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Another Record-Breaking Year For Northwestern Research University’s discovery ecosystem thrives as sponsored funding surpasses $700M for the first time

Northwestern’s sponsored research awards grew to $702.1 million last fiscal year, the largest amount in the University’s history and a 3.8 percent increase over the previous year’s record-breaking $676.5 millón. los 2017-18 fiscal year punctuates a decade of sustained research growth at Northwestern. En el pasado 10 años, annual sponsored research has risen 60 por ciento ($263 millón). Last year alone, the University’s Sponsored Research Office processed more than $3 billion in award proposals.

“Annual research funding is vital for faculty all across Northwestern to pursue pathbreaking discoveries that benefit society and improve the world,” says Jay Walsh, vice president for research. "Asi que, también, are other elements of our research environment, including world-class core facilities and physical space; infraestructura; administrative support; and a culture that encourages collaborative discovery. We continue to strengthen Northwestern’s research ecosystem and increase the scope and impact of the knowledge created here. Naturalmente, the true measure of the research enterprise is the impact that new discoveries have on academic fields and society at large.”

Reputation Rises

As Northwestern’s research funding has risen, so has the University’s position among the nation’s top academic institutions. Por ejemplo, the University climbed from 14 (2008) a 10 (2018) in US News and World Report’s annual rankings.

“Northwestern’s reputation as a great research institution is much more than just a dollar figure, as important as that support is to our efforts. The bedrock of our reputation is the global impact our faculty are making, the international awards our students receive, and the success of our graduate students after they defend their dissertations,”Dice Walsh.

Strong proposal activity in the 2017-18 fiscal year from the Feinberg School of Medicine resulted in more than $484.6 million dollars of sponsored awards secured by principal investigators at the medical school. This figure reflects a 13 percent increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health last year.

Also increasing in year-over-year award funding was the McCormick School of Engineering ($80.9METRO, una 13 percent increase) and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences ($91.4METRO, una 6 percent rise). Additional award information can be found on the Sponsored Research sitio.

Breakthrough Science

Among the 3,366 research grants awarded to Northwestern during the last fiscal year was funding to advance potentially transformative discovery on glioblastoma (GBM), one of the most common and aggressive of primary malignant brain cancers. En agosto, the Feinberg School and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University obtained a highly competitive $11.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute that supports research to help people diagnosed with GBM, which has a median survival rate of just 15 meses. With this new award, Northwestern investigators — led by Maciej (Matt) Lesniak and C. David James, both neurological surgery — have established a Specialized Program of Research Excellence in brain cancer with an emphasis on GBM.

Significant financial support also included a multimillion-dollar commitment to establish the NSF-Simons Center for Quantitative Biology, co-directed by Richard Carthew, the Owen L. Coon Professor of Molecular Biosciences, and William Kath, professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics. The center will apply mathematics to developmental biological research, according to Carthew. “The hope is that mathematics will revolutionize the study of biology in a manner emulating the impact that mathematics has had on physics research.”

The National Science Foundation renewed its support for Northwestern’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) en 2018. Directed by Mark Hersam, the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MRSEC’s mission combines research, enseñando, and outreach initiatives to produce high-impact knowledge with societal value through the efforts of its two main research groups: one explores reconfigurable nanoelectronic materials systems with the potential for applications in neuromorphic (brain-like) informática; el otro mira para descubrir los materiales inorgánicos con nuevas combinaciones de propiedades, tales como una alta conductividad eléctrica y baja conductividad térmica. Ya que 1959, MRSEC has helped secure Northwestern’s global reputation as a leader in the field and is the nation’s longest-running, centro financiado de forma continua de este tipo.

El trabajo en equipo de administración

Investigación del Noroeste — an office composed of 19 unidades especializadas - proporciona a los investigadores de la universidad con una cartera de servicios de expertos y recursos, including strategic guidance, safety and regulatory training, grant administration and research protocol support, core facilities and space administration, innovation commercialization, team science development, y más. Northwestern Research plays an important catalytic role in the research ecosystem that Walsh credits as integral to the University’s knowledge creation. He also cites collaboration among Research and the central administration, Human Resources, ESO, Facilities Management, and the schools as vital to create the necessary infrastructure for discovery to occur.

“Nuestros investigadores están en el corazón de nuestro éxito la investigación,”Dice Walsh. “Se necesita talento para impulsar avances. También es necesario facultad, becarios, personal, y los estudiantes que pueden trabajar en conjunto con otras personas con talento. apoyo administrativo experto, por ejemplo, permite a los investigadores a centrarse en su trabajo de investigación, en lugar de en los detalles administrativos necesarios para mantener una de las instituciones de investigación más importantes del país en ejecución “.

crecen núcleos

Administrative talent also helps manage Northwestern’s 53 shared core facilities, shared spaces filled with cutting-edge instrumentation and teams of PhD-level scientists who know how to generate valuable research results from those tools in collaboratation with investigators. Cores are on the “leading-edge of technology implementation,” says Andy Ott, director of core facilities, noting examples such as CRISPR gene editing, cryo-electron microscopy, and top-down proteomics. Increasingly, cores also are included as part of the research grant-writing process and have the infrastructure and culture to support cross-disciplinary investigations.

Financially, Ott says, Northwestern’s core facilities have increased their revenue 250 por ciento desde 2009, reaching $25 million in 2017. The University has made targeted and substantial investments in cores, which are an integral part of University Research Institutes and Centers. One example is the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, which is in part focused on drug discovery and development, and built around nine such facilities.

“We expect to see an increase in Northwestern’s overall research growth and impact,”Dice Walsh, in part due to the creation of new spaces, such as the Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center and the Technological Institute’s AB Infill. “Northwestern is an extremely interdisciplinary institution, as well as one of the nation’s most collaborative administrative universities. The combination creates an ecosystem where sustained growth has become the norm.”

Fuente:, by Roger Anderson and Matt Golosinski

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