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UTA, Botanical Research Institute of Texas partner to spur discoveries in plant science, job creation

College of Science
Taking part in the official memorandum of understanding signing were, left to right: Clay Clark, UTA biology department chair; College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi; UTA President Vistasp Karbhari; BRIT President and Executive Director Ed Schneider; Ed Bass, vice chair BRIT Board of Directors; Greg Bird, chair BRIT Board of Directors. Photo courtesy of Gary Logan.

Two of Tarrant County’s leading research institutions have formed a distinctive partnership with an eye on future job creation and greater sustainability through discoveries in plant and environmental sciences.

The University of Texas at Arlington and The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) announced they are collaborating to offer expanded research opportunities for graduate level studies. The research jointly conducted by UTA students, faculty and BRIT scientists could lead to higher crop yields, disease-resistant crop varieties, cheaper food, new biofuels and an improved understanding of the earth’s plant biodiversity.

Advancements achieved by this enhanced research capacity will lead to job growth in the fields of environmental and plant science and sustainability.

UTA and BRIT cemented the agreement at the signing of a memorandum of understanding on January 30.

“This is a significant step in furthering of collaboration between UTA and leading institutions in the metroplex,” said Morteza Khaledi, dean of UTA’s College of Science. “This affiliation will enable our faculty and students to access one of the United States’ largest collections of plant specimens which is housed at BRIT while creating new opportunities for our renowned faculty to work with BRIT scientists to contribute to advances in emerging scientific fields.”

The strategic visions of UTA and BRIT are similarly aligned. The institutions share a deep commitment to solving critical environmental challenges faced not just in the emerging megacity both call home but also on a global scale.

Building sustainable urban communities while mitigating global environmental impact are key points of UTA’s Strategic Plan 2020 Bold Solutions|Global Impact. And while BRIT is dedicated to finding sustainable solutions for a changing environment, it is also working to train future plant scientists.

“Our collaboration with UTA is a perfect example of BRIT’s focus on the future through the critical impact of botany on science and society,” said Ed Schneider, president and executive director of BRIT. “Because of this forward-thinking relationship, hundreds of biology students will now have access to one of a kind research and exceptional field staff, as well as more than a million plant specimens through our herbarium.”

He added, “As BRIT approaches its 30th anniversary, we are keenly focused on how we can make plants more approachable for all people. The findings that will undoubtedly arise through our partnership with UTA will touch thousands of lives through the coming years.”

UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said this agreement signifies another step in leveraging the strengths of our metroplex.

“This is what urban research institutions do,” Karbhari said. “As Tarrant County’s Carnegie Classification R-1 University, we are building partnerships and designing collaborations with partners like BRIT to leverage the strength of the community. This partnership means not just new opportunities for students, but the potential for discovery that can impact Texas and beyond.”

The University’s College of Science’s graduate programs in biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physics and psychology are included on U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 “Best Graduate Schools” list.

About the College of Science

The UTA College of Science is addressing the nation’s pressing need for a larger and better-prepared STEM work force. The College has 42 undergraduate and graduate degree offerings in six departments and is equipping future leaders in science through award-winning classroom teaching and lab training. The College’s internationally acclaimed faculty is leading the way in innovative research and is finding solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems. Visit to learn more about how the College of Science is changing the world through education and research.

About the Botanical Research Institute of Texas

BRIT is a non-profit, international research and education center that conserves and protects plant specimens, studies living plants, and teaches about their importance to the world. The institute is located in Fort Worth and provides a forum to convene conversations about critical environmental issues. BRIT’s scientists and educators work together in achieving the organization’s two-fold mission of conservation and education. Its scientists travel the globe investigating habitats, finding rare and endangered plant species, and understanding the interactions between humans and the environment. BRIT educators create new ways to turn information into knowledge through outdoor discovery, discussion, and experiential learning for both students and teachers. BRIT is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. For more information, visit