Rochester Institute of Technology continues to expand its research prowess. The university attracted more than $92 million in funds for individual and multidisciplinary research, setting a new record in 2022.
The value of proposals submitted was $265 million.
“With federal funding, stimulus packages which are still being distributed, and even with the new Innovation Bill, there is an increase in money being distributed to federal agencies that fund research,” says Ryne Raffaelle, vice president for research and associate provost at RIT. “Much of it is being directed toward universities and organizations emphasizing collaborations and economic development, all toward competitiveness of the U.S.”
Funding came from federal, state, corporate, and foundation resources and supports many of RIT’s key research areas, such as nanotechnology, imaging science, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, officials say. Grants came from the National Science Foundation ($13.5 million), Department of Defense ($8.6 million) and National Institutes of Health ($6.7 million). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy supported RIT research with $2.5 million each.
Examples of research conducted at RIT include Lishibanya Mohapatra’s work, which is expected to play a role in accelerating the development of new technologies for disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Mohapatra, an assistant professor at RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy, earned a five-year, $1.7 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators from NIH. She, along with a multidisciplinary team, is examining how cells control the size of organelles.
Maureen Ferran, an assistant professor at the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, is exploring solutions to treat prostate cancer cells’ susceptibility to viral infections. Her research also drew attention from NIH.
Ferran expects the project to offer students exposure to hands-on research often reserved for graduate students at other universities. These experiences help with graduate studies and jobs at research labs.
RIT’s Battery Prototyping Center, a $2.5 million facility, is part of Binghamton University’s New Energy NY Project that received Phase I funding through the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The center was established in 2015 to support early-stage development of next generation lithium-ion cells and materials.
Earlier this year, RIT got word that it would receive $2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce to update and expand its Semiconductor Fabrication Lab. The lab is expected to make room for research in semiconductor technologies and prepare the workforce for the microelectronics manufacturing industry.
Collaborative work includes the Center for Public Safety Initiatives. The Greater Rochester Health Foundation gave a $225,000 grant to support comprehensive services for victims of gun violence. The model is predicted to have local and national impact.
While these projects highlight a banner year for RIT, research capabilities have been growing steadily at the university over the last several years. A decade ago, sponsored research totaled $47 million.
Raffaelle credits RIT’s establishment of research centers. It positions and enables the university to react nimbly to funding opportunities.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].