Growth is evident at SDSU. Enrollment is up, construction is abundant and research-focused programs continue to develop throughout campus.
Grant and contract research awards increased 117 percent from fiscal year 2004, putting $44.8 million in research projects on campus in 2009.
“SDSU is in the growth phase,” John Ruffolo, associate vice president for research, said. “Inevitably we will plateau, but not in the immediate future.”
Ruffolo said the growth in research has come from the increase in the number of people expected to do research, new faculty being very active in research and the expansion of the graduate and doctoral degrees offered at the university.
“Many masters programs don’t require research; doctoral degrees are always research-based. “Ruffolo said.
Recently, SDSU hired Denny Otsuga as director of technology transfer. Technology transfer focuses on taking the inventions and discoveries from the university to the commercial sector. Patents and copyrights that come out of state universities belong to the state, with royalties coming back to the university as profit.
The position is a natural development for an institution active in research, Ruffolo said.
Another natural development is the compliance coordinator. This position tracks research to make sure that the researchers and experiments are in compliance with the stipulations that accompany the grants and awards.
“You cannot afford to go out of compliance,” Ruffolo said.
Many projects on campus are independent projects of faculty members or done as part of the many research centers on campus.
Research centers are often an “aggregate of people” sharing resources while doing research, Ruffolo said.
Many have developed as part of the state’s 2010 initiatives — Infectious Disease Research and Vaccinology, Bioprocessing Research and Development, Drought Tolerance Biotechnology and Research and Development of Light-Activated Materials — offering seed funding for the first few years of research until the centers have become self-sustaining.
With vast amounts of research in place, SDSU has taken the necessary measures to stay competitive as a research-based institution.
In 2008, there were 478 proposals submitted, with 456 being awarded funds. It is estimated that in 2009, 500 proposals will be submitted.
“[Expenditures] are a very reliable indicator of research going on campus,” Ruffolo said.