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|Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering director Steven Witz, from left, and Purdue communications professor Bart Collins experiment with new technology that will be used to help design a telehealth model to promote patient learning and improve self-care. In this test, Witz and Collins are communicating via computer with Hannah Kim, a doctoral student in education technology, and Scott Schaffer, a Purdue professor of education technology. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)|
Purdue University generated a record $333.4 million in sponsored research funding during the just-ended 2007-08 fiscal year, fueled by a 36 percent jump in research activity at Discovery Park.
Purdue posted solid funding increases from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services. Industries, foundations and international institutions also played larger roles in growing Purdue's research portfolio.
Total research funding for the year was $333.4 million, up 11 percent from $301 million in fiscal 2006-07. At Discovery Park, Purdue's five-year-old hub for large-scale interdisciplinary research, funding jumped to $73.7 million from $54 million a year ago.
"Purdue is moving forward as an international player for large-scale research thanks to the leadership and commitment of our faculty, researchers and students and the state-of-the-art facilities in Discovery Park and elsewhere on campus," said Alan H. Rebar, senior associate vice president for research at Purdue and executive director of Discovery Park. "These record figures affirm Purdue's efforts to lead this revolution on university campuses to drive research that solves the world's problems in health, science, energy, the environment and other areas."
In the past 12 months, Purdue gained funding for several major research projects in health care, advanced simulations for commercial and defense applications, nanotechnology, and translating basic science into medical treatments and products.
"We have clearly raised the bar," Rebar said. "With entrepreneurially minded faculty and a stronger commitment to seek out strategic partnerships, Purdue is well-positioned to advance our discovery portfolio beyond these record funding levels. Looking forward, we also are building on Purdue's strengths and Discovery Park's interdisciplinary focus to advance our regional, national and international partnerships."
A key priority in Purdue's new strategic plan is to bolster the university's research competitiveness at the national and global levels. The six-year plan calls for increasing strategic research alliances and partnerships; promoting infrastructure, laboratory and instrumentation improvements to serve campus research goals and projects; and attracting more faculty with incentives, support for infrastructure and stronger ties to research parks.
Faculty members say Purdue is having greater success in moving research from the university laboratory to the marketplace, oftentimes through a startup company that can locate in nearby Purdue Research Park. The park employs more than 3,000 people in 155 companies, including 90 technology-based firms.
In the past five years, Purdue has recruited 300 new faculty members, many of whom cite the university's new research facilities and modern equipment, in their decision to come. Purdue also was rated the nation's fourth best place to work in academia, according to rankings released in November 2007 by The Scientist magazine. Purdue finished 25th in the same rankings in 2006.
"Purdue has created a culture where we can take faculty out of departments, colleges and schools and put them in research-driven centers," said Jue Chen, an associate professor of biological sciences at Purdue who was appointed in May as an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "There, they can team on interdisciplinary research to achieve new goals and solve challenges that make a difference in our world."
Purdue has invested more than $150 million in new facilities and $25 million in laboratory equipment to launch Discovery Park. The 11 primary centers at the 40-acre complex on the southwest edge of campus focus on major research in areas ranging from health-care engineering, nanotechnology, life sciences and cyberinfrastructure to climate change, entrepreneurship, cancer diagnosis, homeland security and alternative energy.
A look at some of the major Purdue research projects funded in the past 12 months:
* The National Institutes of Health awarded a five-year, $25 million grant to the Indiana University School of Medicine to fund Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute activities at Indiana and Purdue universities. The institute focuses on improving the process by which laboratory discoveries of basic science are transformed into new medical treatments and products -- a process called translational research.
* The National Nuclear Security Administration awarded a $17 million cooperative agreement for a Purdue-based research Purdue-based research center to develop advanced simulations for commercial and defense applications. The Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems, or PRISM, is focusing on the behavior and reliability of miniature switches and is one of five new Centers of Excellence chosen by the NNSA.
* The Regenstrief Foundation expanded its partnership expanded its partnership with Purdue's Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering with an $11 million investment over the next five years. The foundation helped create the center with a $3 million grant in 2005. The center studies how systems engineering, management, science and information technology can improve patient safety and care.
* Purdue's Network for Computational Nanotechnology received a five-year, $18.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative with expanded capabilities and services for computer simulations. NCN was launched in 2002 with $10.5 million from NSF to develop sophisticated, high-powered computational tools that allow scientists from Boston to Beijing to advance nano-related research simply by using their desktop computers.
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Note to Journalists: Media representatives who need more information about this news release can contact Phillip Fiorini at (765) 496-3133,
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Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133,
Sources: Alan Rebar, (765) 496-6625,
Jue Chen, (765) 496-3113,
Connie Weaver, (765) 494-8237,
Jayathi Murthy, (765) 494-5701,
Steven Witz, (765) 494-9286,
Mark Lundstrom, (765) 494-7715,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;
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