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Purdue attributes record research funding growth to faculty, facilities, partnerships

Purdue University achieved another record year of sponsored research funding, reaching $418.3 million in fiscal year 2017, topping the previous year’s record of $403 million.
Robert Zheng adjusts the path of a laser beam at Zucrow Lab.

The total includes funding from federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations and industry received during the fiscal year completed on June 30. The record " the highest amount the university has ever attracted excluding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds " reflects the quality, creativity and tenacity of Purdue faculty, said Suresh Garimella, Purdues executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

“Our faculty, staff and students continue to build on research contributions by not only successfully securing increased federal grant funding but also helping us attract new corporate partners,” Garimella said. “In just the last year alone, we have penned historic agreements with such giants as Eli Lilly and Co., Rolls Royce, Microsoft Corp. and Ford Motor Co. This is only possible because of the tremendous talent of Purdue researchers and the availability of advanced facilities and infrastructure for high-level, innovative research.”

The Zucrow laboratories is the nations largest university propulsion laboratory and has conducted research on rockets and jet engines for NASA, the United States Air Force and private companies for many decades.

The Rolls-Royce and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation partnered to fund $24 million to strengthen the state’s leadership position in aerospace through the development of new jet engine technology, adding to the previously announced six year $33 million partnership with Rolls-Royce.

“The capabilities offered by the Zucrow Laboratories were essential to the Rolls-Royce partnership,” Garimella said.

The Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park with complete suites of micro- and nano-electronics fabrication and testing equipment played a role in attracting the Microsoft Corp. to fund a multi-year, multi-million dollar project to build a robust and scalable quantum computer.

Additional significant funding secured in fiscal year 2017 includes:

  • $52 million over five years from Eli Lilly and Co. to conduct life sciences research that initially focuses on improving the delivery of injectable medicines and more effectively predicting the outcome of new drug therapies.
  • $24.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund a statewide project, which aims to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance.
  • $10 million over three years from the National Institutes of Health to better understand the stomach’s neural circuitry and whether bioelectronics medicine can aid conditions such as diabetes or obesity.
  • $4.7 million over two years from the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce vehicle fuel consumption by 20 percent through automated systems that interconnect cars and trucks and a transportation infrastructure using sensors and online cloud technology.

“Continued success as we enter a new fiscal year bodes well with last week’s multi-year funding announcement of $19.75 million from the National Science Foundation for an engineering research center, the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR), and the partnership announcement last month with the IT global giant, Infosys, to build a strategic alliance for technology innovation and U.S. workforce development. It is the combination of Purdues top-notch researchers and the sophisticated equipment that brings world-class partnerships to our door,” Garimella said.

Source: Purdue Newsroom