Utah State University’s total research awards increased to $132.7 million this past year, up $9 million from the previous year, for an increase of 7.8 percent. The latest research awards information encompasses fiscal year 2006-2007.
In addition to the research awards, USU was awarded $18.5 million for student fellowships and financial aid in the past year, bringing the total for all awards to $151.2 million.
USU’s research funding comes from several public and private sources. Of the $132.7 million, $85.7 million (64.5 percent) comes from federal sources; $26 million (19.6 percent) comes from private sources; $19 million (14.3 percent) comes from state sources; and $2 million (1.6 percent) comes from local sources.
Federal sources that provide USU with funding are the U.S. Department of Defense ($23.9 million); NASA ($22 million); U.S. Department of Agriculture ($11.3 million); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($10.5 million); National Science Foundation ($6.1 million); U.S. Department of Education ($4.3 million); U.S. Department of Interior ($3.6 million); and other federal sources ($4 million).
USU is ranked in the top 20 among land-grant universities in the nation and in the top 10 non-medical land-grant universities for federal research revenue generated, according to the National Science Foundation’s report based on fiscal year 2004 research expenditures. USU ranks first among all universities in the nation in money spent on aerospace research and development, according to NSF data. USU’s College of Education and Human Services ranks number two in the nation in total research awards behind Columbia University.
“Our success in obtaining grants and contracts reflects our stellar research faculty who submit proposals and receive funding in a highly competitive environment,” USU President Stan L. Albrecht said. “These are faculty who are recognized as being at the top of their fields.”
In addition to research contracts and grants, the increase in funding also comes from awards for international education and training, USU Vice President for Research Brent Miller said.
“Part of our success comes from our USU faculty, and another part of our growth comes from scientists and engineers at USU’s Space Dynamics Lab,” Miller said. “In some years, one or two major SDL awards account for much of the difference in funding from the prior year. Our research funding went down in 2004. This drop reflected the discontinuation of a very large U.S. Department of Defense contract at SDL. Fortunately, we have resumed an upward trajectory after that decline.”
While most of the funding for USU research comes from federal sources, private sources make up almost 20 percent of the total research funding. These sources include private industries, private foundations and other international government sources.
“The research conducted by our faculty is a very important benefit for our students because that cutting-edge knowledge carries over into the classroom,” said USU Executive Vice President and Provost Raymond Coward. “Many professors at USU have active programs of research that parallel their teaching assignments and enrich the experiences of our students. Such professors have the ability to provide students with knowledge and insights that simply cannot be found in any text. This adds real value to their learning experience.”
Sponsored research is critically important in other ways too, Miller said. Research grants lead to discovery and the growth of knowledge, and contracts often are designed to produce specific answers and solve practical problems in society. Research and scholarly work provide opportunities for students, and research-based experiential learning gives USU students an advantage in the job market.
Miller said most award funds are used to pay direct costs to perform the objectives of grants or the scope of work in contracts. Research awards are critically important for a research university because they help pay faculty, student assistants and other professional and technical personnel who work on the sponsored projects. They also help provide equipment, travel and operational costs. Most grants and contracts help pay a portion of the overhead, or facilities and administrative costs, involved in doing research.
“Research at Utah State University continues to grow and expand each year,” said Miller. “As our faculty and students answer questions and solve problems, they provide expertise and innovation throughout society. With the research conducted at our university, we are securing our future by creating knowledge and solutions that benefit not just USU, but the state, the nation and the world.”
For more information on USU’s Research, visit the USU Research Web site