Fiscal year 2001-2002 spelled a record $25 million in awards and a fourth consecutive year of growth in sponsored research at Binghamton University. The tally, a six percent increase over the previous year, contributes to a total 51 percent increase in sponsored University research over the last four years.
Frances E. Carr, vice president for research, said the year produced unprecedented growth in faculty-based inquiry, related sponsored projects, and cross-disciplinary and community collaborations.
“This year’s data confirm what many of us have sensed around campus,” Carr said. “The culture of the University is changing, with our faculty and students showing a greater awareness of and investment in the notion of intellectual capital and an increased commitment to multi-disciplinary collaborations, community outreach, technology transfer and entrepreneurial pursuits.
” Year-end figures offer many signs that Binghamton University, known for much of its history as the undergraduate jewel in the SUNY system, is stepping to the fore as a research institution, Carr said.Those signs include a growing trend towards larger proposals and awards, expanding extramural partnerships, and a significant increase in the creation and management of intellectual capital, she said.
Invention disclosures nearly tripled in 2001-2002, rising from eight to 21. More than half of the new disclosures resulted from multi-disciplinary collaborations and at least half are strong candidates for patents, Carr said. The University collected $95,217 in royalties during the year. It also filed for its first-ever world patent on a differential microphone modeled after the ears of a small fly being developed by Ronald Miles. Miles is a professor of mechanical engineering and chair of the department.
Stephen Gilje, associate vice president for research, said last year’s growth in sponsored research is on pace with institutional goals set forth in the University’s Strategic Plan and its Memorandum of Understanding with SUNY. Among those goals is a call for the University to increase its sponsored project expenditures to $27 million by 2005. Three years ago, when that bar was set, many University officials saw it as a very ambitious target, Gilje said. That makes this year’s expenditures, which are pushing $22 million, all the more gratifying, he said.
“If sponsored projects can maintain anything close to the 15 percent increase in expenditures logged this year, the University will be on track to meet and possibly even to exceed the 2005 expenditures goal,” Gilje said.
The University could have a harder time achieving a related goal of $15.5 million in federal expenditures by 2005, he said. But it can celebrate a full 43 percent increase in federal awards for 2001-2002. Federal awards this year totaled a record $16.1 million.
“That number is a clear reflection of the University’s increasing presence as a contender of note in a keenly competitive federal funding environment,” he said.
Other signs of growth were a 26 percent increase in faculty-generated extramural applications, which reached $100.5 million and a 13 percent increase in the number of faculty with expenditures of $100,000 or more, up to 54.
The University also approved the creation of two new organized research centers — the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education; and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture — bringing to 21 the number of research centers.
Carr said she expects the University’s development of a 21-acre former NYSEG parcel at the eastern edge of campus to put the University’s expanding research programs on an even faster track.
The site, acquired this summer, will be developed as an Innovative Technologies Complex that will be home, among other things, to a new Center for Protein Dynamics and an Advanced Sensor Design and Threat Detection Facility. Both facilities are integral to a larger University plan to develop programs and technologies at the crossroads of engineering and the life sciences — programs like the University’s new Department of Bioengineering.