Sponsored Research Reaches New Record

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Boston College faculty are completing their best year ever in terms of sponsored research funding, having obtained more than $27 million in outside grants for the 1999 fiscal year that draws to a close this week.

Through April, the total of $27.17 million in grants from government and private foundations had already eclipsed the record $23.47 million set the previous fiscal year. Administrators are now waiting to see if the final tally for the June 1998-to-May 1999 fiscal period breaks through the $30 million plateau.

"If you compare where we are at the end of April this year to where we were at the end of April in '98, we're 29 percent ahead," Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean and Associate Vice President for Research Michael Smyer said last week.

Smyer said the latest gains continue a trend of "tremendous growth" in external funding for research at Boston College, where he said annual grant dollars for faculty and graduate student projects have more than doubled over the past six years.

"At the University level, we're providing the conditions for success that have allowed us to attract and retain first-rate faculty who are actively engaged in their disciplines," Smyer said. He credited the hard work of the Research Administration and Development offices for helping faculty locate and land external funding.

ORA Director Stephen Erickson said, "The true credit goes to the increased activity of the faculty and their willingness to seek these funds. They've been terrific."

Through April, BC scholars had submitted 294 proposals, 11 percent more than at that time the previous year, and had applied for a total of $143 million, up 23 percent from the end of April 1998.

Roughly a third of the grants received through April - $9.44 million - have gone to the Lynch School of Education, where the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy and its Third International Mathematics and Science Study have received substantial funding.

Other leading grant recipients through April have been the Institute for Scientific Research, with $3.37 million; the Chemistry Department, with $3.52 million; the Carroll School of Management, site of the Social Security Administration's new Center for Retirement Research, with $2.75 million; the Biology Department, $1.57 million, and the Physics Department, $1.17 million.

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