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K-State Today

August 15, 2016

K-State faculty submit record number of funding proposals in fiscal year 2016

Submitted by Peter Dorhout

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As summer winds down and we set goals for the 2016-2017 academic year, it's a good time to examine the state of the K-State research enterprise.

We chart research awards according to the state fiscal year, or FY. We now have research award results from FY 2016 — from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. During that period, K-State researchers submitted a record number of proposals: 2,075 proposals for $480,683,848. This was a 25 percent increase from FY 2015. Awards also were a record 1,336, roughly a 39 percent increase. Despite the high number of awards, overall dollars were down. The total was $129,234,132, a decrease of 6 percent from FY 2015.

Here's a complete rundown of results from the last five years:

FY 2016 
Proposals: 2,075 totaling $480,683,848
Awards: 1,336 totaling $129,234,132

FY 2015
Proposals: 1,660 totaling $533,678,721
Awards: 962 totaling $137,589,870

FY 2014
Proposals: 1,515 totaling $466,817,560
Awards: 954 totaling $140,423,033

FY 2013
Proposals: 1,374 totaling $443,027,069
Awards: 880 totaling $151,343,529

FY 2012
Proposals: 1,279 totaling $358,840,803
Awards: 910 totaling $137,445,396

These results demonstrate a few things.

  1. Our faculty members are actively competing for research funding at an unprecedented level, which is a reflection of the quality of our faculty and the teams we are building.
  2. More awards don't necessarily translate into more dollars. In some years, we've had fewer awards but the list of successes has included large awards such as the U.S. Agency for International Development Feed the Future labs. In FY 2013, for example, K-State garnered 880 awards, but that year produced our record number of dollars, $151,343,529, because of large awards.
  3. We are providing our faculty excellent service through PreAward Services, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the other research administration offices around campus with which we partner. I offer my thanks to all for a job well done.

Research awards also show us how we can improve. To become a Top 50 public research university, we need to increase research expenditures, which means we need to be more successful in competing for funding. Simply put, we need to continue to improve the quality of the proposals we submit. Although the number of proposals has grown steadily in the last several years, we also need to continue to increase the number of faculty members who submit proposals. The previously mentioned offices provide excellent support for faculty who are new to the process.

If you're not sure where to look for funding opportunities or need help producing the best possible proposal, staff in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs can help. Our development directors offer training sessions throughout the year and can provide one-on-one or group tutorials. They also manage team building and coordinate logistics, as well as help with diversity and education plans (aka Broader Impacts) for larger, multidisciplinary submissions. Along with coordinating grant development and submissions, the development directors help researchers create data management and archiving plans. Staff in PreAward Services will help you develop your budget; prepare necessary forms; ensure you are meeting agency criteria and complying with all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations; prepare and negotiate agreements and subcontracts; and submit your proposal through official portals. If you aren't taking full advantage of the formidable expertise available through ORSP and PreAward Services, please do so.

The Office of the VPR will do its part, too. We will be refreshing our approach to helping the university meet 2025 goals this fall by engaging in broad unit strategic planning and refreshing in September. Finally, our units continue to work on a number of large and small projects to help faculty increase the number and quality of proposals in an effort to improve our bottom line. Look for more news soon!

Go Cats,

Peter Dorhout