Close to 300 people from federal agencies, public and private universities and corporations gathered on campus earlier this month to talk about how to capitalize on available funding for research. Participants in “Destination Discovery: Unleashing Your Research Potential” heard from representatives of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense, among others.
R.Wayne Diesel, SUNY vice chancellor for business and industry relations, gave the keynote address March 6, calling the recent activities by SUNY schools in garnering research funding a “recipe for success.”
Two years into Chancellor Robert L. King’s five-year initiative to attract $5 billion in new resources for the system, including $1 billion in sponsored research and $1 billion in philanthropic support, Diesel said the SUNY system is unleashing its potential. “We’ve brought in more than $100 million in the last year toward the $1 billion goal,” he said, “including $15.3 million in new federal funding.” He said that this was a better than 45 percent increase in direct congressional appropriations over the previous year’s total of $10.7 million.
“This has been a real challenge for SUNY,” said Diesel. “But we’ve made great strides.” He said that research expenditures increased by double-digit percentages at the majority of SUNY campuses. At Binghamton, sponsored program activity climbed 14 percent and now totals more than $25 million.
Diesel highlighted the successful efforts of several Binghamton faculty to bring in research dollars to support their work, including Ronald Miles, professor of mechanical engineering; Omowunmi Sadik, associate professor of chemistry; Jessica Fridrich, research professor of electrical and computer engineering; Bahgat Sammakia, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center; and Kenneth McLeod, professor of bioengineering.
“These examples demonstrate the phenomenal work going on here and the growth of collaborations happening in New York state,” Diesel said. “We’re doing a much better job of aligning our expertise with the priorities of our investors.
“These research initiatives are already leading to significant advances in disease control and transplant diagnostics, early intervention in such disease processes as diabetes, cancer and Alz-heimer’s, and more appropriate treatment protocols for many diseases, including cystic fibrosis,” he said.
Diesel said that SUNY’s success in attracting research dollars has bred success in finding people who can put them to use. “This infusion of new funding has enabled the state university to attract top faculty, researchers and students, enabling it to continue its rise to national and world prominence,” he said. “These partnerships provide faculty with access to the facilities and expertise required to move their ideas from the lab bench to the marketplace, and they provide an opportunity for faculty to enhance their research position and significantly improve the likelihood that their work with have a major economic impact. We have a remarkable story to tell.”