Growth Continues in Research Grants and Sponsored Programs

            New data show significant growth in external funding to Rutgers, including an 11 percent hike in federal funding for research.

Rutgers’ faculty members continue to generate an increasing amount of external support for research, and new data from the university show healthy growth over the past two years, including an 11 percent increase in federal funding for the second year in a row.

Rutgers’ research grants and sponsored programs in fiscal year 2016 totaled $637.9 million, up more than $25 million from the prior year’s figure of $612.5 million, which is a 4 percent increase. Over the past two years, the dollar value of grants and sponsored programs at Rutgers rose by 22 percent during a time of challenging grant support nationally.

Rutgers’ Office of Research and Economic Development today (October 4) issued a summary of research funding for FY2016, which ended June 30.

While federal R&D funding nationally is projected to have increased by 6 percent in FY2016, the total federal allocation for research decreased in FY2015 by 1 percent, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF) report. Despite those limitations, Rutgers experienced an 11 percent increase in federal grants and contracts in FY2016, from $303.2 million in FY2015 up to $335.5 million last year. Rutgers’ federal funding for research also rose by 11 percent from FY2014 to FY2015. The university’s two successive years of double-digit increases in federal support for research is noteworthy, said Christopher J. Molloy, Rutgers senior vice president for research and economic development.

“The research enterprise at Rutgers is driven by our faculty, which includes numerous world leaders in their fields, and they deserve credit for the impressive growth in external support for research this university has seen over the past two years,” Molloy said. “It is noteworthy that, along with federal agencies, the university has received greater support from corporations and foundations, as they recognize the high quality and impact of the research being done at Rutgers.”

Collaborating with industry is a focal point of the university’s strategic plan, Molloy pointed out, and Rutgers’ research dollars from corporations rose by 28 percent last year over the prior year, up to $39.7 million in FY16 from $31.0 million in FY15.

Foundations increased their support for Rutgers research by 14 percent, from $99.8 million in FY2015 to $113.8 million in FY2016. State funding to Rutgers for research and sponsored programs decreased by 16 percent from $177.8 million in FY2015 to $148.9 million in FY2016.

In his annual Report to the University Senate on September 23, President Robert Barchi noted that “Rutgers is now earning more than double the amount of research awards compared with where the University was ten years ago.”

The President went on to give much of the credit for this success to Rutgers’ faculty.

“Thanks to their strong efforts, Rutgers achieved a 14 percent rise in the number of (grant) applications submitted and a 34 percent increase in the dollar amount of grant submissions last year,” Barchi said.

Rutgers' greatest source of research grants is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The university’s NIH funding rose 16 percent last year, from $138.7 million in 2015 to $160.9 million in 2016. Among the largest NIH-funded projects:

  • $6 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to Jay Tischfield, founding director of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, a unit of Rutgers’ Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey. RUCDR will manage the NINDS stem cell repository and provide a comprehensive range of stem cell related services to researchers worldwide investigating diseases such as Parkinson’s and ALS.
  • $5.3 million to David Perlin, professor in the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, to support the Center for Excellence in Translational Research program to develop therapeutic countermeasures to high-threat bacterial agents
  • $1.2 million to Joachim Kohn at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, to support his project on an investigational new drug application (IND) filing for intravenous cP12 and pre-IND studies of intravenous and topical cNP5 for limiting burn injury progression
  • $1.1 million to Elisa Bandera at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey for research into obesity, related comorbidities, and breast cancer outcomes in African Americans

Rutgers’ NSF grants declined slightly, from $55.5 million in FY2015 to $55.3 million in FY16.

Research grants and sponsored programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) rose by 8.1 percent from $270.9 million in FY2015 to $292.9 million last year. RBHS was created in 2013, when Rutgers integrated most of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Research funding at Rutgers–Camden reached $16.8 million in FY2016, which was more than double the prior year’s total of $7.2 million.

October 4, 2016