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Penn State Research Expenditures Surpass $1 Billion

by on September 21, 2020 1:08 PM

Penn State’s research spending surpassed the $1 billion mark during the 2019-20 fiscal year, the university announced this week.

The university spent $1.01 billion in total, representing a $40 million increase from the year before. The total includes a record $633 million in federal funding and $375 million from private funders, the state and university sources.  

“This milestone reflects both the strength of external support for the University’s research activity and the broad impact of that activity on solving complex societal problems,” President Eric Barron said. “From advancing health, to addressing food security and sustainable energy solutions, to contributing to economic development, Penn State’s research enterprise is dedicated to improving the overall quality of life for people in our communities, our nation and our world.” 

Federal agencies are largely responsible for the $40 million increase. Additional funding came from the Department of Defense ($35 million), the Department of Health and Human Services ($9 million), and the Department of Energy ($3.5 million). The largest increase from the Department of Defense came from a $30 million grant to lead the Interaction of Ionizing Radiation with Matter University Research Alliance, which focuses on the development of new warfighter technology to counter threats from weapons of mass destruction.

“It’s a testament to the world-class quality and teamwork of our dedicated faculty, students and staff, and a statement of our continuing commitment,” Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research, said. “These expenditures also reflect the continued confidence our sponsors have in us and the extensive breadth and depth of our research portfolio.”

Penn State had 18 fields of research ranked in the top 10 in the most recent National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development expenditures report.

Money from the state decreased from $73 million to $68 million, while funding from industry, foundations, and other sponsors remained at $101 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided an added challenge to continuing research, as many non-essential on-campus research projects needed to be stopped or limited. In May, plans were developed to allow for more on-campus research to resume while also enabling remote research opportunities.

“Our continued growth under challenging circumstances demonstrates our resilience and readiness to fulfill our land-grant mission, in Pennsylvania and around the globe,” Weiss said.

Jordan Mansberger is a Penn State student majoring in broadcast journalism and a writer for Onward State.
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