry, academia, and government research.
The award may be for one or two years. Most of the programs have interns working in an Oklahoma industrial laboratory on an applied research project with an industry mentor. The firm provides half of the intern’s salary and fringe benefits as the required match and OCAST provides half of the intern’s salary and fringe benefits. Other programs have been approved. The reviewers have shown a preference for the programs in which at least 75% of the total funds (OCAST plus Match) go directly to the interns as salary and fringe benefits. The remaining support is most often Principal Investigator salary and fringe benefits as well as supplies to run the program.
Three students from our university who participated in this program have already been absorbed by the industries in which they worked after internships and graduation
S. Narasinga Rao is Dean of the Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK 73034