Iowa State attracts a record $424.9 million in external funding for fiscal year 2015

Researchers in ISU wind tunnel

Aerospace engineers, left to right, Anupam Sharma and Hui Hu are working to improve the performance of wind turbines and wind farms. Their research has been supported by the Iowa Energy Center and the National Science Foundation. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Iowa State broke its external funding record, attracting $424.9 million during the fiscal year ending June 30.

The previous record was $388.2 million in FY10. Last year’s external funding was $368.4 million, now the third-highest total for Iowa State.

“This record funding is testimony to the confidence that government agencies, industry, foundations and individuals have in the expertise of our faculty and staff,” President Steven Leath said. “More than half of this money is dedicated to research projects that are addressing issues affecting Iowans as well as people throughout the world.”

Of the nearly $425 million in FY15 external funding, $226 million supported research projects across campus.

External funding includes grants, contracts, gifts and cooperative agreements from federal, state and local governments as well as from corporations, foundations and other universities.

The funds support Iowa State researchers, students, education programs, equipment purchases, building projects and extension activities. The funding is in addition to state appropriations, which support daily operations of the university.

The jump in external funding includes a $44 million increase over the previous year from the ISU Foundation and a $14 million increase from federal agencies. The federal increase includes a jump of nearly $10 million from the National Science Foundation and its competitive grants program.

“This record year was driven by a strong year of fundraising and excellent gains in federal funding,” said Sarah Nusser, vice president for research. “The ISU Foundation is helping to support university priorities such as the planned Student Innovation Center. The increase in federal funding is supporting major priorities for Iowa State’s research mission, including big data, computer and computational science research, awards for new investigators and the establishment of larger research teams and interdisciplinary centers.”

Iowa State’s external funding came from the following sources during FY15:

Federal agencies

  • Agriculture: $64,247,174
  • Energy: $59,299,085
  • National Science Foundation: $41,446,300
  • Education: $29,885,371
  • Health and Human Services: $9,211,616
  • Commerce: $6,210,039
  • Transportation: $5,295,463
  • Defense: $3,429,878
  • Other federal: $4,861,911

Non-federal sources

  • Individuals: $90,045,289
  • Industry/corporate: $39,563,329
  • State of Iowa government: $29,982,231
  • Nonprofit organizations: $16,242,608
  • Higher education: $14,107,851
  • Commodity groups: $5,729,010
  • Foreign sources: $2,657,192
  • Non-Iowa state and local governments: $1,516,126
  • Local Iowa governments/school districts: $1,213,894

Grand total

  • $424,944,367