ISU external support soars to $287 million in FY 2005

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University generated $287 million in grants, contracts and cooperative agreements during fiscal year 2005, the seventh consecutive record high. This is an increase of about five percent compared with the previous year's total of $274 million.

The record $287 million includes all contracts and grants that Iowa State received directly from federal, state and local government units, corporations and foundations. This funding is used for research, public service/extension activities, educational projects, student financial aid, buildings and equipment.

"This impressive result for the past year reflects the excellence and capabilities of Iowa State's faculty and staff. To continue, year after year, setting records in attracting external financial support to the university is remarkable," said Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy. "These funds enhance our academic programs, and they help create opportunities for economic growth in Iowa."

Funding for research totaled $180 million, a 10 percent increase compared with the preceding year and another record amount. For the past two years, this percentage increase has been in the double digits. Furthermore, over the past five years, research funding has increased 50 percent, said Jim Bloedel, vice provost for research.

"We are very pleased to celebrate significant growth in sponsored funding that resulted in a new record," Bloedel said. "Iowa State is fortunate to have such a resourceful, excellent faculty. They have been able to continue to grow their external support at a rate that far exceeds the budgetary increases of the federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture from which they receive the majority of their funding."

Total support from federal agencies increased by nearly eight percent to $181.8 million. The largest contributors of federal funding to Iowa State included USDA ($45.7 million); the Department of Energy, primarily to the Ames Laboratory ($36.2 million); the Department of Health and Human Services ($23.9 million); the National Science Foundation ($27.0 million), the Department of Education ($17.0 million), the Department of Transportation ($9.6 million) and the Department of Defense ($7.6 million).

Support from non-federal sources remained steady at $105 million. The largest contributors of non-federal funding were foundations and associations ($34.1 million, which included $17 million for construction of new buildings); state, county and city government agencies ($30.3 million); businesses and corporations ($28.5 million); and other universities and colleges through joint projects ($9.6 million).

Following are examples of research funded at Iowa State in fiscal year 2005.

  • Bruce Thompson, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Director of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) and Lisa Brasche, CNDE scientist, received $1,911,000 from the U.S. Department of the Air Force for a three-year project, "Quantitative Inspection Techniques for Assessing Aging Military Aircraft." CNDE works to develop inspection methods for the detection of harmful conditions in engineered structures, much like a physician uses X-rays to search for cracks in a bone or ultrasound scans to assess fetal health. The new program applies this ISU expertise to military aircraft. It includes projects to assess the ability of engine parts to resist cracking, detect cracks in engine and airframe components and look for defective regions in flight control structures, among others. Implementation of these results is making U.S. military aircraft safer and more reliable, saving taxpayer dollars and protecting military personnel.
    (Contact: Lisa Brasche, (515) 294-5227.)
  • D. Lee Alekel, associate professor in food science and human nutrition, received $496,157 from the National Institutes of Health for a project, "Bone Response to Soy Isoflavones in Women." The grant is part of a five-year commitment totaling $3.4 million. In this study, Alekel's research team has been recruiting women for a three-year clinical trial to examine the effectiveness of isoflavones, estrogen-like compounds derived from soybeans, in preventing bone loss associated with menopause. During the first five years after menopause, women may lose between 15 and 25 percent of bone, thus greatly increasing their risk of osteoporosis. ISU researchers are collaborating with researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Bonnie Beer from the McFarland Clinic, Ames.
    (Contact: D. Lee Alekel, (515) 294-3552)
  • Robert Anex, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, received $1.9 million from the National Science Foundation for a four-year project, "Biocomplexity in the Bioeconomy: The Natural and Industrial Ecology of Biobased Products." This research will assess the potential impacts of a large-scale transition to the use of biomass-derived feedstock for the production of energy, fuels and products. The accelerating shift in agriculture from producing food to producing fuels and chemicals will have profound effects on farmers, rural communities and consumers -- particularly in the agricultural heartland. This project will examine the economic, environmental and social impacts of new technologies and polices that are driving us toward a biobased economy. The project team includes collaborators from Dartmouth College, Pennsylvania State University, the World Resources Institute and Iowa State.
    (Contact: Rob Anex, (515) 294-6576)
  • Patrick Schnable, professor of agronomy, received $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation for a project, "VCA - A High Density Genetic Map of Maize Transcripts." The grant is part of a three-year $3.7 million commitment. This project focuses on genetically mapping 4,500 maize genes using a new high-throughput mapping technology developed at ISU. The resulting genetic map is playing a key role in the maize genome sequencing project and will, in addition, make it easier for scientists to associate genes with functions, thereby providing new methods to improve corn for human uses. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Srinivas Aluru, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dan Ashlock associate professor of mathematics, and researchers at Truman State University and the University of Haifa.
    (Contact: Patrick Schnable, (515) 294-0975)