Cornell’s research enterprise continues to be very healthy and vibrant.

Especially noteworthy is our success in major astronomy projects and in obtaining significant new grants in nanotechnology. Our research funding sponsored by external agencies increased by more than 12 percent. Additionally, major construction projects for the new life sciences initiatives are on track for scheduled groundbreaking in 2005.

Cornell’s astronomy projects, sponsored by NASA, culminated with two successful missions to Mars. Rovers, developed by Steven W. Squyres and James F. Bell, Astronomy, have been exploring the surface of Mars for half a year. Significant new results are being returned almost daily.

A major space telescope, developed over the past decade by James R. Houck, Astronomy, and his research team, was also launched this year. This new telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, is designed to peer into the infrared frequency spectrum. It is currently producing a remarkable amount of data about the origins of galaxies. The ability to see further into the infrared end of the spectrum will permit studies of the objects that are moving away from the Earth most rapidly. That is, objects at the edge of the universe.

This summer, the Cassini project, in which Joseph A. Burns, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics/Astronomy and Vice Provost for Physical Sciences and Engineering is a principal investigator, will arrive at the orbit of Saturn. The project is designed to study Saturn’s moons.

Cornell and Stanford University led a successful team of 11 universities in obtaining the NSF award for the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). The total funding for this network of nanostructure fabrication centers is slated to be $90 million over the next ten years.

During the past year, the Kavli Foundation selected Cornell as a site for a Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. The Institute will have a permanent endowment of over $7.5 million and will be a “think tank” for developing future strategies in nanoscience research.

In September, the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) will celebrate its 25th anniversary culminating in a conference in conjunction with the dedication of Duffield Hall. This new facility will house Cornell’s centers related to nanofabrication along with a number of new initiatives of the College of Engineering.

For Cornell, external funding of sponsored research exceeded $400 million. Federal funding exceeded $321 million, an increase of almost 16 percent. The most important federal “patrons” of Cornell research were the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, which provided nearly 75 percent of federal funding.

Although there is the threat of decreased support for science in the 2005 federal budget, Cornell hopes that the plans and dreams of creative American scientists are not jeopardized. We hope that federal investment in research remains a high priority.

Robert C. Richardson
Vice Provost for Research

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