Sept. 10, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 1

Scientific research at BC has attracted considerable outside funding.

Funded Research Reaches Record Level at University

Boston College scholars probing the complexities of urban schools and the makeup of Earth's ionosphere helped realize a university record $42.2 million for research and sponsored projects in fiscal 2004. The total was 20 percent more than was received the previous fiscal year.

Education research accounted for nearly a third of the dollars: More than $9 million went to the Lynch School of Education, while its affiliated International Study Center, which measures school math and science achievement worldwide, accounted for another $3.675 million on its own budget line.

Lynch School researchers are studying such areas as standardized-testing fairness, bilingual and special-needs education, and extended-service school programming that offers non-academic support such as counseling and healthcare to inner-city pupils and their families, said Lynch School Interim Dean Joseph O'Keefe, SJ.

"The research we do is totally in line with our mission to make the world a better place," Fr. O'Keefe said.

Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Smyer said: "The areas we're strong in certainly are tied to our mission. And we are very successful at the interplay of research and student learning." He said 15 percent of BC seniors currently graduate having had some form of research internship.

Departments receiving more than $1 million apiece reflected the breadth and variety of research currently being done at Boston College.

Nearly $6.6 million went to Chemistry, where research into DNA, cutting-edge nano-science, and catalysts used in making medicines are among the fields of inquiry occupying scientists, said the department's vice-chairwoman, Prof. Mary Roberts.

The Institute for Scientific Research, which undertakes studies of the ionosphere useful to aircraft communications and global positioning systems, took in nearly $4.9 million, much of it from the Air Force, according to Director Leo Power.

Nearly $2.6 million went to Biology, where biomedical and genetic research is being done that will contribute to the fight against such diseases as cancer, epilepsy and Tay Sach's, according to BC BioNews' editor, Senior Scientist John Roche.

Also receiving more than a million toward research were the Graduate School of Social Work ($3.4 million); the Carroll School of Management and its various centers (more than $2.9 million); Physics ($1.8 million); Initiatives on Aging ($1.6 million); the Connell School of Nursing ($1.3 million), and Psychology (nearly $1.2 million).

The record total came as good news to the office that shepherds applications for research funding. Director John Carfora praised colleagues in the Office For Sponsored Programs for their hard work and dedication, while offering kudos to researchers who won grants in a tight funding climate.

"At a time when our nation is coping with economic challenges, and when Washington is simultaneously bustling with talk of reductions in federal monies for research and development, a record setting year for Boston College is a genuine testimony to the faculty and staff who transform ideas that require funding into proposals that merit funding," Carfora said.

"Their dedication, in particular, to the integration of teaching and research is truly noteworthy."

This semester, Chronicle will spotlight members of the University community whose projects convey the variety of research being done at Boston College. If you have a good research story or know a researcher whose work deserves attention in our pages, please email Mark Sullivan or call ext.2-4826.

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