Lemons into Lemonade

TU and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

TOWSON, Md. (September 30, 2009) - Poor economic conditions are translating into unprecedented funding opportunities for higher education, and TU is taking great advantage of them as it benefits from the government’s recent investment in good science/high quality educational programs and economic development. As of Sept. 29, TU has received seven awards made with ARRA funds: two from the National Institutes of Health; four from the National Science Foundation; and the latest, from the United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Funding totals just under $2 million. More important, however, is the work that the funding is enabling TU to carry out: ARRA awards are supporting projects ranging from research on eating disorders and basic biological research to scholarships for students who will become science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers.

According to Kei Koizumi, assistant director, Federal Research and Development, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in a presentation to participants in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Grants Resource Center External Funding Conference in August, the federal government is now making its biggest investment in basic research in history. Most of the funding being awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will go to colleges and universities. Koizumi went on to emphasize that the challenge to the federal agencies administering the funding is to support good science and at the same time stimulate the economy. This means that grant proposals that would not be funded due to reviewers’ ratings will still not be funded; however, more funding is available to support the many good proposals that would otherwise be declined solely for lack of funds.

On the horizon is continued funding for the kinds of projects that TU does and does well. Office of Science and Technology Policy priorities for fiscal year 2010 and 2011 federal budgets, according to Koizumi, are clean energy, a healthier American people, a safer American people, and economic development and stimulus. This means increased funding for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Perhaps better news for TU is that, according to Jim Turner of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the U.S. Department of Energy will be focusing its funding on the societal impacts of clean energy, on moving new discoveries quickly to practice, and on education and training rather than on basic energy research. This opens opportunities for our social scientists, psychologists, and especially our education experts.  Funding will be in support of initiatives such as teacher training and online educational programs.

Another very bright spot for Towson University – the fiscal year 2010 federal budget will support initiatives focusing on STEM education, including funding for graduate research fellowships, for projects encouraging students to pursue careers in clean energy technology and for projects engaging graduate and undergraduate students in climate change research.

Presentations made at the AASCU Grants Resource Center External Funding Conference in August are available through the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research by e-mailing or calling 410-704-2236. We’ll continue to update the campus community as stimulus awards are received; currently, several awards are pending, including two for major research equipment and one for facilities renovation. 

Office of Sponsored Programs & Research
212E Administration Building

Phone: 410-704-2236
Fax: 410-704-4494




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