SAN DIEGO–Grant funding at San Diego State University (SDSU) rose 10 percent in 2018-19, reaching $148.5 million—the second-highest amount in university history.
The increase demonstrates the university’s continued excellence in achieving support for its research activities, notably in a year that saw a government shutdown and an unpredictable federal budget environment.
Some 312 investigators received 786 awards. Funding from major agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) increased, reaching $28.9 million and $9.3 million, respectively.
“I am proud of our faculty and student researchers whose groundbreaking work continues to garner crucial funding,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “This year’s increase in research dollars reflects SDSU’s ongoing commitment to world-class teaching and research activity that is preparing our students to compete in a global economy and to solve the world’s greatest challenges.”
The university received its largest-ever NIH award, a five-year $19.9 million grant to support health disparities research and create the SDSU HealthLINK Center. Twenty-four grants exceeded $1 million and supported research on Hispanic health, STEM education and water science.
“Whether they are developing actionable interventions for vulnerable populations or building scientific knowledge that will help shape the future of key areas like health care, climate and transportation, SDSU faculty and students are helping change the world through their scholarship, research, interventions and discoveries,” said Stephen Welter, vice president for research and dean of graduate affairs.
SDSU is growing in national prominence, rising to No. 60 from the previous year’s No. 68 among public universities ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Researchers this year have discovered a third planet in the Kepler-47 Circumbinary System, studied a compound that reduces cardiac damage after a heart attack, identified a catalyst that may lower the cost of prescriptions and made strides in understanding the biology of autism. They have built a molecular model of spider silk, developed a new way to study aggressive forms of cancer, leveraged bacteriophages in personalized medicine and investigated how an essential nutrient could mitigate developmental damage from prenatal exposure to alcohol.
SDSU investigators have created tools to promote equity in the classroom, used silicone wristbands to measure nicotine exposure in children and developed assessments to detect language problems in children earlier. They are combatting drug resistance, helping create a digitized plant collection to understand the impact of climate change on California, shedding light on gay and transgender identity, and establishing a better understanding of the role of women in Hollywood.
In nearly every instance, students are in labs or in the field contributing to their mentors’ work and learning how to apply their studies in real-world environments. This summer, SDSU is funding 52 undergraduates to conduct research under the mentorship of university faculty.