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SDSU researchers increase expenditures by more than $4 million

Oil extracted from carinata, a member of the mustard family, can be refined into jet fuel or biodiesel. It is one of the research projects conducted by the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center, a consortium of land-grant universities in 10 states working to establish a biobased economy. South Dakota State University serves as the region's lead university.

South Dakota State University researchers were busy the past year, increasing the university’s research expenditures by more than $4 million. Expenditures increased from $63.5 million in fiscal year 2018 to $67.6 million this past year, a rise of 6.5%.

Daniel Scholl
Daniel Scholl

“The increase in expenditures is proof that research and scholarly activity at SDSU is moving at an aggressive rate,” said Daniel Scholl, vice president for research and economic development. “We have a goal within our strategic plan, Imagine 2023, to increase our research productivity at SDSU by 40%, which in turn, keeps us on a pace to double our research in a 10-year period. The progression in this first year keeps us on a trajectory to make that happen and is a credit to many individuals working hard to solve the world’s complex problems and create new knowledge that will benefit South Dakota, the region and beyond.”

Highlighting the increase was research conducted universitywide under the umbrella of the Division of Research and Economic Development, and the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. Each increased its research expenditures by more than 10%. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences each showed more than 5% increases in the past year.

The North Central Regional Sun Grant Center, a consortium of land-grant universities in 10 states working to establish a biobased economy, showed a significant increase of more than $3.5 million. SDSU serves as the lead university for the region, while the Sun Grant Initiative has five different regional headquarters throughout the United States. Funding for the center’s research comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Sun Grant initiatives included collaborations with other institutions and regions, primarily working on feedstock development and production through enhancing and developing new conversion technologies for production of biofuel, bioenergy and bioproducts; the development of efficient logistic systems; modeling to quantify the environmental and economic impact of land conversion and educational program online and through extension offices.

“Funding sources for research projects are generated from multiple sources, whether that includes federal grants, state grants, programming fees, private investments in research and internal university funds,” Scholl said. “Success is generated by identifying the opportunities through each source and conducting high-quality research that addresses each need. That is a result of everyone who has worked diligently in the past year to capitalize on each of these opportunities.”

Federal dollars comprised the majority of the research expenditures this past year with just over 45% being attributed to those areas, while state funding sources accounted for just over 23%. The remaining expenditures included university investments, industry and company investments and numerous other nongovernment grants and partnerships.