December 13, 2010

Research funding tops $78 million, sets record

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Researchers and staff at Southern Illinois University Carbondale brought in a record amount of grant and contract money during the 2010 fiscal year, garnering more than $78 million for research, training and other activities.

The total amount of $78.45 million is 15 percent more than the $69.2 million total for last fiscal year and also beats a previous top year of fiscal 2000, which totaled $78.1 million but included a one-time $25 million grant.

“This is a significant achievement that reflects the talent and dedication of our scholars and researchers,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “They are conducting meaningful, cutting-edge research that improves lives. In addition, the impact of research dollars is felt well beyond the campus. Grant awards support our faculty and our students. But those funds also are used to purchase the equipment and supplies essential to research. The positive and significant economic impact is felt through the region.”

John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School, said the funds ensure SIUC faculty remain at the forefront of research while providing students with world-class experiences that prepare them well for the future.

“Faculty members at SIUC are engaged in research on virtually every continent in the world, including Antarctica,” Koropchak said. “That helps our students to realize that they can compete with the best anywhere and that there is no limit to what they can accomplish.”

SIUC brought in more than $40.7 million exclusively for research-related activities; another all-time record that tops the previous fiscal year’s total of $35.1 million by 16 percent. Also, the amount of $31.8 million brought in from federal sources is another record and trounced last year’s total by 26 percent.

Koropchak credited increased funding for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, as well as federal stimulus spending, with having a major impact on the increased federal receipts by the University.

Not counting funds that went to the financial aid office, SIUC received about $9.7 million for training programs, which include programs such as the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant from the NSF. IGERT will fund a six-year effort train up to 20 leading watershed scientists while they earn their doctorates at SIUC.

The University brought in more than $28 million for other activities, which will fund programs such as Head Start.

Breaking the overall total down by source, the University received $31.8 from federal sources, about $27 million from the state, about $3.5 million from private industry, more than $2.3 million from the SIU Foundation and about $13.9 million from other sources.

“Our increasing competitiveness for federal, state and private dollars is the result of our academic excellence,” Cheng said. “ Enrollment in the Graduate School has been growing in recent years because of this enhanced reputation. Our University also is unique in the research and creative experiences we make available to undergraduates, and the research enterprise creates many wonderful opportunities for students to explore and contribute.”