By Andrea Gibson
Ohio University's external funding for research and sponsored programs climbed from $57.2 million to $71.6 million during fiscal year 2007. The figure includes a major award for economic development and gains in funding for science and engineering research.
Research dollars rose 11.5 percent, from $25.6 million in fiscal year 2006 to $28.6 million in 2007. Non-research sponsored program funding rose 37 percent, from $31.5 million in fiscal year 2006 to $43 million in 2007. This category includes educational and service activities such as literacy programs, clinical health services and community outreach initiatives.
Jim Rankin, interim vice president for research, said he's pleased with the rise in external funding in 2007, but points out that the university's strategic, long-term growth in this area also is an important marker of success. The awards report shows Ohio University has grown steadily in research and non-research funding over the past 10 years, doubling in that time period.
University faculty and staff also have become more aggressive about pursuing external funding in the past decade. The number of submitted grant proposals grew from 652 in 1997 to 1,019 in 2007 -- the latter figure up from 930 in 2006. The number of awards climbed from 610 in 2006 to 657 in 2007.
As for fiscal year 2007 gains in the area of research, the College of Arts and Sciences recorded a $3.4 million funding increase through new grants awarded to several of its science departments, with the biggest gains in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Environmental and Plant Biology.
Notable grants in those areas include a $2.8 million National Institutes of Health award to faculty for research on how the body regulates its sense of balance. The Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute also reached $1 million in annual funding for various awards for nanoscience research.
The Russ College of Engineering and Technology also saw an increase in research funding in the past year. Support for the Avionics Engineering Center rose from $6 million to $6.8 million. The Ohio Coal Research Center doubled its research funding to $2.4 million, which includes several awards for fuel cell research. Funding for the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology, which studies oil pipeline corrosion, climbed from $951,000 to $1.5 million last year.
In the area of non-research sponsored programs, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs received $6.6 million for the Entrepreneurial Signature Program, which stimulates economic development in Appalachian Ohio. In addition, the university received funding to assist with the construction of the Academic and Research Center, a facility for engineering and medical research and teaching on West Green.
The humanities also saw increased support in some areas. The Department of English, for example, recorded $75,000 in grants for an Appalachian writing project, a poetry summer institute, a literacy program and the literary journal Quarter After Eight.
"It's exciting to see funding increases not only in science and engineering, but in humanities areas such as English," Rankin said. "Our growth in the number of proposals submitted for external funding also is impressive. That sets the stage for possible funding increases in future years."
The university's total external funding for research and sponsored programs includes awards from federal and state agencies, industry and nonprofit foundations. Though competition for federal dollars is at an all-time high, Ohio University increased its federal funding by 12 percent ($3 million) last year.
A PDF of the 2007 awards report is available online at www.research.ohiou.edu/upload_files/files/awardsreport_FY07.pdf
Updated at 1:07 p.m. Thursday, March 13, 2008.