Purdue Touts Record Research Funding

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College of Engineering student Robert Zheng adjusts the path of a laser beam in a Zucrow Lab research and testing bay. Photo Courtesy of Purdue University. College of Engineering student Robert Zheng adjusts the path of a laser beam in a Zucrow Lab research and testing bay. Photo Courtesy of Purdue University.

It’s been another record year of sponsored research funding for Purdue University. The school says it raised over $418 million in fiscal year 2017, beating last year’s record of $403 million.

“Our faculty, staff and students continue to build on research contributions by not only successfully securing increased federal grant funding but also helping us attract new corporate partners,” said Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

The total includes funding from federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations and industry. This year’s record is the highest dollar amount Purdue has ever attracted, with the exception of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

According to Garimella, the fundraising achievement serves as a reflection of the quality, creativity and tenacity of Purdue faculty.

“In just the last year alone, we have penned historic agreements with such giants as Eli Lilly and Co., Rolls Royce, Microsoft Corp. and Ford Motor Co. This is only possible because of the tremendous talent of Purdue researchers and the availability of advanced facilities and infrastructure for high-level, innovative research.”

Rolls Royce and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation partnered to fund $24 million to strengthen Indiana’s leadership position in aerospace. The aforementioned dollar amount from Rolls Royce is in addition to the company’s previously announced six year $33 million partnership with the university.

Garimella says Purdue’s Zucrow laboratories, the nation’s largest university propulsion laboratory that conducts research on rockets and jet engines for NASA, the United States Air Force and many other private companies was “essential to the Rolls Royce partnership.”

The Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park, which features complete suites of micro- and nano-electronics fabrication and testing equipment, also played a significant role in attracting funds from another big name company. Microsoft Corp. has agreed to sign on for a multi-year, multi-million dollar project to build a large, scalable quantum computer. 

"It is the combination of Purdue’s top-notch researchers and the sophisticated equipment that brings world-class partnerships to our door,” said Garimella.

Other notable funding secured in fiscal year 2017 includes:

  • $52 million over five years from Eli Lilly and Co. to conduct life sciences research that initially focuses on improving the delivery of injectable medicines and more effectively predicting the outcome of new drug therapies.
  •  $24.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund a statewide project, which aims to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance.

  • $10 million over three years from the National Institutes of Health to better understand the stomach’s neural circuitry and whether bioelectronics medicine can aid conditions such as diabetes or obesity.

  • $4.7 million over two years from the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce vehicle fuel consumption by 20 percent through automated systems that interconnect cars and trucks and a transportation infrastructure using sensors and online cloud technology.

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