External Funding to Support USM Research and Education Increases by 7.2 Percent, Exceeds $1.279 Billion

Adelphi, Md. (Jan. 29, 2016) -- Funding from external sources to support research, education and public service activities at University System of Maryland (USM) institutions reached more than $1.279 billion during fiscal year (FY) 2015, an increase of 7.2 percent from its FY 2014 levels.

Outside or "extramural" funding, including grants and contracts, is a major source of financial support for the activities on USM campuses. Faculty and staff at USM institutions obtain funding for research, education, and public service activities from a number of sources. Those entities include the federal government, Maryland state agencies, non-profit foundations, and corporations.

The increase represented the system's second straight year of growth in extramural funding. While this trend is promising, nationally the environment for securing federal funding is always challenging. During FY 2015, institutions received higher funding overall despite a slight decline in the number of awards (9,871) from the FY 2014 total (10,232).

Extramural grants and contracts allow USM institutions to meet such system-wide goals as advancing Maryland's goal of 55-percent degree completion, advancing the state's competitiveness in the innovation economy, and sustaining national eminence.

Some examples of these extramural funding initiatives follow below:

   1) The USM is one of 15 higher education institutions in the United States to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education under the federal government's First in the World (FITW) grant program. The four-year, $2.98 million award will fund USM's work in helping students who pursue degrees in the liberal arts and social sciences perform better in developmental mathematics courses early in their college career.  

   With the grant, USM will implement its Maryland Mathematics Reform Initiative (MMRI), which will introduce a new statistics curriculum for students in these majors. The statistics coursework would be as rigorous as the traditional algebra/calculus curriculum sequence required to graduate, but much more relevant to what liberal arts and social sciences students need for their majors. The funding represents an important external source toward improving retention and graduation rates for students in these disciplines.

    2) The USM, including the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is partnering with The MITRE Corporation to operate the first federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) solely dedicated to enhancing cybersecurity and protecting national information systems. In October 2015, MITRE was selected to operate the center by (NIST).

    The new FFRDC will support the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), which NIST, the state of Maryland, and Montgomery County (Md.)  established in 2012 to help businesses secure their data and digital infrastructure by bringing together information security experts from industry, government and academia.

    3) A $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund research, education and training at the intersections of digital humanities and African American studies at UMCP in an effort to prepare a diverse community of scholars and students whose work will both broaden the reach of the digital humanities in African American history and cultural studies and enrich humanities research with new methods, archives and tools.

    4) At the School of Dentistry at UMB, investigator Robert Ernst and his collaborators have discovered bacterial membrane components that promise faster, more accurate diagnoses of common infections. Working now with new collaborators at the biotechnology research firm MedImmune, Ernst is applying his research on the design of new molecules to customize vaccine design. Ernst has secured roughly $550,000 in funding (with more pending) from a diversity of sources, including MedImmune, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

    5) Stephen Habey of the Salisbury University (SU) chemistry department earned the campus' first competitive grant from NIH. The Academic Research Enhancement Award, just more than $290,000, will expand research opportunities for undergraduates and enhance SU's laboratory spaces with new equipment.

    6) At Towson University, the Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics annually receives nearly $2 million in external grants and contracts to support pure and applied research and curriculum development.


The full report on FY 2015 USM extramural funding can be read here (item 2).

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719
Email: mlurie@usmd.edu