Wichita State University set a new record for total research and development awards in fiscal year 2018 with a total of $104.5 million, increasing awards by more than $14 million and achieving gains in most funded departments. This is the first time the university has achieved greater than $100 million in research awards in its history.
This increase is a direct result of strategic efforts of the Office of Research to increase the exposure of grant opportunities available through industry and government agencies and to facilitate the development of strong proposal submissions.
Increasing research activity is critical to Wichita State's strategic plan and vision to be internationally recognized as the model for applied learning and research.
Wichita State increased its industry and federal awards by more than $3 million each.
The National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) generates a significant amount of the university's R&D funding to perform industry and government certification testing and research. NIAR increased its award total by $8.3 million, garnering a total of $69.3 million dollars in 2018. Awards to NIAR from industry for proprietary contract-based programs totaled $45.7 million.
Funding from the Kansas Department of Commerce for multi-company collaborative aviation research aimed at growing the state economy totaled $9.9 million, contributing to research programs in areas such as composite material repair, lightning protection, additive manufacturing and crashworthiness.
Wichita State awards from the Department of Defense reached nearly $12.1 million.
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory awarded NIAR $5 million dollars for research programs to develop techniques to enhance advanced material characterization and structural certification aided by high-fidelity damage modeling and efficient protocols for substantiation of advanced composite structures, service life assessment and service life extension. In addition, the U.S. Navy awarded $4 million for to support research infrastructure to achieve these goals.
The U.S. Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center awarded $1.9 million to establish FirePoint Innovation Center at Wichita State, which aids in solving technology and equipment challenges identified by the Army to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the warfighter.
The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, College of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also accomplished significant award gains – increasing their total awards by more than $1 million each.
The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement received $9.7 million for GEAR UP and TRIO programs designed to identify and provide services for low income and disadvantaged middle and high school students in order to prepare them for college.
George Bousfield, a Jones Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, received $1.8 million of an expected $10.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to help to diagnose the onset of the menopausal transition, and investigate the causes of bone loss in aging women.
Shuang Gu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering received $855,000 from the Department of Energy for research involving a transformative alkaline-based solution for solving the challenging problem of renewable yet affordable liquid-fuel production.
Katie Mitchell-Koch, assistant professor of chemistry, received two grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $544,000 for research involving biomolecular modeling.
“Externally funded R&D programs are crucial to the university's mission,” said John Tomblin, vice president for research and technology transfer. “They provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students to engage in basic and applied research, creating opportunities for applied learning and interdisciplinary collaboration and increasing the potential for technology transfer.”