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Jennifer Newman, an associate professor of math, is building a database of pictures to help develop tools that can detect messages hidden in digital photos. The research is part of the federally supported Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence based at Iowa State. Larger photo. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Iowa State attracts record in external funding for fourth year in a row

The Office of Vice President for Research

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University attracted a record $509.2 million in total external funding for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Federal grants are helping Iowa State researchers develop sensors for plants.

That was an increase of $5.6 million and 1.1 percent over fiscal year 2017’s total of $503.6 million. That was the first time Iowa State broke the half-billion mark in external funding.

Fiscal year 2018’s total marks the fourth record year in a row for Iowa State external funding.

External funding includes grants, contracts, gifts and cooperative agreements from federal, state and local governments as well as from corporations, nonprofits and other universities for research, academic support, scholarships and more.

Wendy Wintersteen, president

“Record external funding for the fourth consecutive year reflects Iowa State University’s role as a leader in academic and research excellence,” said Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State’s president. “We are proud of the exceptional return on this investment exemplified by our well-prepared graduates,  economic opportunities, and innovations that ensure a better future for Iowa and the world.”

The latest fiscal year includes $245.8 million in external support for Iowa State researchers. That’s a jump in research support of $2.1 million over fiscal year 2017. The record for research funding was $252.5 million during fiscal year 2016.

“We are pleased that our sponsors invest so strongly in Iowa State’s research all over campus,” said Sarah Nusser, Iowa State’s vice president for research. “Our researchers have excelled in demonstrating the value of their discoveries and their capacity to create innovative solutions for today’s challenges.”

Sarah Nusser, vice president for research

Nusser noted that federally supported research funding increased by $1.6 million over fiscal year 2017, to $170.3 million. That growth included funding increases from the National Institutes of Health and the Defense and Transportation departments.

Nusser also said early career researchers successfully competed for federal support – particularly 14 who won National Science Foundation CAREER awards during the latest fiscal year. The grants are the foundation’s most prestigious awards for early career faculty.

Iowa State’s major sources of external research funding in FY18

Federal sources:

  • Energy (including the Ames Laboratory), $59.5 million
  • National Science Foundation, $34.8 million
  • Agriculture, $32.3 million
  • Health and Human Services (including the National Institutes of Health), $14.6 million
  • Defense, $9.8 million
  • Commerce, $8.5 million
  • Transportation, $5.1 million

Non-federal sources:

  • Industry/corporate, $21.7 million
  • State of Iowa, $18.2 million
  • Nonprofits, $16.2 million
  • Higher education, $11.2 million
  • Commodity groups: $5.1 million
  • Individuals, $0.97 million

External funding total (including many other sources)

$509.2 million

Recent history of external funding totals

  • FY18, $509.2 million
  • FY17, $503.6 million
  • FY16, $425.8 million
  • FY15, $424.9 million
  • FY14, $368.4 million
  • FY13, $326.4 million
  • FY12, $360.2 million
  • FY11, $342.3 million
  • FY10, $388.2 million