Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation offers perspective on FY 2020 extramural funding

The chart shows 10 years of funding totals: FY 2011 $23.3M; FY 2012 $21.3M; FY 2013 $21.5M; FY 2014 $20.6M; FY 2015 $18.8M; FY 2016 $23.1M; FY 2017 $17.8M; FY 2018 $24.1M; FY 2019 $24.1M; FY 2020 $27.0M
10-year funding trend

I am thrilled to announce that in FY 2020 Miami University set a new record for extramural funding: $26,951,278.

Although it is my privilege, as Interim Vice President of Research & Innovation, to announce this wonderful news, credit for the achievement is due in large part to the leadership of former VPRI Jim Oris, who retired on the last day of FY 2020. The year’s unprecedented level of funding is a culmination of Jim’s nine years of service to Miami’s research community, as a strategic thinker, an advocate, and a builder of relationships.

Even more directly responsible for the year’s success are the faculty and staff who applied for funding. They poured countless hours into gathering preliminary data, writing proposals, and developing relationships with sponsors. As a principal investigator myself, I know that each award of funding can represent five or ten – sometimes even more – proposals that were submitted but not funded. I also know that these low funding rates can make the proposal development process seem thankless. So, I will take this opportunity to extend a sincere thank you to the researchers, scholars, and artists behind every one of the 314 proposals Miami submitted in FY 2020.

Breaking down our record year

The chart shows the dollar value of awards and percentage of total awards, by division: College of Arts and Science $12.2M 45%; College of Creative Arts $156K 1%; College of Education, Health, and Society $1.7M 6%; Middletown Campus $306K 1%; Hamilton Campus $1.8M 7%; Farmer School of Business $450K 2%; College of Engineering & Computing $3.1M 11%; Research + Graduate School $3.6M 13%; Other Offices $3.7M 14%
Value of awards by division

Total funding in FY 2020 increased by nearly $3 million over FY 2019, a gain of more than 10%. Most of our divisions also saw increases. The College of Engineering & Computing led the way, more than doubling last year’s funding to achieve a total of $3.1 million. Significant gains were also seen by the College of Education, Health, & Society (up 70%), Research & Innovation + the Graduate School (up 20%), and the Middletown Campus (up 13%).

Although federal funding has been declining nationwide, our direct federal funding held fairly steady over the past year. Where the decline in federal funding may be more evident is in the 42% reduction in funds received from colleges, universities, and research institutions. This funding often comes in the form of subcontracts for work on projects sponsored by federal agencies. Fortunately, these losses were offset by increases in other sources of funding, including a tripling of funding from governments other than the federal government and the State of Ohio.

Chart shows the value of awards and percentage of total awards by source: Federal Government $9.7M 36%; State of Ohio $6.9M 26%; Associations, Foundations, & Other Non-Profits $4.6M 17%; Business & Industry $3.2M 12%; Colleges, Universities, and Research Institutions $1.8M 6%; Other Government $825K 3%. Breakout chart shows value of awards and percentage of Federal Government funding by federal agency: NSF $5.4M 61%; NIH $2.7M 31%; Department of Education $253K 3%; Other $1.3M 5%
Value of awards by source
hart shows the value of awards and percentage of total value of awards by purpose: Research $18.1M 67%; Service $4.3M 16%; Student Financial Aid $3.0M 11%; Instruction $1.1M 4%; Fellowship $470K 2%
Value of awards by purpose

In keeping with a historical trend, the overwhelming majority of FY2020 external funds were awarded in support of research activities. Funding for research, public service, and student financial aid all increased, but the biggest percentage gain — 92% — was in funding for fellowships.

Why we do what we do

Miamians are so dedicated to securing external funding because that funding enables work that couldn’t happen without it. Each proposal represents a potential intellectual breakthrough, transformative learning experience, or consequential service. These things are at the heart of our mission as a university. Directly or indirectly, they make lives better, and unparalleled extramural funding means unparalleled accomplishments on behalf of the citizens of Ohio, our nation, and the world. Following are some examples.


Louis DeBiasio

DeBiasio received a grant from NSF for research that leads to better understanding the mathematical structures at the heart of combinatorial problems with implications for computer science and network design.

Ann Dell’Aria

Ann Dell’Aria

Dell’Aria received funding from the non-profit arts organization FotoFocus to curate a public art exhibition featuring moving images projected onto buildings at Miami University. The exhibition engages the concept of “shedding light” onto a topic of conceptual, political, or social importance.

John Femiani

John Femiani
Computer Science & Software Engineering

Femiani was engaged by In-Depth Engineering Corp. to design algorithms that can be used in the development of a mine-detection system. Femiani’s approach augments conventional machine learning with novel techniques.

Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones
Chemical, Paper, & Biomedical Engineering

Jones received funding from PsyBio Therapeutics to enhance and evaluate the commercial viability of a cost-effective psilocybin production methodMatt McMurray, of Psychology, is a co-investigator. Psilocybin is perhaps best known as the compound responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of so-called “magic” mushrooms. But it is also increasingly recognized as a clinical treatment for substance abuse and addiction, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as reported in the following media outlets:

* Jones lab’s work mentioned

The expense of conventional production methods — including cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms — has been a barrier to more widespread clinical use of psilocybin. The Jones lab’s cost-effective technique promises to increase access to this treatment option by enabling the development of affordable pharmaceutical drugs.

Mike Lipsitz

Michael Lipsitz

Lipsitz received funding from Duke University to contribute to analysis of the effect of non-compete agreement (NCA) enforcement on labor markets, workers’ earnings, and mobility. The analysis includes effects on workers bound and not bound by NCAs and disparate effects on men and women workers.

Jessica McCarty

Jessica McCarty

McCarty received a grant from NASA to map changes and model the future trajectory of land-coverage and land-use in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. McCarty’s departmental colleague Stanley Toops is a co-investigator.

Jody Perkins

Jody Perkins
University Libraries

Perkins received funding from the State Library of Ohio to host a three-day pre-conference workshop on digital storytelling for social change in conjunction with the 18th Annual Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality Symposium to be hosted by Miami University.

Janardan Subedi

Janardan Subedi
Scripps Gerontology Center

Subedi received funding from from UTHealth to contribute to research on the links between telomere biology and obesity, aging, and cardiometabolic disease risk. Results of the study will inform the assessment of risk, prevention, and treatment of accelerated aging and chronic disease. This funded research is part of the Fels Longitudinal Study, which was begun in Ohio in 1929. Now managed by UTHealth at the University of Texas, it is one of the longest and largest human health studies in the world, and has been the foundation of over 1,000 publications.

Craig Williamson

Craig Williamson

Williamson, an Ohio Eminent Scholar, was one of just seven scientists nationwide to receive an NSF Opportunities for Promoting Understanding Through Synthesis (OPUS) award. Williamson’s project will provide new insights into how dissolved organic matter influences long-term changes in water clarity, and the resulting consequences for lake ecosystems.

Sarah Woodruff

Sarah Woodruff
The Discovery Center

Woodruff received funding from SUNY Buffalo to evaluate perceptions and experiences of graduate students and postdoctoral associates involved in an NSF-funded interdisciplinary program involving 10 universities, three research institutes, three national laboratories, and an industry partner.

Matt Saxton

Matt Saxton
Biological Sciences

Saxton received funding from The Ohio State University to contribute to research on how microbes metabolize the herbicide glyphosate. Insight into this process is critical to understanding how herbicide use may contribute to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and other bodies of water.

Looking ahead

This is both my first and last reflection on Miami’s external funding success. Provost Jason Osborne recently named Alicia Knoedler as Vice President for Research & Innovation, effective November 1, 2020, and it will be her perspective you read in our next annual report. But even if I never have another chance to offer the people behind the numbers official thanks and congratulations, I want them to know that I will always be grateful for and proud of their contributions.

Photos by Miami University Photo Services.

Vice President for Research and Innovation offers perspective on FY2019 extramural funding

Jim Oris, Vice President for Research and Innovation

FY2019 saw a continuation of the success Miami faculty and staff have in securing funding to support their research, scholarship, and creative activity. For the second year in a row, we exceeded $24 million in extramural funding.

Piechart showing breakdown of FY2019 funding by purpose: $17.2M/71% of funding supported research; $2.6M/11% of funding supported service; $1.9M/8% of funding supported instruction; $245K/1% of funding supported fellowships; $2.1M/9% of funding supported student financial aid
FY2019 funding by purpose

Highlights of FY2019’s external funding include the following:

Xin Wang reviews work with a labmate
Xin Wang (left)

Microbiologists D.J. Ferguson (Hamilton Campus) and Xin Wang (College of Arts and Science) received a $343,030 Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant from NSF to study microbes that produce the potent greenhouse gas methane. One goal of the research is to determine how these microbes use naturally occurring compounds found particularly in brackish and marine environments as a food source to produce methane. Read more about Ferguson and Wang’s work.

Cricket Meehan working with students
Cricket Meehan (second from left)

Psychologist Cricket Meehan (College of Arts and Science) and educational psychologist Amity Noltemeyer (College of Education, Health, and Society) received nearly $700,000 from the Ohio Department of Education in support of two projects. One raises awareness of mental health needs among youth while implementing services to improve well-being of students and their families. The other works to improve school climate and reduce problem behaviors.

Sue Sepela and Regional Campuses students
Sue Sepela (second from left)

Learning assistance staff member Sue Sepela (Hamilton Campus) received two U.S. Department of Education grants totaling $516,752. One grant supports the Regional Campuses’ Upward Bound program, which helps prepare low-income and first-generation high school students to pursue higher education. The other grant helps provide a comprehensive program of academic support to students on the Regional Campuses.

Rick Page talking with a student.
Rick Page (right)

Chemists Gary Lorigan and Rick Page (both College of Arts & Science) were each awarded about $1.8 million over five years as part of NIH’s Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) program. These highly competitive awards support the PIs’ research programs: membrane protein channels that are directly related to heart disease in Lorigan’s case and protein quality control and antibiotic resistance in Page’s. Read more about Lorigan’s and Page’s research and their MIRA program awards.

Like Lokon and a student working with an OMA participant
Like Lokon (center)

Gerontologist Like Lokon and Scripps Gerontology Center staff member Joan Fopma-Loy (both Research & Innovation and Graduate School) received more than $75,000 to support Opening Minds Through Art (OMA), an award-winning intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia. The program provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders.

Cameron Hay-Rollins teaching class
Cameron Hay-Rollins

Anthropologist Cameron Hay-Rollins (College of Arts and Science) received $100,000 from Interact for Health for research on housing available to those recovering from opioid addiction in Greater Cincinnati. The project includes a baseline analysis of available recovery housing, building a searchable and update-able database of existing resources, and identifying perceived needs and opportunities to enhance support of people in recovery. Read more about Hay-Rollins’ project.

Jason Berberich looking at contents of a test tube in the lab.
Jason Berberich

Chemical and biomedical engineer Jason Berberich (College of Engineering and Computing) received $177,800 from The Procter & Gamble Company for research on the enzyme lipase, which is commonly added to household cleaning products, including laundry detergent, to help break up grease and other fats. Berberich’s research aims to improve the stability of cold-active lipase in detergents at high temperatures.

Daryl Baldwin addressing an audience.
Daryl Baldwin

Myaamia Center director Daryl Baldwin (Research & Innovation and Graduate School) received $311,647 from the NEH in support of the Breath of Life indigenous language revitalization initiative. The initiative consists of a series of workshops for researchers from endangered language communities. The goal is to build capacity around methods in archives-based research for community-directed revitalization efforts. Read about Breath of Life’s Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA).

At the same time FY2019 marked continued success, it also marked the beginning of a new era for Miami. Over the course of the last 12 months, Miami embarked on an aggressive strategic planning process that resulted in ambitious goals for graduate programs and research efforts. In recognition of the expanded importance of these operations, in September 2019, the university’s trustees approved a resolution submitted by Provost Jason Osborne to separate the two positions I have held since 2011: dean of the Graduate School and associate provost for research. In October, I was appointed as the inaugural Vice President for Research and Innovation.

I will remain in the role of Vice President until I retire, effective June 30, 2019. This will bring an end to my 34 years as a faculty member and administrator at Miami — my entire academic career. I have held many positions during these years, enjoyed personal and professional accomplishments, and received awards and recognition. But my highest sense of accomplishment has come from the success of my students and, for the past 11 years, my professional staff and administrative colleagues. Miami has been a special place to work and have a life. The place is a key component, but the people are what I will miss the most. I will leave behind a vibrant and growing research and innovation enterprise, and I will look back with pride that I was able to participate in such a wonderful organization.

Written by Jim Oris, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Miami University.

Photos by Miami University Photo Services.

Dave Berg and a student study mussels

Associate provost for research offers perspective on FY2018 extramural funding

Jim Oris addresses an audience
Associate provost Jim Oris says FY2018 was Miami University’s best year for extramural funding in a decade.

FY2018 was Miami University’s best year for extramural funding in a decade.
Supported by programs and services of the Office for the Advancement of Research
and Scholarship, faculty and staff attracted 35% more funds over FY2017.

When Robert Frost called Miami University “the most beautiful campus that ever there was,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet was referring to the campus’s physical attributes — the shady lawns, elegant formal gardens, and classic neo-Georgian architecture. But he could just as well have been commenting on what goes on inside our ivy-covered walls. Indeed, the research, creativity, instruction, and service Miami’s faculty pursue on a daily basis are as much a part of Miami’s beauty as our iconic red bricks.

Just as our building and grounds staff work around the clock and across the seasons to maintain Miami’s physical facilities, our researchers, scholars, and creative artists devote countless hours to maintaining Miami’s inner beauty. Not only do these faculty and staff plan and carry out experiments, projects, and programs, they also work tirelessly to find and secure the external funding needed to finance those activities.

Bar chart showing 10-year trend in total funding. Data: FY09 $22.6 million; FY10 $22.7 million; FY11 $23.3 million; FY12 $21.3 million; FY13 $21.5 million; FY14 $20.6 million; FY15 $18.8 million; FY16 $23.1 million; FY17 $17.8 million; FY18 $24.1 million
Total funding, 10-year trend

Their efforts are paying off. In FY2018, Miami generated $24.1 million in extramural funding, a level greater than in any year since before the Great Recession. Highlights of the work enabled by these funds include the following:

Wayne Speer addresses a room full of people. On the whiteboard behind him is printed "Welcome Guests. ESP #341 Corporate Entrepreneurship." A student stands behind him, near the whiteboard.
Marketing faculty member Wayne Speer, left, leads a capstone course as part of Miami’s AFRL open patent portfolio programming.

Miami University-AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator — Miami University and Wright Brothers Institute of Dayton are working together to identify technologies from an Air Force Research Lab portfolio of nearly 1,000 patents that have potential commercial use for public good. Led by associate provost Jim Oris, the Miami University–AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator collaboration gives Miami support in reviewing and accessing the lab’s entire open portfolio of patents and patent applications. Miami leads programming to connect those technologies with entrepreneurs, funding, and other resources needed to bring the technologies to market. Read more here.

Miami University assistant professor Michael Hatch in the Astor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Miami University assistant professor Michael Hatch is Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he is conducting research for his book on early 19th Century Chinese painting. He is pictured in the museum’s Astor Court.

Michael Hatch, Department of Art  — Unlike scholars who lack interest in or actively disparage early 19th Century Chinese painting, Michael Hatch, an assistant professor, admires the dynamic appeals works of this period make to non-visual senses, including taste and tactile sensations. A fellowship at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art gave him access to paintings in the Met’s collection and also facilitated his access to works at museums in Asia, which are not usually available, even to academics. Hatch’s research will be published in a manuscript tentatively titled The Senses of Painting in China, 1790-1840. Read more here.

Gary Lorigan works with some equipment in his lab.
Gary Lorigan was the lead PI on one of two NSF MRI awards made to Miami in FY2018.

NSF Major Research Instrumentation awards — Miami University received two grant awards, totaling nearly $1.1 million, in the 2017 round of competition for the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. The national rate of success for proposals submitted to the program is only 20%. The NSF awards supported Miami University’s acquisition of a pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer and a fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) system. Read more here.

A speech pathology and audiology clinic client uses and iPad with text-to-speech capability, with the help of Kelly Knollman-Porter and two students.
Kelly Knollman-Porter, second from right, has received a grant from the NIH to test whether assistive technology might help people with aphasia-related reading problems.

Kelly Knollman-Porter,  Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology — The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the NIH, awarded a grant to Kelly Knollman-Porter to lead a multi-site study on the use of assistive technology to compensate for aphasia-related reading problems. The study will be among the first to test whether text-to-speech software helps people who have lost the ability to understand written language follwing a stroke or brain injury. Read more here.

Dominik Konkolewicz works with a student in the lab.
Dominik Konkolewicz, left, is the ninth scientist at Miami to be awarded and NSF CAREER grant.

Dominik Konkolewicz, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry — Dominik Konkolewicz, an assistant professor, recently received a CAREER grant from the Faculty Early Career Development program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research on polymers. Polymers consist of smaller molecules linked together to form a larger molecule. The resulting macromolecule is like a necklace, with dozens to tens-of-thousands of smaller molecules making up the individual links. When the links in polymer materials — such as wall paint and truck tires — are damaged the materials become useless because they can’t recover their original properties. Konkolewicz’s work focuses on creating links between the chains that can be exchanged for other ones, allowing the material to heal itself when scratched or punctured. Read more here.

John Bowblis and Amy Roberts discuss data they see on a computer screen.
John Bowblis (left) and Amy Roberts (right) are working with Medicare data to determine whether social services staffing affects patient outcomes.

John Bowblis and Amy Roberts, Scripps Gerontology Center — As Scripps Gerontology Center research fellows, John Bowblis, associate professor of economics and Amy Roberts, assistant professor of family science and social work, are leading one of the first national studies to assess the impact of social services staffing in nursing homes. With physical and psychosocial functioning tightly intertwined, the pair want to determine whether changes in public policy related to social services staff might lead to better outcomes for patients in nursing homes. Read more here.

We are working more efficiently than ever before. Despite a decrease in proposal submissions from FY2017, our faculty and staff still achieved a 35% increase in total funding for FY2018. Our average award size increased 30%. These data suggest that our faculty and staff are being more strategic in targeting funding opportunities and in communicating the value of their work to sponsors.

Chart showing number of proposals submitted by division. Data: CAS 152 proposals; CEC 42 proposals; CEHS 41 proposals; RGS 27 proposals; HC 23 proposals; FSB 12 proposals; CCA 6 proposals; MC 6 proposals; Other 5 proposals
FY2018 proposals submitted by division

The Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship (OARS) has also been strategic. We have dedicated significant human and financial resources to programming and services that support faculty and staff in enhancing their grantsmanship. FY2018 metrics show a clear return on those investments, and help chart our future course.

Although we are gratified by FY2018’s increase in total funding and average award size, we recognize that securing extramural funding is still very much a numbers game: more proposals submitted generally results in more funding granted. So, we will continue to encourage proposal submission through incentives and support services — working harder and smarter.

Bar chart showing funding by source. Data: Federal Government $9.5 million/39 percent; State of Ohio $6.0 million/25 percent; Associations, Foundation, and Other Non-Profits $4.3 million/18 percent; Business and Industry $2.0 million/9 percent; Colleges, Universities, and Research Institutes $1.6 million/7 percent; Other Government $0.6 million/2 percent
FY 2018 total funding, by source

We also recognize that budget pressures and ever-increasing competition make federal funding unpredictable, at best. That’s why, despite the 50% increase in federal funding we saw between FY2017 and FY2018, we are actively working to diversify our funding portfolio. In particular, we’re strengthening and expanding support for commercialization. Our recent collaboration with the Wright Brothers Institute of Dayton gives us the opportunity to connect promising technologies from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s open portfolio of patents and patent applications with the resources needed to bring them to market.

As always, my team and I are proud to support research, creativity, instruction, and service at Miami University. We remain committed to this work, not just because it’s our job, but because we care deeply about the impact our faculty, staff, and students have on our local community, the State of Ohio, our nation, and the world beyond.

Written by Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Associate provost for research offers perspective on FY2017 extramural funding

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in FY2017 supported establishment of an interdisciplinary and experiential Institute for Food at Miami University. The Institute operates an organic farm.

Miami University’s global reputation for excellence owes a lot to the passion of its students, faculty, and staff. Their enthusiasm and dedication are the foundation of scientific discoveries, creative innovations, and entrepreneurial accomplishments. Extramural funding provides the resources to help them build to greater heights.

Bar graph showing amounts and percentages of extramural funding brought in by each division, as follows. Arts & Science: $7.0M, 39%. Research & Graduate School: $7.0M, 17%. Other Offices: $2.2M, 12%. Education, Health, & Society: $1.7M, 10%. Engineering & Computing: $1.2M, 7%. Hamilton Campus: $0.9M, 5%. Creative Arts: $0.9M, 5%. Middletown Campus: $0.6M, 3%. Farmer School of Business: $0.3M, 2%.
FY2017 extramural funding by division. Total extramural funding was $17.8 million.

In FY2017, Miami University secured $17.8 million in funding from federal and state government agencies, private foundations, business and industry, and other sponsors to support research, creative, education, and service projects at Miami University. Highlights of the work enabled by these funds include the following:

  • Rick Page, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was recognized as one of the nation’s top young faculty in his field by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the award of a prestigious CAREER grant. Page will receive more than $920,000 over five years for his research on the biological regulation of quality control in proteins. Read more here.
  • Carrie Tyler, an assistant professor of geology and environmental earth science, and a collaborator received $343,000 from NSF to study the role predators may have played in the evolution of echinoids, a class of animals that includes sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea biscuits. Their work may lead to better understanding of modern ecosystems. Read more here.
  • A senior research scholar in the Scripps Gerontology Center, Phyllis Cummins leads a team that is working to learn what contributes to college success for students between the ages of 40 and 64. Their work is supported by a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Read more here.
  • Psychology graduate student Lauren Forrest was awarded $2,000 by the Military Suicide Research Consortium to complete an interoception study, under the supervision of assistant professor April Smith. The study will look at whether people who are relatively “tuned out” to pain or to sensations associated with fear might be at greater risk for suicide and self-injury. Read more here.
  • A team led by Nazan Bautista, associate professor of teacher education, and Tammy Schwartz, director of the Urban Teaching Cohort, has been awarded over $1 million by the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Miami’s Noyce program incentivizes STEM undergraduates and STEM professionals to pursue teacher certification.
  • The Myaamia Center was awarded more than $180,000 by NSF for the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages project. Breath of Life trains researchers from indigenous communities in methods of archives-based linguistic and ethnographic research, which is critical to knowledge about and revitalization of indigenous languages and cultures. Read more here.
  • A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture supported establishment of an interdisciplinary and experiential Institute for Food at Miami University. The Institute, which operates an organic farm, supports a resilient food system in Southwest Ohio. The project is led by Tom Crist, professor of biology, and Peggy Shaffer, professor of history and global and intercultural studies.

While the federal government remained our largest source of funding, Miami, like many other universities across the country, saw a decline in federal support during FY2017. To replace those funds, we have worked diligently to build relationships with other sponsors, notably business and industry, whose support increased 26% in this fiscal year compared to last. The State of Ohio also remained a significant sponsor, with $3.7 million in support during FY2017.

Infographic showing that extramural funding from business and industry increased by 26% from FY2016 to FY2017.
Losses in federal funds were partially offset by an increase in funding from business and industry.

We are proud to help Miami’s researchers, scholars, and creative artists find and secure the funding that enables them to apply their passion to answer questions, solve important problems, provoke thought, and train the next generation of our nation’s innovators. We remain committed to that mission now and into the future.

Written by Jim Oris, Associate Provost of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Windows photo by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services. Farm photo by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.

Associate provost for research offers perspective on FY2015 extramural funding


Just like rubbing the heads of the turtles on the Tri Delt sundial, avoiding the university seal while crossing through the Hub, and kissing under the Upham arch, research, scholarship, and creative activity are strong traditions at Miami University.

But while those other traditions are free, research, scholarship, and creative activity are not. These are made possible by funding awarded to the university by federal, state, and private agencies. As detailed in OARS’ recently released annual report, this support totaled $18.8 million in FY2015.

Bar chart showing 10-year trend for external funding. In FY06, funding totaled $22.9M. In FY07, funding totaled $25.0M. In FY08, funding totaled $27.6M. In FY09, funding totaled $22.6M. In FY10, funding totaled $22.7M. In FY11, funding totaled $23.3M. In FY12, funding totaled $21.3M. In FY13, funding totaled $21.5M. In FY14, funding totaled $20.6M. In FY15, funding totaled $18.8M.

In a funding environment as challenging as the one we currently face, this
level of success owes entirely to the dedication of the faculty and staff who work tirelessly to secure funding for their projects.

Highlights of our success include:

  • A successful crowdfunding campaign by Andor Kiss, adjunct assistant professor and supervisor in the Center for Bioinformatics & Functional Genomics, as well as development of a new crowdfunding platform to engage Miami alumni, family, and friends.
  • The first full academic year of operation for the Office of Research for Undergraduates, led by Joseph Johnson.
  • Publication of a Brain Research cover article co-authored by undergraduate zoology major Matt Deer, graduate student Aminata Coulibaly, and biology professor Lori Isaacson.
  • Awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Philosophical Society in support of associate professor of art history Andrew Casper’s work on historical conceptions of artifice and authenticity related to the Shroud of Turin.
  • A grant of more than $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF)for chemistry and biochemistry professor Stacey Lowery-Bretz’s work to develop assessments to improve chemistry education.
  • College of Education, Health, and Society faculty Susan Mosley-Howard and Kate Rousmaniere’s continued work with the Myaamia Center to study the effect of self-identity on the college success of Native students.
  • Assistant professor of history Tatiana Seijas’ fellowship at the John Carter Brown Library, where she researched the Indian Camino Real, a North American trade route that dates to the pre-Columbian era.
  • The continuation of the long-running Project High Flight, led by Bob Setlock from the College of Engineering and Computing. High Flight is an interdisciplinary endeavor to develop a remote-controlled, high altitude balloon to fly missions to the edge of space.
  • Analytic work by undergraduates in management professor Josh Schwarz’s human capital metrics class that helped international company Alcoa find a path to reducing employee turnover.
  • An NEH challenge grant awarded to the Humanities Center, led by director Tim Melley, to help ensure the Center’s long-term viability.

Pie chart showing sources of funding. Federal government = 47% and $8.9M; Associations, foundations, and other non-profit organizations = 20% and $3.8M; State of Ohio = 15% and $2.8M; Business and industry = 11% and $2.1M; Colleges, universities, and research institutions = 6% and $1.0M; Other government agency = 1% and $263K


For many faculty, a strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate
education is a key motivator. External funding enables faculty to engage students in authentic, real-world projects. It’s a tradition they share with more than 2000 undergraduates and more than 1000 graduate students each year. The strong connection among faculty, graduate, and undergraduate research creates an exceptional learning environment that is one of the hallmarks of the Miami Experience. No wonder Miami’s masters and doctoral graduates are highly sought in all sectors and Miami is consistently ranked among the best institutions for undergraduate teaching by US News & World Report.


Pie chart showing funding by division. Arts & Science = 55% and $10.3M; Other = 10% and $1.8M; Education, Health, & Society = 8% and $1.6M; Engineering & Computing = 8% and $1.4M; Research + Grad School = 7% and $1.3M; Farmer School = 4% and $738K; Middletown Campus = 3% and $660K; Hamilton Campus = 3% and 604K; Creative Arts = 2% and $353K


We remain proud of all the faculty, staff, and students whose work contributes to Miami University’s tradition of combining strong liberal education with outstanding research and scholarly activities. And we remain dedicated to supporting our researchers, scholars, and creative artists with effective strategies for finding and securing funding for the important work they do.

Written by Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Photos by Miami University Photo Services.

A panorama shot of the campus of Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. In the center of the image is Roudebush Hall, a 3-story brick building with a columned portico. To the left of Roudebush Hall, Upham Hall, a taller red brick building is visible through the trees. To the right of Roudebush Hall are the Beta Bells, a red brick bell tower with a cream-colored cupola topped by a weathered copper cap and weathervane. A lush green lawn and trees with fall foliage can be seen throughout the image. A flagpole with an American flag, the Ohio state flag, and a Miami University flag can also be seen in front of Roudebush Hall.

Associate provost for research offers perspective on FY2014 extramural funding

This column graph provides an overview of extramural funding for Miami University from FY2005 to FY2014. The y-axis is labeled in $5 million increments, from $0 to $30 million. The x-axis is labeled with fiscal years, from 2005 to 2014. Each column is labeled with the specific amount of funding for each fiscal year, as follows: 2005 = $22,033,980; 2006 = $22,947,858; 2007 = $24,955,124; 2008 = $27,554,646; 2009 = $22,615,538; 2010 = $22,727,194; 2011 = $23,335,186; 2012 = $21,341,475; 2013 = $21,461,446; 2014 = $20,559,572

As detailed in OARS’ recently released annual report, Miami brought in approximately $20.6 million in extramural funding in FY2014. Given a very competitive funding climate and the Federal sequestration of funds that overshadowed the first half of the fiscal year, it’s not surprising to see this slight decrease in funding from the previous year’s levels.

Federal funding rates are down, virtually across the board. At the National Science Foundation (NSF) — Miami’s largest funder — success rates are very low, between 5% and 10%, depending on the program. At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2013 brought the lowest rate of grant success in the agency’s 126-year history. The cumulative result is that many meritorious ideas and innovative projects simply could not be funded.


This pie chart is labeled "Funding by Source," and shows extramural funding for Miami University in FY2014. The legend lists broad categories of funders, with labels as follows: Other Government Agency - $274,278; Associations & Foundations - $1,572,108; Business & Industry - $2,952,711; State Government - $3,535,060; Federal Government - $12,225,355. The wedges of the pie chart are labeled with the percentage of overall funding attributable to the various funders, as follows: Other Government Agency = 1%; Associations & Foundations = 8%; Business & Industry = 14%; State Government = 17%; Federal Government = 60%.


It’s a testament to the excellence, determination, and tenacity of Miami’s researchers, scholars, and creative artists that, despite these fiscal challenges, we were nevertheless able to bring in nearly as much funding in FY2014 as we did in FY2013. Highlights of our success include:

  • A $60,000 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for associate professor of theater Ann Elizabeth Armstrong’s work on an interactive and location-based interpretation of the Mississippi Summer Project, the 1964 orientation for Freedom Summer activists that took place at the Western College for Women (now Miami’s Western Campus).
  • A two-year grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for assistant professor of psychology Elise Clerkin’s work to develop and evaluate an experimental intervention for individuals with co-occurring alcohol dependence and social anxiety.
  • The naming of biology professors Ann Rypstra and David Berg as the U.S. partners for a project funded by Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Science, a joint program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Rypstra and Berg worked with Christy Jo Geraci from the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), to bring students from AUIS to Miami to participate in an undergraduate research program Rypstra, Berg, and colleagues have been running for more than a dozen years.
  • A $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support efforts by the Myaamia Center to revitalize the traditional craft of ribbonwork for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.


This pie chart is labeled "Funding By Division," and shows extramural funding for Miami University in FY2014. The legend lists divisions of the university, with text as follows: College of Creative Arts - $131,301; College of Professional Studies & Applied Sciences - $183,598; Farmer School of Business - $345,855; Middletown Campus - $562,630; Hamilton Campus - $911,920; College of Education, Health & Society - $1,104,138; Other - $2,802,003; College of Engineering & Computing - $2,850,154; College of Arts & Science - $11,667,973. The wedges of the pie chart are labeled with the percentage of total funding brought in by each division, as follows: College of Creative Arts = 1%; College of Professional Studies & Applied Sciences = 1%; Farmer School of Business = 2%; Middletown Campus = 3%; Hamilton Campus = 5%; College of Education, Health, & Society = 5%; Other = 13%; College of Engineering & Computing = 14%; College of Arts & Science = 57%.


Important to these successes is the infrastructure that supports research and creative activity at Miami. A new indirect cost recovery distribution model introduced at the beginning of FY2014 returns a significant proportion of the indirect costs generated from an external grant award to the units where the activity originated. In this way, Miami is reinvesting in the assets responsible for generating awards, ensuring that this infrastructure is maintained, even as Federal investment in research declines.

Because discoveries are cumulative, an opportunity missed today becomes an even bigger opportunity missed tomorrow. We remain hopeful that recognition of this fact will prompt improvement in the funding climate over time. Meanwhile, we will continue working to develop effective strategies for helping Miami’s researchers, scholars, and creative artists find and secure external funding for their work.

Written by Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research & Scholarship, Miami University.