From the Desk of Dean Reeder

Hello alumni, current students, family and friends. It seems like winter is finally over, and things are warming up in Pittsburgh and the plants and trees are in bloom. We had a productive fall and winter in the Bayer School and student and faculty successes abound. One measure of faculty success is scholarship in the form of grant funding. As part of my message this time, I thought I would discuss the importance of grant funding, especially to undergraduate students in the Bayer School. Grant funding data was compiled for the past five years for the University as part of a report put together by the Duquesne University Office of Research. The table below, which highlights the accomplishments of the Bayer School over the past five years, was extracted from that report. The Bayer School has averaged over $6 million in grant funding, with the over $6 million received in 2013 equating to nearly one-half of the grant funding brought into the entire university. This grant funding directly affects undergraduate students in a positive way because it provides funds to employ them in BSNES research labs, doing real-world, cutting-edge research alongside graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty mentors. This experience better prepares them for successful futures in graduate school, medical and other professional schools and/or the workforce. Here is the data for the past five years.

Awards Props Proposed Amt Awarded Amt Amt per Yr Amt per Prop Award per Prop % Award
2010 28 95 $28,023,971 $9,516,421 $5,887,962 $294,989 $198,259 51%
2011 25 66 $26,059,979 $8,121,874 $3,339,174 $394,848 $324,875 38%
2012 38 76 $20,230,750 $5,301,173 $3,078,442 $266,194 $139,505 50%
2013 41 69 $17,641,889 $6,547,419 $4,162,747 $255,680 $159,693 59%
2014 36 78 $21,741,512 $2,308,182 $1,981,464 $287,737 $64,116 46%
Total 188 384 $113,698,102 $31,795,070 $18,449,769 $1,490,448 $886,448 49%
Avg 38 77 $22,739,620 $6,359,014 $3,689,954 $298,090 $177,290 49%

As evidenced in this table, grant funding is cyclical, and the overall amount of grant funding was lower in 2014, but the number of proposal submissions and number of awards was consistent compared to other years. The fact is that faculty members from the Bayer School were again successful in obtaining funding to support their research and students, but the amount awarded per proposal decreased. This is a trend that is occurring nationally because of decreased funding amounts available via federal grant programs, like those at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Science schools, like the Bayer School, are reassessing their external funding models to maintain this flow of funds which are so important for providing undergraduate students with research opportunities. Increased solicitation of funds from foundations and private donors are viewed as a way to offset the shortfall in federally-based grant funding.

Earlier I mentioned student success as being part of the funding formula in the Bayer School. I want to recount one student's experience as they complete their senior year and look towards graduate school. This student will graduate in May 2015, and in anticipation of this graduation applied to and was accepted with full tuition waivers and stipends, to no less than eight of the finest academic institutions in the country. These include North Carolina State, UC-Berkley, UC-Santa Barbara, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Johns Hopkins, the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and Northwestern University. In fall 2015 this student will begin their work on a doctorate at CalTech. This student's success can in part be directly attributed to the hard work of our faculty, and funding provided by grants and scholarships. Student success of this type is not the exception, but is the norm in the Bayer School, with student acceptance into graduate, medical and other professional schools and placement in jobs related to their field of study too numerous to list.

Other student highlights include presenting at professional meetings and the receipt of various awards. See the story "Bayer School Students Receive Prestigious Awards" which is part of this issue of Spectrum. (link to it here).

Congratulations to our dedicated students, faculty and staff on their accomplishments. Also, if you ever want to donate to any of the worthwhile endeavors that are going on in the Bayer School,feel free to contact me to discuss the details.

Best Wishes,


Philip Reeder, Ph.D.
Dean, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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