From the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies
The NC State enrollment plan, endorsed by Chancellor James L. Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielsen, has boldly challenged us to increase Graduate School enrollment 50 percent by 2017 while maintaining superior quality. This will require unprecedented efforts to attract and retain great faculty, seek additional research funding, and equip new offices, classrooms, and laboratories. It will also call for NC State to leverage its reputation as a research university and its history of building partnerships to maximize the benefits of its discoveries around the world.
We have made impressive gains in the National Science Foundation's most recent rankings of U.S. university research programs. Facing tough competition for research dollars in the past few years, NC State rose from 13th to 11th in total research expenditures among universities without medical schools, ranking third in industry funding among the same universities.
Our faculty continue to rise to the challenge of expanding their research programs and involving more graduate and undergraduate students. Three colleges increased research funding 45 percent or more over the past five years: Textiles, Veterinary Medicine, and Physical and Mathematical Sciences. The College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences had a very big year in 2006-07, increasing its research funding 10.3 percent to $30.1 million. Its Mathematics Department alone produced an increase of $3.2 million.
FY07 saw a 20 percent increase in licensing deals negotiated by our Office of Technology Transfer. It was also a great year for spin-offs and product launches, bringing our start-up companies to 68, and the total number of commercially-available products developed at NC State since 1980 to over 100. Our Centennial Campus was named 2007 Research Science Park of the Year by the Association of University Research Parks, recognizing its innovation and technology partnership creation for economic development.
A Nanotechnology Initiative was launched in 2006 to coordinate NC State’s growing nanotechnology efforts by fostering cross-disciplinary research, expanding academic programs and educational outreach, and supporting industry collaboration. Recognizing our 26 new nanotechnology patent awards and 81 new nanotechnology industry licenses in 2006, Small Times Magazine ranked NC State third in nanotechnology commercialization and seventh in education among U.S. universities.
As NC State begins its Year of Energy, our campus-wide Energy Initiative will address a national and state energy research agenda. Our faculty firepower in energy supply, distribution, conservation, carbon management, and policy is doing big things when it comes to this global challenge. Research here is expanding North Carolina’s biofuels industries, smart electrical grid development, materials and power technologies based on new nanotechnologies, smart buildings, greener vehicles, and nuclear technologies. Our history of research success predicts our future.