South Dakota School of Mines and Technology researchers and professors have been awarded nearly $21 million in research and development funding during Fiscal Year 2009, the highest amount in the history of the university and more than double the $10.1 million received in Fiscal Year 2008.
During the 2009 fiscal year, researchers and professors received 92 awards averaging approximately $227,000 from federal and state agencies, corporations, and direct Congressional appropriations. The awards represent 23 departments, centers, or labs and have been awarded to 42 principal investigators. More than half of all proposals submitted were funded. The National Science Foundation's average funding rate was 25 percent in 2008. Individual awards ranged from $2,000 for the collection of fossil vertebrates from the Late Cenozoic at the Lakeview District to $3,392,600 to study advanced materials and processes for future combat systems.
In 2010, School of Mines President Robert A. Wharton, Ph.D., identified growing the research enterprise as one of four strategic key focus areas that will guide the university, with the specific goal of reaching $25 million within five years. In Fiscal Year 2004, the School of Mines was awarded $11.9 million. Five years later, with funding at nearly $21 million, this impressive growth makes $25 million a goal well within reach.
A key funding piece in reaching this historic marker was the more than $3.5 million awarded from the National Science Foundation for the site selection and technical design development of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), located in Lead, S.D. The DUSEL project goes before the National Science Advisory Board in August, and the technical evaluation and design work being conducted through the School of Mines will determine the type and character of the rock underground and where the best locations will be for the placement of the surface and underground lab facilities. These facilities will contain multiple experimental lab suites and at least one large cavity big enough to house the Statue of Liberty - and its base! - all located nearly a mile below the surface of the Earth. The School of Mines is proud to be a leading partner with the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the DUSEL project.
The State of South Dakota has awarded $86,613 to create the newest 2010 Research Center, the Repair, Refurbish, and Return to Service Applied Research Center. As troops return to the United States, they bring with them all of the equipment used over the last several years. This grant creates a center to develop new repair and refurbishment techniques for this equipment using the latest technologies including friction stir welding and cold spray deposition.
Since 2001, the School of Mines has received nearly $80 million in Congressional appropriations for research and development including $3.2 million in the 2009 Defense spending bill.
These awards generate economic development opportunities and impact for our region, South Dakota, and our nation. U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune and Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin continue to champion applied research initiatives that support the security of our nation and the safety of our soldiers.