RIT Sponsored Research garners record $82 million in funding

Strong submission of proposals fuel the boost

Gabrielle Plucknette-DeVito

For fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30, RIT received 382 new awards totaling $82 million. The record funding follows $58 million in research expenditures in fiscal year 2019, also a record.

Rochester Institute of Technology had its best year ever for sponsored research funding.

For fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30, RIT received 382 new awards totaling $82 million. The record funding follows $58 million in research expenditures in fiscal year 2019, also a record.

During this most recent fiscal year, RIT had 339 principal investigators associated with 669 active research awards.

“In these challenging times, RIT is quite fortunate to have obtained a record amount of support for its research programs,” said Ryne Raffaelle, RIT’s vice president for research and associate provost. “One thing that we have definitely learned through this pandemic, and the other challenges facing our society, is the importance of academic research.  It is gratifying to note that we are doing our part.”

Among the funding sources, RIT received:

  • $44 million from federal agencies, including $15 million from the National Science Foundation, $8 million from the Department of Defense, $5 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (most of that from the National Institutes of Health) and $4 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
  • $16 million from New York state.

The university also submitted 722 research proposals, totaling $200 million this past fiscal year.

Some of the research highlights include:

  • Donna Burnette, director of RIT’s K-12 program, received a $3.5M Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) award to support high school apprentices displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. This virtual course addresses the AEOP mission of creating a STEM literate citizenry. Students will explore the concepts and effects of science and technology on society, look at how science and technology have affected and been affected by our values, and think about how we know what we know in science and engineering (metacognition).
  • Bo Yuan, professor and chair of the Department of Computing Security, received $2.4M from NSF for the Scholarships for Service Program which takes exceptional BS students majoring in computer science, software engineering, or computing security and places them in an accelerated BS/MS programs leading in computing security.
  • Matt Dye, assistant professor in the Department of Liberal Studies at RIT/NTID and Department of Psychology received a $1M award from NIH to examine the effects of auditory development, cognitive function and language outcomes in a large group of young deaf adults. The results of this study will provide much-needed and timely answers regarding the possible benefits of early cochlear implantation and early intervention with sign language that parents and policy makers seek as they determine how best to intervene with the next generation of deaf infants who are cochlear implant recipients or candidates.
  • Jeanne Christman, associate professor in the College of Engineering Technology received a $1 million NSF award to use self-determination theory to inform practice on a proposed project, Critical Mass of Engineering Technology Scholar. Its purpose is to recruit and retain a more diverse pool of students to engineering technology by addressing factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women, students of color and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.