LSU Wins Record Amount of University Research Funding

August 25, 2022

Louisiana benefits from more than $324 million garnered for research & development in agriculture, biomedicine, coast, defense, energy, among other fields

BATON ROUGE – LSU faculty from across Louisiana have achieved another record-breaking year of securing external research grants and contracts. As a whole, LSU campuses garnered more than $324 million in research funding throughout the state in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which closed June 30. 

For every $1 brought into Louisiana by researchers, $2.91 is produced within the state due to sales revenue for vendors, who provide services and materials, as well as spending by LSU employees, according to a report conducted by United for Medical Research for the National Institutes of Health. According to this calculus, this past year’s $324.22 million in grants and contracts will generate a roughly $943 million economic impact for Louisiana. These external funds attained by LSU research faculty support their work to solve economic, environmental and social challenges for the state, nation and world. 

“LSU has renowned scholars in the humanities, social sciences, sciences and professional schools across the state who aspire to the highest levels of achievement such as attaining another record-breaking year in research funding. Through the Scholarship First Agenda and its five focal areas of the pentagon – agriculture, biomedicine, coast, cyber defense and energy – this remarkable growth trajectory continues with our commitment to excellence in research and scholarship for the state,” said William F. Tate IV, LSU President. 

Some of the major research funding wins include: 

Agricultural pest management 

“Our mission is to provide the people of Louisiana with research-based educational information that will improve their lives and economic well-being. In doing so, we honor Louisiana’s agricultural history and secure its economy,” said Matt Lee, Interim Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the LSU College of Agriculture.  

Biomedicine and research in cancer 

  • LSU Health Shreveport and LSU Shreveport researchers are conducting the first long-term analysis of gender, racial and ethnic health disparities among orthopedic and spinal surgery patients to determine the clinical and financial burden among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.
  • The National Cancer Institute awarded LSU Health New Orleans’ researchers more than $1.6 million for the statewide collection and reporting on cancer incidences as part of a coordinated system of cancer registries located across the United States. LSU researchers will collect data on every case of cancer reported in Louisiana as part of 19 U.S. geographic areas that provides statistics to help reduce the burden of cancer in the U.S. population. 
  • Pennington Biomedical Research Center faculty are part of the team that won a $25 million international Cancer Grand Challenges to support their research on a debilitating wasting condition responsible for up to 30 percent of cancer deaths as well as more than $8.4 million in National Cancer Institute grants to study how exercise can help offset the side effects from chemotherapy treatment among colon cancer patients.  

“Advancing cancer research to save lives requires expertise and major research funding support, which we have at Pennington Biomedical. We are excited about the innovative discoveries this cutting-edge research will produce and the lives we will save,” said John Kirwan, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center. 

Advancing STEM programs 

  • The National Science Foundation, or NSF, awarded its most prestigious grant for early-career faculty to four promising LSU faculty members. With this funding, LSU faculty will advance knowledge critical to predicting the impacts of coastal restoration strategies; develop effective strategies to promote racial equity in education; study how electrons behave under external magnetic fields, which can be applied to electricity transmission and room-temperature superconductors; and develop a tool for organizations with high-risk occupations, such as the chemical and manufacturing industries, to understand how to prevent safety incidences due to reckless risk-taking.
  • NSF awarded LSU of Alexandria two competitive five-year grants to provide scholarships for low-income students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields and to train STEM students to become biology, chemistry and math teachers in high-need middle and high schools in Louisiana. 
  • NASA has awarded LSU’s National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, or NCAM, $5 million to produce a virtual reality environment that would mirror the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. This new digital twin of the facility will be used by K-12 educators to enhance STEM education as well as improve industrial processes for the NASA space craft constructed by NCAM.  

Renewable energy 

  • The state has committed $5 million in one-time funds to improve energy-related research at LSU, which will help launch the university to become a national leader in carbon capture, utilization and storage. 

“In addition to these record-breaking wins in our strategic areas, LSU continues to break records across our broad community of scholars. Our humanities and social science faculty bring national recognition to LSU for their critical scholarly work. LSU’s two Carnegie Fellows are examples of the excellence attained across all disciplines at LSU,” said Samuel J. Bentley, LSU Vice President of Research & Economic Development.  

On top of this past fiscal year’s success, the state legislature has appropriated $110 million in funding for 2023 as part of the largest ever state funding increase for Louisiana higher education. 

“The future looks bright at LSU as our talented faculty and transformative research across the state continues to garner support from funders and investors who join us in our mission to save and improve lives,” Bentley said.