Sponsored Research garners $47 million in funding

Portfolio grew 10 percent; a record 400 new awards granted in fiscal year 2013

RIT received more than 400 new awards in the fiscal year 2013. The National Science Foundation alone is currently funding 120 active, multi-year RIT research projects totaling $28 million.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s sponsored research portfolio grew by almost 10 percent in fiscal year 2013, exceeding $47 million in funding.

RIT received more than 400 new awards in the fiscal year 2013 from a variety of state, federal, corporate and foundation sponsors — a record for the university. The National Science Foundation alone is currently funding 120 active, multi-year RIT research projects totaling $28 million.

“The National Science Foundation conducts investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed research and our awards have nearly doubled in the past five years,” said Ryne Raffaelle, RIT vice president of research and associate provost. “This is an indicator of how RIT has matured as a research university. Plus our growth is impressive when you consider how highly competitive it is to secure research funding in the current fiscal climate.”

In the past four years, RIT has moved from the top third to the top quarter of research institutions, as measured by research expenditures in the NSF’s annual Higher Education Research and Development Survey.

Some of the highlighted awards include:

  • A $3.2 million, five-year ADVANCE award to Margaret Bailey, mechanical engineering professor in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. Bailey earned the prestigious award from the National Science Foundation and is leading the project CONNECT: Increasing the Representation and Advancement of Women Faculty at RIT. The initiative addresses issues of recruitment, retention and advancement of female faculty through a series of directed, campus-wide activities.
  • A nearly $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program to Denis Cormier, the Earl W. Brinkman Professor in RIT’s industrial and systems engineering department. RIT is partnering with Rochester-based Intrinsiq Materials and two national companies, NovaCentrix and Optomec, that manufacture the equipment necessary to engage in the emerging fields of printing/deposition, nano-inks and print applications.
  • An $860,000 grant from the Department of Energy to David Forbes, associate research professor in RIT’s NanoPower Research Laboratory. Forbes is developing a high-efficiency solar cell, which can achieve a greater conversion efficiency than is currently possible with existing photovoltaic technologies.
  • Two NSF grants totaling nearly $1 million to Stephanie Ludi, associate professor of software engineering in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. She is working to provide greater access to visually impaired and blind students. One of the initiatives aims to make math lectures more accessible to students with low vision. Ludi’s other NSF-funded project is a computer science academy that draws high school students from across the country who are visually impaired.
  • A $2.3 million, four-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health to Marc Marschark, professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, to look at the language, learning and cognitive abilities of deaf students with cochlear implants. The project is called “Language, Learning and Cognition among Deaf Students with and without Cochlear Implants.”

Future research funding looks promising as well, with RIT submitting a record of more than 700 proposals in fiscal year 2013.

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