Texas A&M Maritime Academy Stands Ready to Accept New 525-foot Training Ship

The Texas A&M University System News Release

U.S. House appropriations bill includes money for ship
Vessel also could provide relief after hurricanes, other disasters

WASHINGTON, D.C. & COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M University’s maritime academy is closer than any time in the past 15 years to being able to dock a training ship in Galveston. The yet-to-be-built ship would be able to take 600 cadets to sea, compared with 50 today, and serve double duty as the only hurricane relief vessel in the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Texas’ delegation in Congress successfully included $389 million in the U.S. House of Representatives’ appropriations bill to pay for the ship. The bill passed out of the House on Friday, as it makes its way to the U.S. Senate.

Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System said he wanted to personally thank the Texas delegation in the House, particularly: Reps. Randy Weber, Will Hurd, Henry Cuellar, Kay Granger and Bill Flores.

“We have needed a suitable ship for years to help train much-needed merchant mariners and other sea-bound Aggies who are ready to serve,” Chancellor Sharp said. “I want to offer my gratitude to the Texas delegation for working hard to help the Texas A&M Maritime Academy and the entire maritime industry.”

The U.S. Maritime Administration is replacing the aging fleet of training vessels used by the state maritime academies with new “National Security Multi-Mission Vessels,” or NSMVs. The 525-foot ship is designed to provide a training platform and would be outfitted with several training spaces, such as eight classrooms, a full training bridge, lab spaces and an auditorium. It would allow cadets at the Texas A&M Maritime Academy to have access to the best training to make them ready to fill much-needed and highly paid jobs at sea.

“Texas A&M is one of only a handful of American universities to have the rare triple designation as a land-grant, space-grant and sea-grant institution,” President Michael K. Young said. “This impressive new ship will not only enhance the training and experience our cadets receive in our Maritime Academy, but also continue to advance the university’s mission of service from our campuses to the vast expanse of the sea.”

The ship would also stand ready to be deployed in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. Currently, there is nothing similar to the proposed NSMV in the Gulf of Mexico. It could reach any point in the Gulf within a day or two. Other training ships in Massachusetts and New York would need two weeks or more to reach the Gulf in the case of an emergency like Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Katrina or another disaster.

In the case of an emergency, the ship could house up to 1,000 federal emergency management workers, serve as a hospital or use its roll-on/roll-off ramp to deliver supplies to troubled areas.

“This new ship – with its state-of-the-art training capabilities and critical disaster-response capabilities – will transform our ability to accomplish our training mission while also supporting the immediate delivery of disaster supplies and emergency medical capability throughout the Gulf of Mexico region,” said Col. Michael E. Fossum, vice president and chief operating officer of the Galveston Campus of Texas A&M and superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. “We have dreamed of this capability for over a decade and cannot thank our Texas delegation – as well as the System and university leadership – enough for moving this closer to a reality.”

About Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas A&M Maritime Academy

Texas A&M University at Galveston is home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of six state academies in the U.S., and the only academy located in the Gulf Coast region. The academy educates and trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world in support of national security and waterborne commerce. Despite this important mission, the Texas A&M Maritime Academy has operated without a sufficient training ship for more than a decade. The lack of a ship has impacted both cadet training and disaster response capabilities in the Gulf region. The academy’s last large training ship, the Texas Clipper II, was recalled in 2005 to serve in disaster recovery for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Department of Defense honors Texas A&M System for National Security Leadership

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Texas A&M System is only award winner from higher education in Texas

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — An agency of the U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday awarded The Texas A&M University System with the prestigious James S. Cogswell Award for Outstanding Industrial Security.

The Texas A&M System is the only higher education institution from Texas on a list of 61 organizations to receive the award. Other winners include General Dynamics Mission Systems, Inc., Honeywell International, Inc., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Lockheed Martin Corporate Headquarters and Northrop Grumman Corp.

Officials with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency said they chose from approximately 12,500 cleared facilities. The agency considered factors that included establishing and maintaining a security program that far exceeds the basic National Industrial Security Program requirements and providing leadership to other facilities with security clearance, helping them establish best practices for maintaining the highest standards for security.

“From our work with Army Futures Command, to managing the nation’s nuclear deterrent at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, there is a reason that the Texas A&M University System is on the forefront of defending our national security,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “The Texas A&M System takes very seriously our mission to help protect sensitive information that is vital to our country’s security.”

The Texas A&M System won the Cogswell award previously in 2015. Further, the System is the only academic institution to have received the recognition in the same year that it also won the federal agency’s Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence, which is given for work to protect sensitive information from foreign spies.

Kevin Gamache, chief research security officer with the System’s Office of The Vice Chancellor for Research, said the System, under the leadership of Chancellor Sharp, works hard to protect the critical defense information, products and research.

“The current global situation puts our research under a constant threat of attack,” Gamache said. “That is why we have made protecting our work such a high priority.”

The Cogswell Award, established in 1966, is named in honor of the late Air Force Col. James S. Cogswell, the first chief of industrial security within the Department of Defense. Cogswell was responsible for developing the basic principles of the Industrial Security Program, which include an emphasis on the partnership between industry and government to protect classified information.

The Cogswell Award selection process is rigorous. A Defense Security Service Industrial Security Representative may only nominate facilities that have at a minimum two consecutive superior industrial security review ratings and that show a sustained degree of excellence and innovation in their overall security program management, implementation and oversight.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Feds Tap Bio-Manufacturing Center in College Station For “Warp Speed” Production of COVID-19 Vaccines

The Texas A&M University System News Release

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a Texas A&M System subcontractor, to mass produce for Novavax Inc.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The federal government has reserved a high-tech bio-manufacturing facility here for mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a program discussed Monday by President Donald Trump.

The new federal task order is reserving production capacity at one of the College Station facilities to mass manufacture vaccines through the end of 2021.

The order, which supports Operation Warp Speed, is between the federal government and the Texas A&M University System’s Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM). The CIADM was developed in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

As a subcontractor to the Texas A&M System, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Texas, (FDB), owns and operates three facilities built through the CIADM program. They can be tapped for emergency use by the federal government.

FDB is slated to use the reserved capacity at one of the FDB facilities for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Novavax, Inc., NVX-CoV2373.

Valued at about $265 million, the task order also will accelerate a planned expansion at the FDB facility by helping fund new equipment for use in the current pandemic and in future emergencies.

“The Texas A&M System is ready to save lives and help protect the country,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “This whole project is a triple win. It’s a win for the Texas A&M System. It’s a win for FDB. It’s a win for the nation.”

View a video on the Texas A&M System’s role in the project: https://vimeo.com/442035087

Operation Warp Speed aims to begin delivering millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determines candidates are safe and effective.

Novavax is being funded by the government to complete late-stage clinical development, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial; establish large-scale manufacturing; and deliver 100 million doses of NVX‑CoV2373, Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The FDB plant in North Carolina, where President Trump visited Monday, is already producing the Novavax vaccine candidate for its clinical trials. FDB is slated to transfer the manufacturing process to College Station in late 2020 and start bulk production in early 2021.

FDB’s facilities and workforce in Texas can accommodate multiple vaccine technologies and help expedite the government’s large-scale manufacturing efforts. The manufacturing preparation is being done in parallel with ongoing clinical trials and the FDA’s safety and effectiveness approval process.

FDB calls the facility reserved for Novavax vaccine production its “Flexible BioManufacturing Facility.”

“FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is committed to be a partner for life and deliver these much-needed COVID-19 vaccine doses,” said Dr. Gerry Farrell, Chief Operating Officer of FDB in Texas. “We are ready to move swiftly to deliver on multiple vaccine candidates as directed by the U.S. government.”

The Texas A&M System’s CIADM was one of three centers developed in the U.S. in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The task order is an amendment to the CIADM contract between the System and BARDA.

“This validates why the CIADM program was established,” said Dr. W. Jay Treat, Texas A&M’s Chief Manufacturing Officer for the CIADM. “We have state-of-the-art facilities ready to make millions doses of vaccines to meet the critical needs of our citizens.”

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

About FUJIFILM
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is an industry-leading Biologics Contract  Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) with locations in Teesside, UK, RTP, North Carolina, College Station, Texas and Hillerød, Denmark.  FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies has over thirty years of experience in the development and manufacturing of recombinant proteins, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, among other large molecules, viral products and medical countermeasures expressed in a wide array of microbial, mammalian, and host/virus systems. The company offers a comprehensive list of services from cell line development using its proprietary pAVEway™ microbial and Apollo™X cell line systems to process development, analytical development, clinical and FDA-approved commercial manufacturing. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is a partnership between FUJIFILM Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation.

For more information, go to: www.fujifilmdiosynth.com

About Novavax
Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVAX) is a late-stage biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. Novavax recently initiated development of NVX-CoV2373, its vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with preliminary immunogenicity and safety results expected to be announced during the first week of August. NanoFlu™, its quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle vaccine, met all primary objectives in its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in older adults. Both vaccine candidates incorporate Novavax’ proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant in order to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Novavax is a leading innovator of recombinant vaccines; its proprietary recombinant technology platform combines the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce highly immunogenic nanoparticles in order to address urgent global health needs.

For more information, visit www.novavax.com and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn

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Texas A&M System Inks Deal for Free COVID-19 Testing for All Students, Faculty and Staff

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Students, faculty and staff at all 11 Texas A&M System universities across the state will soon have quick and easy access to free testing for COVID-19.

“Ensuring the health and safety of our students is our top priority,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “Facilitating increased accessibility and availability of COVID-19 testing will help us mitigate the spread and help to protect each other by taking preventative and proactive measures.”

Approximately 15,000 test kits will be sent to system campuses each month. Each campus will set up a central location for the testing, which will consist of a simple, painless mouth swab. Testing could start as early as late this week.

The testing is possible thanks to an agreement Chancellor Sharp negotiated with Curative Inc., a national testing company based in California. Curative has committed to turning around lab results within 30 hours from when the sample arrives at their lab.

To date, Curative has released more than 1.2 million test results and is processing 55 to 60 thousand test kits per day with plenty of capacity. A major benefit of the Curative testing system is it is a turn-key operation, offering tests, shipping, processing and a software system that collects and reports results.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, or suspect they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes at any time, beginning 48 hours before the individual had symptoms, regardless of wearing a face mask.

While the tests are free, those who have insurance are encouraged to use their primary care physician to access the test so that their test can be paid for by insurance. The on-campus tests will not be available to the general public.

Each campus will establish an on-line test registration, and anyone wishing to be tested must first sign up there. Trained personnel will monitor the self-administered oral swabbing required.

About Curative
Curative Inc. was founded to develop tests for sepsis in January 2020 and pivoted to COVID-19 in early March 2020 upon realizing the urgent need for test development and production in the United States. Founded by Fred Turner and comprised of a team of doctors, scientists, engineers and health industry experts, the Curative test is a simple-to-use oral fluid COVID-19 test that can be rapidly scaled to enable widespread access to testing to keep our communities. For more details on Curative, please visit www.curativeinc.com.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Texas A&M System to analyze racial profiling data from police stops

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Tarleton State University’s Dr. Alex del Carmen will lead scholars and academicians from across the Texas A&M University System to analyze data racial profiling reported by law enforcement agencies.

It will be the first comprehensive study of traffic stop data from Texas law enforcement in accordance with the Sandra Bland Act. Sandra Bland was a 28-year old Prairie View A&M alumna who died in the Waller County Jail in 2015. Her arrest followed a lengthy argument between her and the Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested her. Video of her arrest was documented by the officer’s dashboard camera.

“Impartial research such as this can inform public policy with facts and that benefits us all,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “The Texas A&M University System is duty bound to do no less.”

The A&M System group studying the data consists of teams emphasizing research, teaching, instruction and service. Del Carmen will lead the research team.

Del Carmen is a leading national expert on racial profiling in policing and with experience in police reform cases. His team will examine the annual racial profiling data submitted by Texas law enforcement agencies during the past year.

“The reputation of Dr. del Carmen and Tarleton’s criminology and criminal justice programs are widely known,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “The choice to have him lead this high-profile research project on a socially significant topic proves that.”

Del Carmen, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts’ School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies, served as a federal monitor in two of the largest and most significant police reform cases in U.S. history.

He recently completed his latest book, “Racial Profiling in Policing: Beyond the Basics.”

“Our research group will focus on identifying patterns and practices related to police motor vehicle stops, searches and arrests,” he said. “Now, more than ever, the analysis of police data specific to minorities is crucial to the better understanding and reconciliation of our communities.”

Questions to be raised include whether the officer involved issued a verbal or written warning or a citation as a result of the stop and whether the officer used force that resulted in bodily injury.

This information supplements other data — the driver’s race, whether a search was conducted, and if the officer knew the driver’s race before pulling him or her over — in accordance with the law.

The Sandra Bland Act took effect in 2017 and mandates that county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment, makes it easier for defendants to receive a personal bond if they have a mental illness or intellectual disability and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

System News Archives

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