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George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Mason sponsored research spending reaches $149 million

April 2, 2019   /   by Preston Williams

George Mason University reported an all-time high of $149 million in sponsored research expenditures for fiscal year 2018, making good progress toward the university’s strategic goal of $225 million by 2024.

Mason’s reported sponsored research expenditures were about 32 percent higher than in the previous year. And expenditures in 2019 are trending even higher.

“With the momentum of the past few years, we are well on our way to achieving the goal we set for ourselves in the strategic plan,” said Deb Crawford, vice president for research, innovation and economic impact. “This continued growth highlights the accomplishments of our faculty and supports Mason’s recognition as one of the nation’s Tier 1 research universities.”

The $149 million total, submitted last month to the National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey, includes funds provided by federal and state government entities, industry, nonprofit organizations and the university itself.

In 2018, the university reviewed its reporting and tracking methods to ensure that the sources of funding and full cost of research were accurately reported. “This adjustment is consistent with other R1 universities and provides a more thorough annual accounting of Mason’s growing research endeavors,” Crawford said.

Mason has a wide range of ongoing research, including with the multidisciplinary Institute for a Sustainable Earth, which involves more than 500 faculty members who are focused on Earth’s future.

Through a 10-year, $40-million grant, Mason heads a multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis for the Department of Homeland Security, leading a consortium of universities and law enforcement agencies to investigate patterns of criminal activities and forensics. 

Wendi Manuel-Scott and Benedict Carton led a five-student research team that explored the lives of slaves held by the university’s namesake, providing a fuller account of the contradictory life George Mason IV led.

Other research includes work by mechanical engineering professor Jeff Moran, who worked with a team to devise a wetsuit treatment that can triple the survival time for swimmers, even in Arctic waters; work by Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a leading authority on Mexico-U.S. relations, to provide a greater depth of understanding and analysis on organized crime, immigration, border security, human trafficking and gang activity; and a multidisciplinary study led by the College of Health and Human Services to measure the exposure of women—particularly pregnant women—to traffic pollutants during their commutes.

Alexis Bracey (left), Ayman Fatima (center) and Elizabeth Perez-Garcia (right) were three of the students who started with the project in summer 2017, bringing with them their backgrounds in criminology, public health, global affairs and other fields. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

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