TAMIU Receives $335,709 NSF Grant

TAMIU Project Receives $335,709
National Science Foundation Grant

A Texas A&M International University project to study the relationships between East Asian (Japan, Singapore and Taiwan) graduate students and their mentors and how they influence scientific innovation secured funding from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science of Science and Innovation Policy Program (SciSIP).

The NSF announced it awarded a grant of $335,709 to TAMIU for support of the project, “MOD — Transmission of Tacit Skills in East Asian Graduate Science Programs.”

“This Project examines doctoral training practices critical to the transmission of skills acquired through close interaction and hands-on experience, also known as ‘tacit skills,’ ” stated principal investigator (PI), Dr. Marcus Antonius Ynalvez, TAMIU assistant professor of sociology.

The Project team includes three TAMIU faculty members: Dr. Ynalvez as PI, Dr. John C. Kilburn, co-principal investigator, and Dr. Ruby Ynalvez, co-investigator.

It addresses a crucial area in the globalization of science regarding what practices the U.S. can learn from East Asian graduate programs that train future scientists.

“While there is a standard set of accepted scientific principles shared by most scientists, there are also differences in terms of what is learned and how it is taught. The countries being studied are not only important economic trading partners and research collaborators, but are also models to study and learn from,” wrote PI Dr. Ynalvez in the Project abstract.

Contemporary research shows that the nature of informal educational practices is not only conducive to the acquisition of “tacit skills,” but also enhances professional competencies and skills.

The Project seeks to understand and advance knowledge in the acquisition and transmission of “tacit skills” through the study of graduate science training by exploring students’ relationships and interactions with their peers and mentors.

“The Project’s core hypothesis is that the student-mentor relationships significantly configure levels of scientific creativity, pioneering discoveries, technical innovation and research productivity,” continued Ynalvez in the abstract.

“The Project not only advances understanding of how ‘tacit skills’ are transmitted, but also involves the active participation of students from under-represented Hispanic populations located along the U.S.-Mexico border. This participation exposes and socializes them to actual multicultural research work and to professional scientific careers critical to socioeconomic development of the U.S. southern border regions,” said Ynalvez about the Project’s broader impacts.

For more information, please contact Dr. Marcus Antonius Ynalvez at mynalvez@tamiu.edu or 326.2621 or visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, room 313F.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu