Rochester Institute of Technology-sponsored research fellowships topped $ 76 million for fiscal year 2020-2021, another milestone despite challenges to research efforts brought on by the pandemic.
This follows several years where the university recorded record amounts for new scholarships of $ 82 million and $ 74 million in 2020 and 2019, respectively. In addition, the university also set a new record in terms of the number (779) and cumulative value ($ 246 million) of proposals submitted.
Of the new scholarships, more than $ 38 million came from the federal government. The National Science Foundation (NSF) was the biggest sponsor with $ 10.6 million. Other major federal funding sources include the Department of Defense ($ 9.4 million) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which includes the National Institutes for Health (NIH) at $ 7.5 million. of dollars.
The total sources of research funding at RIT this year were broad, involving professors from across the university, said Ryne Raffaelle, vice president of research and associate vice president of RIT.
âThe days of sponsored research dominated by one or two of RIT’s nine colleges are over. We are seeing an increase in proposals and rewards at several of our colleges. This is fantastic, for our continued growth as a research university, and gives us greater flexibility to respond to changing sponsor funding priorities, âsaid Raffaelle.
The steady increase in funding scholarships is also an indication of how far the university has come since 2018-2019, when RIT moved to the R2 category – high research activity – of the Carnegie classification of higher education institutions. Based on the NSF Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) ranking, which ranks universities based on their research spending, RIT is now among the top 50 private research universities and the top 20 for universities without a medical center.
Some of the 2020-21 milestones for the university and its individual faculty researchers include:
- The professors were recognized this year as the research division inducted 13 new members into the RIT Principal Investigator Millionaire Club. Along with these new inductees, RIT has 115 âmillionairesâ – faculty with awards totaling $ 1 million or more since 2010.
- RIT has also added three new National Science Foundation CAREER Prize winners â Pratik Dholabhai, Rui Li, and Christopher Kanan â to the list of faculty members recognized as future innovators and leaders advancing promising research. RIT has had 16 in the past 15 years.
- RIT researchers won the largest block of time for research on the James Webb Space Telescope. Assistant Professor Jeyhan Kartaltepe is the Principal Investigator of COSMOS-Webb, the largest General Observer Program selected for the James Webb Space Telescope in 2022.
- Faculty members of Saunders College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts received Fulbright US Scholar Program scholarships to travel abroad and conduct research at partner universities. The international exchange program will send Emi Moriuchi and Jessica Hardin to Japan and New Zealand, respectively.
- The NIH Award for Enhancing Gender Diversity of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Faculty was given to recognize initiatives adopted to effect systemic change in diversity and gender equity among faculty members within their biomedical and behavioral science departments, centers or divisions.
- NSF awarded a grant for the “ADVANCE Partnership: Building Community Understanding of the Institutional Compensation System” project, a $ 1.3 million collaboration with campus faculty leaders Carol Marchetti, Iris Rivero and Margaret Bailey and university partners Drexel, Gallaudet and Villanova.
Funding sponsored research improves laboratory capacity
Funding through the NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program enables researchers to acquire specific instruments for research and experimentation. The equipment also benefits students who gain practical skills using the facilities in the workplace. Access to faculty expertise and various state-of-the-art facilities also benefits partner companies that look to universities such as RIT for research and development support and employee training.
RIT received two NSF MRI awards during the year:
- Acquisition of a micro-transfer printer for the heterogeneous integration of electronic / photonic microsystems: A team led by Karl Hirschman, professor of microelectronic engineering, at the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at RIT, received $ 200,000 for the acquisition of an X-Celeprint micro transfer printer system for the transfer of devices from a variety of different source substrate materials and shapes. factors (e.g. platelets of different sizes, small pieces, individual die, etc.)
- Acquisition of a computing system for large simulation data sets for multi-messenger astrophysics: A team led by Manuela Campanelli, professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences of the College of Sciences of RIT, received $ 230,000 for the acquisition of a new data storage and analysis cluster to support research in multi-messenger astrophysics.
âWe have had an incredible track record with this program having received 14 of these highly competitive national awards over the past 12 years,â said Katherine Clark, Director of Sponsored Research Services. âThe success of this particular program is extremely important because it ensures that our students, staff and faculty-researchers have access to the best research tools available today. Our success with this program is certainly one of the elements that has contributed to the rapid growth of RIT as a research institution.