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October 14, 2010

CCNY Research Funding Grows 24.3 Percent to $69.1 Million



Professor of Civil Engineering John Fillos, left, conducts process performance and optimization projects for water pollution control plants under a grant from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Second Consecutive 20 Percent-Plus Yearly Gain Puts College Over Strategic Goal Two Years Early

For the second consecutive year, funded research programs at The City College of New York experienced gains in excess of 20 percent.  Awards for the 2009 – 2010 academic year totaled $69.1 million, a 24.3 percent gain from the prior year, according to the College’s Office of Research Administration.

With its new level of funding, City College has exceeded, two years early, a target of $65 million set for 2012 in its most recent strategic plan.  The 24.3 percent growth rate for the year also bested the 2008 – 2009 academic year, when funded research increased by 22.5 percent to $55.6 million from $45.4 million.

“City College’s strong commitment to research programs has contributed to the significant growth in funding that we have been experiencing over the past two years,” said Regina Masterson, director of research administration.   

The gains were led by CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering, which reported a 61 percent year-over-year increase to $34.7 million of funded research.  The College’s Division of Science had 16 percent year-over-year growth to $16.5 million.  Research funding for the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education grew by approximately $1 million to $4.7 million.

The federal government is the largest funder of research programs at CCNY, contributing $48 million, or 69.5 percent of the total, up from $37.1 million the prior year.  Of that figure, the National Institutes of Health accounted for one third, the National Science Foundation for 31 percent, the Department of Defense for 8.8 percent and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for 6.8 percent.

New York City agencies were the second largest source of support, with $9.9 million in awards. Of that amount, 55.8 percent came from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, 17.4 percent from the Department of Education and 8.1 percent from the Human Resources Administration.

Research program funding from New York State totaled $3.4 million, down 20.9 percent from the prior year, of which the New York State Department of Education accounted for approximately half.  However, this loss was partially offset by a 10 percent increase in funding from foundations and corporations to $7.4 million from $6.7 million.

“Faculty continue to submit highly competitive proposals, which I am sure will lead to even better results next year,” Ms. Masterson added, noting that grants for the first two months of the 2010 – 2011 academic year totaled $15 million.

The increased number of research proposals submitted by City College faculty is a dividend of CUNY’s decision to fund fellowships for graduate students in the sciences and engineering, said Dr. Larry Bank, associate provost for research. “When faculty know they have a supply of graduate students, they are more likely to write grants.  CUNY’s commitment to our growing graduate student population takes a tremendous burden off the faculty.”

Dr. Bank, who came to City College in September from the National Science Foundation in a newly created position, is charged with administering research programs at the College and improving research operations before and after grants are awarded.  One of his mandates is to promote greater interdisciplinary collaboration by “bringing together people to seek out exciting (funding) opportunities that best reflect the school’s research strengths.”

To encourage interdisciplinary research collaborations, President Lisa Staiano-Coico will offer 10 seed grants of up to $50,000 to City College faculty members.  More than 100 faculty members have worked on 36 proposals under consideration for the awards, which are to be announced in early November, Dr. Bank said.

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