By Dom Fonce
On May 28, Mike Hripko was appointed as the associate vice president for Research, a department within the Division of Academic Affairs. Formerly, he served as the director of the Research and Technology-based Economic Development at Youngstown State University through the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
His responsibilities include organizing and managing research, scholarships and grant activity on campus.
Hripko had spent more than 30 years as a manager at Delphi Corporation, a global technology company for automotive markets, in product management and pricing. He also maintained a position as deputy director for workforce and educational outreach for America Makes, a 3-D printing institute in Youngstown.
Throughout his career, he experienced a broad range of grant proposals and has established firm connections with potential business, industry and community partners. He said he wants to continue to help students and faculty uphold success with future explorations at the university.
“Historically, YSU-sponsored research activity has been very strong and successful. We are challenging ourselves to expand and increase research opportunities for our faculty and students,” Hripko said. “Our main goal is to increase the number and breadth of successful funding proposals and provide meaningful research experiences for our faculty and students.”
Hripko added that he wants to give students a strong understanding of what research is and why it’s important to achieve maximum funding for projects around campus.
“Research is discovery; it’s scholarly activity; it’s knowledge creation; its problem solving; it’s innovation in the humanities and the arts and the sciences,” Hripko said. “It’s not just the sciences. We tend to think of research as sciences, but they are doing great work in psychology and the arts, and in education, humanities and business. Every discipline has an opportunity to be involved in research.”
Hripko said that sponsors for big research projects give grants to universities and explained the benefit of obtaining a grant.
“Sponsors will have research needs and they’ll say, ‘These are problems that we need help solving and we’re open to your good ideas,’ so they issue a request for proposals, and then we have limited amount of time between that announcement and the due date to deliver a response to that request,” Hripko said. “You don’t get a grant to patch a pothole. You get a grant to develop a new pothole patching process with sustainability. [Sponsors] very rarely say, ‘Here’s a problem, we’re buying a solution,’ they’re really looking for a solution mechanism. They really want game-changing, life-changing type of things.”
He explained that he would help to streamline the grant process as associate vice president.
“[The grant process] seems to be not well documented. I think it’s important that we document the process and make it easy to follow,” Hripko said. “Also, we want to be very supportive of faculty and students who are pursuing research. It takes a lot of effort on their part and the last thing we want to do is be a hindrance to them.”
Hripko said that students could get involved in the research and grant process if they have good ideas and a faculty co-signer.
“We generally fund faculty members that employs and advantages students,” Hripko said. “But, [the proposal] is generally written and put together by a PhD, by a professor, by someone who has done a thesis in the past. Students can assist [in writing] and will certainly assist when implementing and executing the project.”