The hallmark of America’s colleges and universities is its technological advancements in medicine and the sciences, fueled by its shrewd dedication to research. The progress universities make to thrust society forward spurs employment and economic growth.
However, as states continue to tighten their budgets for higher education and as pandemic-era federal funds dry up, colleges and universities are finding creative ways to continue with their vital research.
Recent scientific research and development consortia between different colleges and universities are proving to be fruitful pathways to continue pursuing sophisticated research into cutting-edge—and costly—areas of study.
Institutions regularly pair with outside entities to secure proper funding. Depending on the project, colleges and universities can pair with research centers, government agencies, and multinational corporations.
Advancing Photonics Technologies
Last week, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Regional Innovation Engines program awarded a development grant for universities, community colleges, leading photonics companies and statewide economic and workforce development programs to develop photonic technology further. Photonics has important implications for the advancement of self-driving cars and fiber optics.
The Advancing Photonics Technologies, spearheaded by Princeton University and Rowan University, will provide two years of funding to institutions across the Northeast, including Rutgers University, to develop a research proposal. If accepted, the consortia can receive up to $160 million to implement their plans.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance the training for students across Rutgers and put them on track for successful careers in one of the most important technology areas of the 21st century,” said Piotr Piotrowiak, senior vice chancellor for research, according to a university statement. “It is particularly important for Newark, which serves student populations significantly underrepresented in high-tech industries such as photonics. We see this as an excellent platform to advance the job market competitiveness of our students, our research programs and our region.”
“NSF is seeding the future for in-place innovation in communities and to grow their regional economies through research and partnerships,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “This will unleash ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems across our nation.”
The Permian Energy Development Laboratory
Seven Texas and New Mexico colleges and two national laboratories led by the University of Texas at Austin are developing the Permian Energy Development Laboratory to foster the next chapter in energy utilization.
The lab is ideally situated in the largest petroleum-producing basin in the United States, the Permian Basin. Aside from its crude oil, it is also known for its solar and wind power production. Blending classic and advancing energy sources, the colleges are ideally situated to launch the next generation of energy resources.
“The Permian has the resources, know-how and workforce to ensure success,” said Marilu Hastings, chair of the UT Energy Institute Advisory Board and executive vice president of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, according to UT News. “Working as partners, we will position Texas and southeast New Mexico to win the race to build the world’s next-generation energy technologies.”
NYC Train KUHR
The New York Consortium for Interdisciplinary Training in Kidney, Urological, and Hematological Research—known simply as NYC Train KUHR—has brought together several colleges to mentor pre- and post-doctoral fellows in interdisciplinary research. To kick off the consortium, the National Institutes of Health awarded the Albert Einstein College of Medicine a five-year, $6.6 million grant.
More than 100 scientists skilled in kidney, urologic, and hematologic disease research will collaborate to develop the next generation of fellows in interdisciplinary research involving these specialties.
Participating schools include Einstein, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.
“Individually, our institutions have impressive track records in basic science, translational, and clinical research achievements within these conditions,” said Kirk Campbell, M.D., professor of medicine and co-principal investigator at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Together, our strengths are magnified, and we can share our collective expertise with new trainees who will continue to make advances in the field.”