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Rutgers-New Brunswick sets state standards for research funding

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As lawmakers prepare to hear more testimony today about the proposal to create a research university in South Jersey, federal funding numbers show Rutgers University among the leaders in its ability to attract federal research dollars.

According to the recently released fiscal 2011 report by the National Science Foundation, Rutgers, in New Brunswick, received more than $52 million in research grants, putting it 25th in the nation in funding.

Princeton University received more than $49 million in 2011, putting the school at 30th on the list of 200 institutions. No other New Jersey college received more than $8 million from NSF for research.

Michael Pazzani, vice president for research and economic development for Rutgers, attributed the results to years of hiring top-tier faculty dedicated to cutting-edge research, and said it would take a rival institution looking to gain national funding a lot of investment to reach Rutgers' level.

"I think one should be realistic about the amount of investment it would take (to increase federal grants) — and it's more than just encouraging people to get grants, it really is hiring people from Harvard, Princeton, University of North Carolina, from Rutgers, who have received their Ph.Ds at top-tier universities who are doing top-tier research," Pazzani said.

One of the goals of realigning higher education in New Jersey is to combine Rutgers-Camden with Rowan University to create another research institution. NSF reports Rowan received $934,000 in research grants last year; Pazzani said that's because research "has not been their mission." Rutgers-Camden received more than $1 million for science research.

Another realignment goal is to affiliate Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with Rutgers–New Brunswick, which would create "synergies of faculty" for both health- and science-related research, according to Pazzani. Pazzani said the increase in research resources at a combined school would help the pharmaceutical industry in New Jersey, among others.

Pazzani said University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and its affiliated medical schools receive less NSF funding when compared to Rutgers because the grants are very broad and comprehensive. UMDNJ is competitive for National Institute of Health research grants.

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