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Research Funding Tops A Half Billion Dollars for Third Year

Northwestern research across a broad range of fields continues to thrive

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November 7, 2012

EVANSTON, Ill. --- For the third year in a row, research grant funding awarded to Northwestern University totals more than a half billion dollars. Northwestern’s research award funding for fiscal year 2012 (FY2012) was $508.3 million. This is a slight (1 percent) decrease from last year’s $511.7 million.

The difference in funding between the two years is due largely to the decrease in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In FY2012, there were 66 awards totaling $13.5 million funded from ARRA compared to 116 awards for $34.3 million received during FY2011. Without ARRA funding included in either this year’s or last year’s total, 2012 funding would have increased by close to 4 percent ($6.7 million).

“Northwestern continues to make good use of our research funding across a broad range of fields from biomedicine, energy and sustainability to sociology, anthropology and education,” said Jay Walsh, Northwestern’s vice president for research.

“This past year has been one of groundbreaking research into the causes and cures for such diseases as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes,” Walsh added. “For example, Northwestern researchers have developed a new class of drugs that could treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury by reducing inflammation in the brain.

“And thanks to a generous gift, a new program in Northwestern’s Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies will focus on multidisciplinary and comparative research, policy studies and graduate training related to Asia, Latin America, Africa and other developing global regions.”

In FY2012, the dollar volume of awards from industrial sponsors reflected an increase of 43 percent (up $18.1 million). Awards from federal agencies decreased by 3 percent ($12.9 million), while those from state and local government bodies were down by 89 percent ($4.4 million). Awards from voluntary health organizations also declined -- by 20 percent ($3.7 million).

Northwestern stepped up its award proposal activity in 2012, submitting $2.2 billion worth of requests measured in cumulative dollar volume, an increase of 17 percent (up $329.9 million) over the total reported in FY2011. This includes a 20 percent increase ($331.8 million) in the dollar volume of proposals submitted to federal agencies and an increase of 58 percent ($25.8 million) in proposals to industrial sponsors.

“Northwestern has a long history of interdisciplinary research leadership and innovation,” said Vice President for Research Walsh. “Our research program is thriving and dynamic. The efforts of our faculty, staff, students and postdoctoral fellows make a strong contribution to the intellectual environment that is Northwestern as well as to the economic well-being of the Chicago area.”

Written by Joan Naper, director, research communications, Office for Research.