Wichita State sets new record for research awards


Wichita State University has set a new record for research and development awards, with a total of $136 million in fiscal year 2019, which ended June 30, topping last year’s record-breaking total of $104 million.

The significant increase comes from a steep rise in contracts and awards from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which increased by more than $40 million from FY18 to FY19.

Recent DoD awards include:

  • $33 million from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Command Aviation & Missile Center for emerging materials for high-speed missile applications.
  • $23.5 million from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory for advanced materials and automated manufacturing.
  • $7 million from the Office of Naval Research for multiple projects involving advanced materials, digital modeling and advanced manufacturing.

“Senator Moran’s position on the Defense Appropriations Committee and familiarity with Wichita’s strong manufacturing and aviation base is crucial to the safety of our nation,” said John Tomblin, WSU vice president for research and technology transfer. “This relationship has opened up connections that will benefit Wichita State students, faculty and staff, in addition to the state of Kansas, manufacturing industry, various DoD agencies and the nation as a whole.”

Since 2012, Wichita State has made a strategic concentrated effort to increase basic and applied research from industry and government partners, focusing on interdisciplinary efforts and the discovery, creation and transfer of new knowledge in current and related areas of expertise.

Collaboration with the Department of Defense is expected to continue, and Wichita State has taken additional steps to diversify research activity.

Coleen Pugh, WSU’s new Graduate School dean and associate vice president for Research and Technology Transfer, recently arrived on campus with plans to create funded research for WSU with a new polymer synthesis lab. She also will emphasize new collaborative faculty-led research projects and grants.

Pugh, formerly a professor of Polymer Science at the University of Akron (Ohio), will focus on connecting the Graduate School’s priorities to WSU’s focus as an urban public research university, as well as building, leading and growing university-wide, faculty-based research initiatives.

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