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University Sees Record-Breaking Year in Grant Funding

Across disciplines, faculty have received more than $22M in grants to further programs and research

Posted in: Research

student using microscope in molecular biology lab
Montclair State sees record-breaking year in grant funding for research and sponsored programs.

Montclair State faculty, leading educational programs and research in multiple disciplines across the University attracted a record-breaking $22.4 million in external grant funding for fiscal year 2020, shattering the FY 2019 record of $17.9 million.

Researchers in fields as diverse as biochemistry, educational leadership, environmental science, social work, modern languages and psychology are investigating everything from STEM education for Hispanic students and their families to school security climate, neurotransmitter functionality, K-12 education inclusion for children with disabilities, enzyme inhibitors for memory loss – and so much more.

Funders include a growing and varied list of federal, state, local and private sponsors including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Justice.

Ted Russo, director of Research and Sponsored Programs, reports the dollar amount is also nearly double what the University attracted just eight years ago, in FY 2012. Grants have seen steady growth each year during the last decade, and the University is off to a strong start for FY 2021 with $6 million in new funding announced in just the first few months.

…coming after our R2 status, really solidifies our standing as a public research institution. These grants show that our University is headed in exactly the right direction, increasing its research endeavors and our funding portfolio. It’s great for our faculty – and for our students, who are getting lots of opportunities to participate in research.

Vice Provost for Research Scott Herness on the record-breaking year for grants

Included in the FY 2020 funding:

  • four-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, led by PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies Director Amy Tuininga, to better engage Hispanic STEM students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities – and extend these learning opportunities to their families and corporate and community partners. With Sociology Department Chair Yasemin Besen-Cassino, College of Science and Mathematics Dean Lora Billings, and Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Nina Goodey as co-principal investigators. In addition, Assistant Vice President for Hispanic Serving Initiatives Katia Paz Goldfarb will participate as senior personnel.
  • three-year, $600,000 grant from the NSF, led by Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Nina Goodey, to explore the effectiveness of teaming up STEM and non-STEM majors in project-based summer internships hosted by companies and organizations. The interdisciplinary leadership team includes Amy Tuininga and Elizabeth Emery, professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, as co-principal investigators.
  • five-year, $500,280 grant from the prestigious NSF CAREER program for Assistant Chemistry Professor Glen O’Neil and his team to develop tools that will produce chemical images of neurotransmitters around living neurons with high resolution in order to better understand neurotransmission at the subcellular level. He also received a three-year, $100,000 award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s Cottrell Scholar Award that recognizes early career scholars who excel in both teaching and research.
  • four-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation that contributes to the national need for diverse, well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Montclair State University, a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a majority minority institution. Over its five-year duration, this project will fund scholarships to 37 full time and part time students who are pursuing master’s degrees in chemistry.
  • A three-year, $300,079 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Major Instrumentation Program for the acquisition of a High-Performance GPU [graphics processing units] Cluster for Research and Education. The instrument serves to both attract the interest of, and provide training in, leading-edge computing to a diverse group of students in order to inspire and prepare them to be part of the future STEM workforce.
  • five-year $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor David Rotella and team to evaluate the hypothesis that inhibiting an enzyme related to memory loss might improve performance in animal models of memory without mechanism-based adverse events.

Story by Staff Writer Mary Barr Mann