Faculty at NC State set a new record in 2003-04 by earning $208 million in external support for research and sponsored programs, an increase of over 20% from the previous year. In addition, faculty took the initiative to develop and submit proposals for an additional 19% ($96.5 million) in funding this year. These increases are especially significant since most federal research funding sources for universities without medical schools have seen little or no increase in their budgets.

Research success stories continue to prove the faculty’s strengths in information technology, nanotechnology and advanced materials, genomics and biotechnology, environmental technologies, and pre-college education. Homeland security projects have also advanced to the forefront, reflecting national needs and demonstrating the vigor of our cutting-edge textiles and food safety research.

Despite the slowdown in the economy, we have been successful in the past year in licensing 60 of our technologies to commercial companies and in spinning out four new start-up companies. The MIT Technology Review recently ranked NC State 12th in the U.S. (up from22nd in 1997) for the technological strength and relevance of its patent portfolio. To date, commercialization of NC State faculty and student inventions has led to the creation of over 50 companies and 12,000 jobs.

Advancing toward the UNC System’s goal of increasing graduate student population by 35% by 2012, our graduate enrollment increased 3.8% this year. The number of students supported as research assistants in our laboratories has increased by 11%. We are also particularly proud of our rapidly expanding program of undergraduate research.

Finally, our Centennial Campus has become a showcase for all aspects of the economic development impact of NC State’s research enterprise. It features academic degree programs, research laboratories and centers, 57 industry and government partners, and a business incubator facility where many of our spin-out companies are making their starts. Including the eight new buildings under construction in the past year, the campus now provides 2.5 million square feet of space for university, industry, and government collaboration.

NC State University is arguably the economic development success story in the UNC system. Our highly relevant research is at the heart of that success. I congratulate our faculty and students for their pursuit of excellence and their relentless drive toward discovery and innovation.

John G. Gilligan
Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies