SC State exceeds $15M for first mid-year goal of ‘$50M by 2015’ research initiative

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Midway in its first year of the research initiative, ‘$50 Million by 2015,’ SC State University has surpassed well over $15 million in research funding, University officials announced today.

Launched September 2010, ‘$50 Million by 2015’ seeks to increase SC State’s level of research funding to $50 million annually by fiscal year 2015. The goal for the current year is $29.3 million, a 16 percent increase from $25.2 million in research awards for 2009-2010. 

Efforts through the initiative will help support SC State’s goal to achieve designation as a research University, said Dr. G. Dale Wesson, professor and vice president of the Division of Research, Economic Development and Public Service and executive director of the 1890 Research & Extension Program.

“In academia, $50 million is commonly viewed as the threshold for being considered a research institution. SC State University’s goal of expanding its portfolio of externally sponsored programs and reaching  a sustained $50 million in research awards will help enhance the University’s existing research activities and infrastructure and expand its overall research capacity,” said Wesson.

The University has achieved additional accomplishments within the first few months of the plan’s execution, starting with a distinction awarded to Wesson.

The professional engineer was recognized among world-class engineers and scientists when he was selected for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Massie Chairs of Excellence in Engineering Program, fall 2010.  Wesson, the first in University history to receive this distinction, will conduct research on computational fluid dynamics and investigate applications of thermal hydraulics in nuclear engineering. The Massie Chair Program will also allow SC State to develop and implement programs designed to produce leading minority engineers, who specialize in the nuclear industry. The specialty training will dovetail the ongoing scholarly activities in the University’s undergraduate nuclear degree program, the only such program in South Carolina.

Last December, SC State dispersed research incentives to researchers who met the requirements established in the University’s first research incentive plan. And, this semester, the 1890 Research Program established two new research centers: the Center for Agricultural Systems, Food Production, Safety and Security and the Center for Obesity, Nutrition, Health and Wellness.

Grants awarded to SC State fund research in areas such as nuclear engineering, environmental science, discovery of sustainable solutions through bioremediation and the development of future fuels, obesity, agriculture and education.  Funding is awarded to the University as a result of SC State faculty who aggressively seek external research opportunities from a variety of public and private sources.

“SC State faculty are passionate about responding to many of today’s challenges through discovery and innovation. Given the fierce competition for external funding and the decline of awards granted by funding agencies, faculty are commended for their commitment to carry out the University’s land-grant mission to improve quality of life through research, teaching and service,” said Wesson.

A few ongoing plans for ‘$50 Million by 2015’ call for a continuation of expanding the University’s research infrastructure and support; promoting research by instituting a research bonus program and enhancing visibility of SC State research. Long-range goals include establishing a technology transfer program and creating a research foundation.

For more information on ‘$50 Million by 2015’ or SC State research, contact the Division of Research at (803) 516-4990.