Research funding drives OSU’s educational and scientific mission. Support from state and federal agencies, private foundations and government appropriations makes it possible for faculty to test new solutions to practical problems and pursue fundamental questions at the edge of science, the arts and the humanities. It helps students, both graduate and undergraduate, expand their horizons and hone their skills. OSU’s success in increasingly rigorous competition provides students with research experience that translates into job skills after graduation. And funding fuels collaborative projects in support of Oregon’s expanding marine, farm, forest and high–tech industries.
Since 2003, OSU research expenditures have risen 9 percent, from $174.7 million to $191.2 million. Expenditures include salaries, equipment purchases and project operations. Spending from private gifts to OSU increased by 36 percent from FY06 to FY07.
Last year, OSU received $206,014,022 in sponsored funding from public and private sources, including state and federal appropriations for Extension and research cooperatives. The National Science Foundation is OSU’s single largest source of support, followed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Licensing new technologies enables innovations to move into the marketplace. OSU received a record $2.5 million in licensing income in FY07. Two new commercial agreements focus on public health and safety by protecting the quality of water and food:
Pathogens and nutrients from fecal pollution degrade aquatic ecosystems, pose health risks and affect recreation and fisheries. A unique method developed by Katharine Field of OSU’s Department of Microbiology and Agricultural Experiment Station detects con–tamination and distinguishes the sources via ribosomal genes from bacteria. The benefit: more rapid identification of water pollution causes and potential solutions. OSU licensed the technology to IEH Laboratories in Washington state.
A fresh OSU innovation: a thin film that prevents spoilage and can be eaten along with the food it wraps. When fortified with vitamins and minerals, it even adds nutritional value. The biodegradable, antimicrobial packaging developed by Yanyun Zhao and Mark Daeschel of OSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology has been licensed to Saint Simeon Marketing e Investimentos Lda of Portugal. Application possibilities: packaging for ready–to–eat meats and cheese, and coatings for sliced fruits and vegetables.
OSU food technologist Yanyun Zhao worked with microbiologist Mark Daeschel to create a coating that can keep fresh fruits and vegetables from spoiling. Two key ingredients: chitosan from shellfish and lysozyme from egg whites.