Competitive grants up 21%

WSU received $184.2 million in new grant awards in the 2003-2004 fiscal year, breaking the record set the previous year by nearly 16 percent.< “This is a great tribute to the outstanding faculty members here at Washington State University. As a public research institution, we have an important responsibility to perform the research, public service and outreach necessary to expand the frontiers of knowledge and to build the economy of our state. I’m pleased by our continued success in that effort,” said V. Lane Rawlins, WSU president.

Of the $184.2 million, more than $151 million was awarded through competitive grants and contracts, an increase of 21 percent over 2002-2003. The balance of the funds came to WSU through state legislative appropriations and through federal appropriations for research, public service and engagement activities associated with WSU’s status as a land-grant institution.

The largest recipient of the funds, as measured by both the number of awards and their total dollar value, was the Agricultural Research Center, which received new awards totaling more than $55.9 million. Other major recipients were the College of Sciences ($30 million), WSU Extension ($26.3 million), the College of Veterinary Medicine ($20.6 million) and the College of Engineering and Architecture ($16.4 million).

Awards to faculty at urban campuses are also rising rapidly, includeing WSU Spokane ($7.5 million), WSU Tri-Cities ($6.3 million) and WSU Vancouver ($1.6 million).

Of the sponsored awards, eight were valued at more than $2 million each.

“These large awards reflect the changing landscape,” said Jim Petersen, WSU vice provost for research. “Funding agencies are interested not only in individual research awards, but also in larger, collaborative awards that have a high impact on the institution, state and nation. WSU faculty members are responding extremely well to this challenge, and are developing large awards while still maintaining excellence in individual research.”

The large awards show the range of WSU’s activities in the state. For example, the Department of Education provided more than $2.2 million for a Gear Up grant designed to better prepare children of migrant workers in the Columbia Basin for college; the Paul Allen Foundation provided $3.75 million for the development of climate-friendly farms; the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Energy provided more than $9.4 million for shock physics research, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $2.2 million, through the WSU Foundation, for work connecting schools and communities via modern digital technologies.

“WSU faculty members are extremely competitive with a variety of funding sources,” said WSU Provost Robert Bates. “This reduces the impact when the budget for one agency is reduced, and allows our faculty to respond when the budget at another agency grows, enabling a balanced portfolio of activities.”

Of the sponsored program funds, the Department of Health and Human Services, of which the National Institutes of Health is a part, remains the largest source of funds for WSU, providing some $20.6 million. Others which provided significant funds include state government ($18 million), the U.S. Department of Agriculture ($17 million), the U.S. Department of Defense ($15 million), the U.S. Department of Energy ($12 million) and the National Science Foundation ($10 million).

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