Record Research Funding Earned in 2007-08

December 17, 2008

Grows By $75 Million over Past Five Years

By Todd Simmons

Oregon State University scholars earned more than $231 million in external research funding in the 2007-08 fiscal year, nearly 11 percent more than the previous year. The $25 million jump continued an upward trend in OSU research funding, which has grown by some $75 million over the past five years.

Linus Pauling Institute

OSU scientists will delve into topics such as aging and disease prevention in the new Linus Pauling Science Center. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009.

Externally Funded Awards, Fiscal Year 2007 – 2008

These revenues contribute to OSU's $1.5 billion impact on Oregon's economy and represent growth in nearly every OSU college and interdisciplinary centers and programs. Examples include:

  • $6 million to the Linus Pauling Institute from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine for a range of studies on micronutrients and health
  • $1.6 million from the National Science Foundation to the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences to administer the national EarthScope program
  • $1.5 million from the U.S. Dept. of Education to College of Health and Human Sciences researcher Brian Flay, a professor of public health, to study the effectiveness of Positive Action, a character-building program aimed at youth

Increases by College

Grants to the College of Agricultural Sciences ($37.3 million, including agricultural experiment stations) and the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences ($30.6 million) topped the list of revenues.

The College of Science experienced the most growth of any individual area, with contracts and grants increasing to $20.7 million, up $5.6 million from the prior year. The College of Engineering recorded a similar surge, with funding increasing to nearly $22.9 million - a spike of about $5.3 million.

Research funding at the College of Health and Human Sciences grew to $15 million, up $3.7 million. And the College of Agricultural Sciences and the agricultural experiment stations garnered a whopping $37.6 million in funding, growing by some $3.4 million.

In total, the university expended more than $195 million on research activities in 2007-08 - more than in any prior year and up some $4 million from 2006-07. (Expenditures are based largely on previous-year awards.)

"Oregon State University scientists are not only highly competitive with their peers nationally in earning research funding, but are recognized for the quality of their studies by scientists who cite OSU research in conducting their own work," said OSU President Ed Ray. "The Carnegie Foundation has recognized that success by making OSU the only Oregon university ranked in its top tier for research universities, and it is extremely gratifying to see how our faculty members have built upon that reputation in the recently completed fiscal year."

Endangered Salmon

Among the 1,279 awards earned by OSU researchers in 2007-08 - up from 1,242 last year - was a $1-million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Dan Roby, a professor in OSU's highly ranked Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife Management, for research on the impact of Caspian terns on juvenile salmon in the Columbia River Estuary. The research seeks to relocate the largest Caspian tern colony in the world to Crump Lake north of Lakeview, Oregon, where it is believed the birds would have a much lesser negative effect on those endangered fish.

Wavemaker

Grants included funds for critical equipment that raise OSU's ability to support future studies. For instance, OSU's Hinsdale Wave Laboratory - the largest research facility of its kind globally - will build a new "wavemaker" that simulates hurricane-generated waves. Support came from a $1.13 million National Science Foundation grant. Likewise, a research group headed by College of Science professor Rich Carter earned a $711,000 NSF grant for a 700MHz nuclear resonance spectrometer and $400,000 from the Murdock Charitable Trust to purchase additional spectrometers. The new equipment significantly increases OSU's capacity for complex chemistry research, as well as studies in related disciplines.

"Grants from federal agencies represent the most competitive funding arena for sponsored research, and those awards make up 59 percent of our competitive external funding," said OSU Vice President for Research John Cassady. "Those awards can and often do include funding for scientific equipment, so they are not only important to the research project at hand but to growing OSU's capacity for research in general."

Licensing Revenue

Revenue stemming from technology licenses, an indicator of research impact on business, also grew last year. OSU inventions earned nearly $2.6 million in licensing or "technology transfer" income, up from $2.5 million last year. Such income has grown by more than $1.1 million over the past five years. OSU also reported 70 invention disclosures last year, almost double the 37 disclosures in 2003-04.

The university earns licensing revenue from, among other things, patented varieties of wheat and other crop plants and such high-tech innovations as transparent electronics being used to create a new type of solar energy collector.

Externally Funded Awards
Externally Funded Awards, Fiscal Year 2007 - 2008