Iowa State attracts record external funding for fourth consecutive year

Iowa State attracted a record $509.2 million in total external funding for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That's an increase of $5.6 million (1.1 percent) over fiscal year 2017's total of $503.6 million. Last year was the first time Iowa State broke the half-billion mark in external funding.

Fiscal year 2018's total marks the fourth record year in a row for Iowa State external funding.

External funding includes grants, contracts, gifts and cooperative agreements from federal, state and local governments as well as from corporations, nonprofits and other universities for research, academic support, scholarships and more.

"Record external funding for the fourth consecutive year reflects Iowa State University's role as a leader in academic and research excellence," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "We are proud of the exceptional return on this investment exemplified by our well-prepared graduates, economic opportunities and innovations that ensure a better future for Iowa and the world."

The latest fiscal year includes $245.8 million in external support for Iowa State researchers. That's a jump in research support of $2.1 million over fiscal year 2017. The record for research funding was $252.5 million during fiscal year 2016.

"We are pleased that our sponsors invest so strongly in Iowa State's research all over campus," said Sarah Nusser, vice president for research. "Our researchers have excelled in demonstrating the value of their discoveries and their capacity to create innovative solutions for today's challenges."

Nusser noted that federally supported research funding increased by $1.6 million over fiscal year 2017, to $170.3 million. That growth included funding increases from the National Institutes of Health and the Defense and Transportation departments.

Nusser also said early career researchers successfully competed for federal support – particularly 14 who won National Science Foundation CAREER awards during the latest fiscal year. The grants are the foundation's most prestigious awards for early career faculty.

Major sources of external research funding, FY18

Federal sources


   Energy (including Ames Laboratory)

$59.5 million

   National Science Foundation

$34.8 million


$32.3 million

   Health and Human Services
   (including National Institutes of Health)

$14.6 million


$9.8 million


$8.5 million


$5.1 million

Non-federal sources



$21.7 million

   State of Iowa

$18.2 million


$16.2 million

   Higher education

$11.2 million

   Commodity groups

$5.1 million


$0.97 million

Total (includes many other sources)

$509.2 million


Recent history of external funding totals

  • FY18, $509.2 million
  • FY17, $503.6 million
  • FY16, $425.8 million
  • FY15, $424.9 million
  • FY14, $368.4 million
  • FY13, $326.4 million
  • FY12, $360.2 million
  • FY11, $342.3 million
  • FY10, $388.2 million