University holds annual salute to campus researchers

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A. Sue Weisler

Manjeet Rege, right, assistant professor of computer science, is congratulated by David Bond, director of Sponsored Research Services, for participation in RIT’s PI Institute series. Rege was among dozens of RIT researchers recognized at yesterday’s PI Reception.

Call it a sign of the times. With an increase in research activity taking place at RIT, organizers of the annual Principal Investigators Reception, held yesterday afternoon in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences auditorium and atrium, were forced to alter their program.

“In previous years, we have included people who submitted proposals,” states David Bond, director of Sponsored Research Services. “Now, we have so many people winning awards that we had to narrow the list to those who won awards that were active in calendar year 2008.”

A total of 309 faculty and staff, serving as either principal investigators or co-principal investigators, were recognized for taking part in sponsored research activity last year. RIT continues to attract higher levels of annual funding. In fiscal year 2008, the total reached $48.5 million. That tally has topped $30 million for this fiscal year, which concludes June 30.

As part of yesterday’s presentation, RIT President Bill Destler recognized the 2008 PI Millionaires, a group of principal investigators whose individual cumulative funding since 2000 has recently exceeded $1 million. The new millionaires include Steven Day, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering; Joel Kastner, associate professor of imaging science in the College of Science; John Kerekes, associate professor of imaging science in the College of Science; and Manian Ramkumar, director of the Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly, College of Applied Science and Technology. The group joins 47 other RIT millionaires previously recognized with this distinction.<./p>

Don Boyd, RIT vice president for research, acknowledged the first recipients of the Grant Writers’ Boot Camp seed funding. Participants to that annual event held last November came with proposals for pilot research project. The six chosen to receive seed funding were Joseph Baschnagel and Lindsay Schenkel, assistant professors of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts; Michael Coleman, visiting assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Science; Betsy Dell, assistant professor of manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology in the College of Applied Science and Technology; Andre Hudson, assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science; and Christopher Kurz, assistant professor of secondary education in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

James DeCaro, professor and director of Postsecondary Education Network International, offered the reception’s keynote address discussing insights on NTID’s partnership with the Nippon Foundation.