NU garners all-time high in research grants, receiving $438.8 million

Northwestern received a record-breaking $438.8 million in research grants last year, the highest in the university's history and a 5 percent increase from $416.4 million in 2007.

"It was a fantastic year, given the relatively flat federal budget," said Susan Ross, director for the Office for Sponsored Research on NU's Evanston Campus.

A 10 percent increase in federal funding helped make this possible, Ross said. The largest portion of the funding came from the National Institutes of Health and went to the Feinberg School of Medicine, which received more than $268 million, or over 60 percent of the total grant money awarded to NU.

NIH grants awarded to Feinberg include $32 million to conduct the National Children's Study, billed as the most extensive U.S. study of child development ever performed and $21 million to improve a national research program that helps preserve fertility in women who have cancer.  (The Oncofertility Consortium)

Ross said she attributes the surge of donations to NU's interdisciplinary research.

"It makes us unique and competitive because the research delves into nontraditional fields," she said, adding that researchers can now continue with their "vital work."

In addition to the high dollar amount, the university also received a record 2,413 grants in 2008, compared to 2,379 in 2007 and 2,227 in 2006.

Other substantial grant recipients included the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science with $59 million and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with $55 million. 

"We review 1.6 billion proposals per year," Ross said. "Last year, we applied for over a billion dollars from the National Institutes of Health, but we are still satisfied with what we got."