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Penn State research expenditures again reach record high, topping $968 million

Posted on October 8, 2019

By David Pacchioli. Story originally published on Penn State News

 Penn State’s research expenditures reached a record high for the third year in a row in fiscal year 2018-19, according to incoming Senior Vice President for Research Lora Weiss. The total figure of $968 million represents a $47 million increase over last year’s figure, and includes a record $593 million in federal funding, as well as $375 million from a combination of private funders, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and University sources. 

Weiss noted that a 13% increase in the Applied Research Laboratory’s research expenditures was a major factor in achieving the record total.

“It’s gratifying to see the continued confidence the Department of Defense has in our research,” Weiss said. “We deeply value the partnership we have built over the years, and we’re exceedingly proud of Penn State’s role in national security.”  

Overall, federal funding increased from $562 million to $593 million, including an additional $16 million from the Department of the Navy, as well as increased support from the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Research funding from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania increased from $68 million to $73 million, while funding from industry, foundations, and other sponsors held steady at $101 million. 

Some notable examples of federally sponsored projects with strong interdisciplinary components were a grant of $3 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a graduate program to study food-energy-water problems at the landscape scale, the first $1.5 million of an anticipated $8.1 million award from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new paradigm for the personalized prediction and treatment of infectious disease, and the first $2.3 million increment of an anticipated $13.4 million from NIH for a project using mobile technologies to measure cognitive changes over the lifespan. 

Research expenditures chart shows record total of $968 million for FY19

Penn State’s research expenditures reached a record high for the third year in a row in fiscal year 2018-2019.  The total figure of $968 million represents a $47 million increase over last year’s figure, and includes a record $593 million in federal funding, as well as $375 million from a combination of private funders, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and University sources.  IMAGE: KEVIN CARLINI/PENN STATE

Among the University’s academic research units, the College of Engineering saw a 14% increase in funding, to $149 million; the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences was up 6%, to $71 million, and the College of the Liberal Arts rose 10%, to $40 million. 

Weiss noted that $202 million, almost 21% of total expenditures, is accounted for by the University’s own investment in research for the public good, an integral part of its land-grant mission, including substantial investments in the facilities, infrastructure and staffing that allow University investigators to be successful in attracting highly competitive federal grants.   

“It’s truly exciting for me, as a former Penn State researcher, to return to Penn State and be a part of the continued growth and vigor of our research enterprise,” Weiss said. “It’s a testament to my predecessor, Neil Sharkey, and to the world-class talent within our enterprise — exceptional faculty, staff and students.”     

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