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A Message from CIRED Executive Director Van Crowder

It is with great pleasure that I announce that the Office of International Research, Education and Development (OIRED) has become the Center for International Research, Education and Development (CIRED). We are planning an official CIRED launch in early February, so stay tuned and come help us celebrate! 

It is also with pleasure that we introduce this electronic newsletter – CIRED Connect.  With its publication, we will keep our audiences updated about how we support and advance Virginia Tech’s global mission.

The impetus for the transition to a center is an expanded vision of the opportunities available to draw together multidisciplinary faculty members and student teams to develop effective responses to complex global problems. Propelled by the University’s renewed focus on international collaboration, CIRED is central to strategic approaches and practical models for international engagement to position Virginia Tech as a pre‐eminent global land‐grant university. 

Public land-grant universities such as Virginia Tech make important contributions to solving the challenges of sustainable development. They do so through research and technological innovation; engagement with outside partners and local communities; and by training students to be the next generation of global problem solvers. The articles in this newsletter highlight CIRED’s work with colleges, departments, institutes and other centers across campus to address sustainable development challenges.      

Since its creation in 1991 as the Office for International Development, what is now CIRED has brought in more than $182 million in sponsored funding. Its current portfolio is $70 million. We are constantly pursuing new opportunities to engage faculty members, students, and staff in international research, teaching and development.

The funding landscape for international development is dynamic and is highly competitive. To thrive in this environment, CIRED is pursuing a diversified portfolio that targets foundations and corporations in addition to our traditional strength in competing for projects from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Part of this strategy requires identifying areas of excellence within Virginia Tech that make us valued problem solvers in the development community and give us a competitive advantage in attracting funding.

In countries where we have a history of engagement, we are striving to stay there. Senegal is an example. The USAID-funded Education and Research in Agriculture (ERA) project was originally a five-year award (2011-2016). ERA was given a two-year extension and recently we were awarded a 5-year spin-off project, Youth in Agriculture. Through the university unit that is now CIRED, Virginia Tech has done natural resource management, agriculture, and education work in Senegal for over 20 years. Since the beginning of ERA, more than 20 VT professionals have worked in Senegal. We have hosted thirteen Senegalese graduate students and supported overseas research by three U.S. graduate students. Dozens of undergraduate students have expanded their understanding of the developing world from faculty initiatives that sprung from ERA.  We plan to be working with our Senegalese colleagues and partners not only for the next five years, but also for many decades to come. 

CIRED – helping Virginia Tech engage beyond our campus, Virginia, and our nation’s boundaries.  

-Van Crowder

Executive Director, CIRED

Van Crowder