Rutgers Achieves Double-digit Gain in Research Grants and Contracts

New data show growth in federal funding while most agencies were unable to increase their level of research support 

Despite recent cutbacks in federal research support – the primary source of grants for most U.S. universities – Rutgers achieved an 18.3 percent increase in overall funding for research and sponsored programs in the last fiscal year over the previous year, from $517.6 million in fiscal year 2014 up to $612.5 million in fiscal year 2015. Rutgers brought in 11.4 percent more federal research dollars from 2014 ($272.1 million) to 2015 ($303.2 million), while overall research funding by most federal agencies was essentially flat, or unchanged, from the prior year, Christopher J. Molloy, the university’s senior vice president for research and economic development, said.

A summary of the fiscal year 2015 data was released November 4 by Rutgers’ Office of Research and Economic Development (the state’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30). The positive news was announced during a public panel discussion about the impact of Rutgers’ 2013 integration with most of the schools, centers, institutes and clinical practices of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The event was organized by Stephen M. Sweeney, president of the New Jersey State Senate.

“The fact that Rutgers is bringing in more outside dollars for its research despite the tough times for research funding nationally speaks to the quality of the university’s programs,” Sweeney said. “The residents of New Jersey benefit directly and indirectly from Rutgers research, including the significant impact on our state’s economy and business climate.”

Molloy said: “These funding numbers are a true accomplishment for Rutgers, particularly in light of the challenging environment for research funding. It is the rigorous and creative efforts of faculty – supported by dedicated staff and graduate students – that produced these very positive results. Research is a key component of Rutgers’ academic programs and a significant factor in the economic development of our state and the region, so these gains are noteworthy."


Senate President Stephen Sweeney (left) and Rutgers Senior Vice President Christopher J. Molloy at the November 4 event (photo by Debbie Vogel, Rutgers).

A high priority for Rutgers is expanding its collaborations and partnerships with industry, and Molloy pointed out that the university’s research support from corporations went up by more than 30 percent last year over the previous year (from $23.8 million to $31.0 million). State funding to Rutgers for research and sponsored programs increased by nearly 37 percent from 2014 ($130.0 million) to 2015 ($177.8 million). And Rutgers’ research funding from foundations increased by about 9 percent, from 2014 ($91.5 million) to 2015 ($99.8 million).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is Rutgers’ greatest source of research grants. NIH funding to the university rose just over 3 percent last year, from $134.2 million in 2014 to $138.7 million in 2015. Rutgers’ grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) increased by more than 21 percent last year, from $45.8 million in 2014 up to $55.5 million in 2015.

Among the major NSF grants to Rutgers–New Brunswick last year were a nearly $2.8 million award to the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, a grant of about $2.7 million to the Engineering Center for Structured Organic Composites for work on continuous manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry, a nearly $1.1 million award to the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and an approximately $1 million grant to the National Institute for Early Education Research. The NSF also awarded two grants totaling $1.4 million for the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation initiative at Rutgers University–Newark.

Research grants and sponsored programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) last year rose by more than 24 percent, the increase at Rutgers–New Brunswick was almost 15 percent, the total for Rutgers–Camden was up by about 12 percent, and the amount at Rutgers–Newark grew by about 6 percent.            [November 04, 2015]