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Research funding continues to grow

Author: Arts and Letters


Continuing a trend of strong growth, incoming University of Notre Dame research dollars topped the $80 million mark for the first time during the 2004-05 fiscal year. Notre Dame faculty earned more than 400 research awards and $80.8 million in externally sponsored research funding during the last fiscal year.

Included in the $80.8 million are some notable research awards:

  • John Borkowski, psychology, $2.7 million from two National Institutes of Health grants. The first is aimed at reducing the incidence of child maltreatment due to neglect and abuse by high-risk mothers. The second will go toward helping clarify neglect as a phenomena and its importance in determining child development in multiple settings.
  • Malcolm Fraser, biological sciences, $2.5 million from the Gates Research Foundation/National Institutes of Health to develop a novel approach to controlling dengue disease.
  • Mary Ann McDowell, biological sciences, $2 million from the U.S. Army and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a vaccine for use by the U.S. military to combat cutaneous leshmaniasis disease, which causes substantial mortality in developing countries.
  • Jeanne Romero-Severson, biological sciences, $2 million from the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund to develop genomic tools that will facilitate the study of a wide range of insects.
  • Michael Wiescher, physics, $2 million from the National Science Foundation to support JINA (The Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics) an interdisciplinary approach to nuclear astrophysics that seeks to coordinate efforts between the astrophysics and nuclear physics communities, as well as joint efforts among experimentalists, theorists and observers.

“In the past five years, we have more than doubled incoming research dollars and have experienced steady growth in all areas,” said Mike Edwards, assistant vice president in the Office of Research.

Since 1999-2000, research dollars grew from $38.9 million to the current $80.8 total. Grants from the federal government represent nearly two-thirds of Notre Dame’s research support.

“This continued double-digit growth in external funding is a great compliment to our researchers, and the exciting and significant research taking place at Notre Dame, Edwards said. “It is especially noteworthy considering that the federal government’s funding available for research continues to remain relatively flat, if not decreasing slightly.”

Researchers from science, engineering and arts and letters generate the most grant proposals and earn the bulk of research awards. According to Edwards, grants to the sciences have increased $16.2 million in 2000 to $37.6 million today, while engineering research awards have grown from $12.6 million in 2000 to $19.6 million. College of Arts and Letters research funding grew from $2.6 million to $14.2 million.

“We have also experienced steady growth in intellectual property and patent activities,” Edwards said.

These “technology transfer” activities involve faculty research which may have commercial applications. In 2001, University faculty submitted 12 intellectual property disclosures. That number rose to 41 in the last fiscal year. Six patents were issued to Notre Dame researchers this year, compared with three in fiscal year 2003-04.

Edwards noted that continued growth in research and in technology transfer by Notre Dame faculty contributes to the increased development of new products, technologies, and applications to improve our world.

Contact: Michael Edwards, assistant vice president, Office of Research, 574-631-3072,

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on August 22, 2005.