Oct 20, 2020 6 min read

A Record-Breaking Year for Mason Research

George Mason University Shows Continued Growth of Sponsored Research; On Target to Surpass $200 Million in Grants

There are many challenges of our time. Environmental and public health issues top the list of threats to our future well-being as world citizens. Great research-oriented universities perform valuable studies directed toward resolving global problems. This requires grants.

We celebrate George Mason University's success in continually increasing the amount of grant funds received to support essential research programs. The institution deserves special commendation for their 10% increase in funds received for sponsored research. This is a significant increase from 2019, when they reported $186 million in secured funds.

This year they received an all-time high of more than $200 million. The exact number will reportedly be available in November. The funds come from federal and state government entities, industry, non-profit organizations, and the university itself.

"We face serious problems as a planet if we cannot solve our most pressing global challenges. . . We have grown our research portfolio significantly in recent years as more entities seek out productive partnerships with the largest and most diverse public university in Virginia," says Mason President, Gregory Washington.

The university's commitment to honoring faculty members' ambitions, and willingness to develop relationships with new partners to design research programs on newly emerging topics are very positive actions. Research programs that have an impact upon all of us are rewarding for student participants as well as offering a global benefit.

Interim vice president for research, innovation and economic impact, Auralie Dade commends Mason for, "Strategically pursuing the goal of elevating research through supporting our community while they engage in high-impact research, scholarship and creative activities across all of our disciplines,"

The growth of expenditures has more than doubled since 2014. The trend of long term, continuing growth in receipt of support funds for research, reflects the honorable reputation of the university's research programs.

Some Issues Mason's Prestigious Research Grants Address

The Opioid Crisis
The National Institute on Drug Abuse provided Mason with a $15 million grant for the establishment of a Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN). 11 other research-conducting institutions are involved in this cooperative effort to control the problem of the national opioid crisis. Faye Taxman, a Mason professor, will be responsible for coordinating communications, engaging with practitioners and other stakeholders. She will also be responsible for distributing products and key research findings.

The opioid crisis is a serious threat to public health. We applaud the role George Mason University will play in finding effective methods to address this serious problem.

Improving STEM Education
Siddhartha Sikdar, Mason bioengineering professor, will lead the implementation of a nearly $3 million dollar National Science Foundation Research Trainee Grant received by Mason. More than one hundred PhD students, some with disabilities, will be trained to use state-of-the-art analytical methods and wearable computing technologies based on novel transdisciplinary competencies, applications, and practice curriculum.

This research is valuable as it could change the course of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate education practices. STEM education is critical in preparing the next generation to advance the country's status and spur sustained economic growth.

Predicting Effects of Global Warming in Arctic Environments
Ice in the northern polar regions is melting at an unprecedented rate. What will this mean for the lifestyle and fabric of the lives of those who live in the Arctic region? A $3 million dollar National Science Foundation research grant will help Elsie Miller-Hooks and Celso Ferriera (Mason engineering professors), and Sara Cobb (Carter School Professor), and a multi-institutional research group to find out.

COVID-19
We all wish for an end to the suffering and death of those who contract COVID-19 along with the disruption of our lives, forced changes of plans. More than one hundred of Mason's faculty members and students are playing an active part in the crusade to find new diagnostic tools, promising therapies, vaccine delivery systems. Seven national science foundation rapid research grants are helping Mason researchers get results faster than a traditional grant process.