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IU awarded $533 million in grant money, approaches record of $604 million


By Michelle Sokol




For the third time in history, IU has received more than $500 million in externally funded research and related program awards in a single year.

IU was awarded $533 million in grants and awards for research in fiscal year 2012, the second-highest annual total ever recorded at the University behind $604 million in 2010.

It was an increase of 9.2 percent from last year.

“IU faculty should be justifiably proud of their success in securing sponsored program awards this year,” Vice President for Research Jorge José said. “The most important element is to have the right faculty, the right researchers, that are able to be very successful against their peers. Of course, IU is one of very few universities that are in the top echelon.”

Federal organizations, such as the National Science Foundation, are generally the top source for external funding.

“Now competition is tougher because of the federal deficit,” José said.

Despite a dwindling research budget from the United States government, IU faculty continue to secure funding for a variety of research projects.

This year, awards from federal agencies comprised $265.1 million, or 49.7 percent, of the total.

Within the last few months alone there have been numerous multi-million dollar grants, including $3 million awarded to a School of Medicine scientist to develop a nasal spray antidote for suicidal thoughts among soldiers.

Additionally, Hannah Schertz with the School of Education was awarded $3.5 million by the U.S. Department of Education  to improve communication for toddlers with autism spectrum disorders.

“The selection of this project as one of just 19 proposals nationally to receive major funding from the federal Institute on Education Services under the National Center for Special Education Research underscores the quality of the research team and importance of the investigation,” Dean of the IU School of Education Gerardo Gonzalez said.

The project will require principal investigator Schertz to work with colleagues at two other universities, and José said such collaboration is not unusual.

He noted several current grants were awarded in conjunction with other universities and institutions.

The more common form of collaboration, however, is within the University.

“One of the things that we have been trying to do is be more competitive for very large grants,” José said. “First, you have to get the faculty together to see if they can collaborate, and then we give them resources.”

The Office of Research Administration ensures faculty members receive the resources necessary to secure funding.

José said he works with researchers to find laboratory space and libraries as well as provide internal options for funding.

Despite the office’s assistance to faculty, José emphasized it is the faculty members’ brainpower and initiative that resulted in funding. McRobbie agreed.

“This is exceptional news for Indiana University and reflects the remarkable work being conducted by our faculty, staff and students,” he said in a press release. “Work that is improving our state, nation and world and transforming lives.”

The $533 million in grants actually awarded is only a fraction of the faculty’s efforts.

In 2012, IU faculty members submitted proposals for external funding totaling more than $922 million.

Proposals from the Bloomington campus increased by 17.6 percent from fiscal year 2011.

“We just have to be imaginative, innovative,” José said. “That’s how we got the second-largest amount of money ever. This is a very good year, and I can only hope to have a better year next year.”

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