100 million in funding a milestone for Rice programs

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Mike WilliamsPHONE: 713-348-6728E-MAIL: [email protected] $100 million in funding a milestone for Rice programs Rice University attracted more than $100 million in fiscal 2008 for sponsored research and educational initiatives – a milestone in its 96-year history.Rice has more than doubled the funds flowing into the university’s research, education and outreach initiatives since 2000. ”This not only represents a substantial increase in Rice’s academic resources but also a symbolic milestone on the path to raising our research and scholarship profile – the No. 1 goal of Rice’s Vision for the Second Century,” said Vice Provost for Research Jim Coleman.Rice won an extraordinary 28 percent more in award funding in fiscal 2008 than it did the previous year, said Nancy Nisbett, director of sponsored research. Funding came from a variety of sources, including foundations and private industry, but the lion’s share was from the federal government, she said. To put this in perspective, federal funding to universities for competitive grants was estimated to increase only about 3 percent over the last year.The five leading grants for 2008 alone brought nearly $17 million, topped by a $7.2 million grant from Houston Endowment Inc. to establish entrepreneurship programs at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management. Nearly $3 million came from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the departments of Mathematics, Statistics and Computational & Applied Mathematics, and grants for nanotechnology materials for aerospace applications, biological and environmental studies and Rice’s ambitious Connexions program rounded out the top five. Fifteen grants were for $1 million or more.Competition for funding keeps fire in the belly, said Pedro Alvarez, the George R. Brown Professor and chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, whose department landed an NSF grant for more than $2.3 million for a biological and environmental nanotechnology study.”The fact that Rice is achieving this funding milestone mostly through competitive effort is very important, because it ensures rigor and relevance,” he said. ”The rigor goes to the fact that we are competitive with the best researchers out there, and winning means we’re doing it on intellectual merit. It’s very healthy for all of us.””External funding is not the only indicator of a university’s research contributions and distinction, but it is a very significant one,” said Provost Eugene Levy of Rice’s competitive surge. ”It provides an important measure of the creative initiative of the faculty and of the intellectual impact and societal benefits of the research. These are also crucial factors in shaping the highest quality educational environment for Rice students.”last_img read more