CMU receives $6 million less in grants than other universities from National Science Foundation

Central Michigan University receives significantly less external grants and contracts than other Michigan universities despite receiving high levels so far this academic year.

For the 2011 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, CMU has acquired more than $11 million in external grants. This amount was greater than the number of grants received in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and close to the annual total in 2009, said Interim Vice Provost of Research Ian Davison.

“In 2009-10 we obtained almost $15 million in external grants and contract, which included more than $2 million for tuition relief for students,” Davison said.

He said these external grants are imperative to supporting education, outreach and faculty research and creative projects that otherwise would not have been possible. Many of these involve graduate and undergraduate students.

One of CMU’s research projects is assessing and tracking the health of wetland ecosystems in the Great Lakes and Don Uzarski, assistant professor of biology, is the principal investigator. Another grant is aiming to help people with the understanding and treatments for diseases resulting from nitric oxide impairment.

“The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has also made investments to ensure CMU can take advantage of opportunities to increase funding,” Davison said. “For example, we have hired a grant writer to work on proposals and a post-award specialist to help faculty manage grants once they have been awarded.”

Interim Dean of Science and Technology Jane Matty said that without these grants, there is no way to provide opportunities to learn along with the faculty and to develop skills in investigation, data analysis, critical thinking, writing and speaking — crucial skills in any career setting.

"The purpose of grants is to obtain funds that allow us to do exciting work and research that would not otherwise be possible," Matty said.

Setting higher goals

Provost Gary Shapiro announced at the Dec. 2 board of trustees meeting he wanted CMU faculty members to increase the quantity of grants received.

Concerning The National Science Foundation, CMU received $1.44 million in federal funds for science and technology for the fiscal year 2009 and ranked 406. However, the University of Michigan came in second with an intake of $600 million in the same category of funding. Other large research schools in Michigan, such as Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University, all received more funding than CMU by at least $6 million. Nationally, approximately 650 universities secure this science and technology funding, Davison said.

“I know that Provost Shapiro is very pleased that we obtained this funding and acknowledges the hard work of the faculty and staff who wrote proposals,” Davison said. “However, we are convinced that CMU can do better and our goal is to significantly increase our funding from grants and contracts."

Davison said he is confident that CMU will soon see a major increase in external funding over the next three to five years with the development of the College of Medicine.

"It will allow us to be more competitive for funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and President Ross’ decision to make strategic investments to strengthen research in areas such as alternative energy, environmental science and health care will also lead to more funding," Davison said.


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