Sponsored research on the rise at Tennessee Tech

Thanks to a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Adam Holley, an assistant professor of physics, and his students are looking at the life of neutrons, which play an important role in the study of our universe’s origin.

Sponsored research on the rise at Tennessee Tech


COOKEVILLE – With 153 proposals funded and $16.9 million in total funding for 2016-17, Tennessee Tech’s sponsored research is near an all-time high.

Over the last three years, Tech has increased the number of research grant proposals that have been funded, from 106 in 2014-15 to 153 in 2016-17, tying the record for the most proposals funded in 2009-10.

The amount of funding is also near an all-time high. In 2016-17, Tech received $16.9 million for research, just shy of the $17.1 million received in 2009-10.

“The momentum is there. We have some new faculty members who are driving it,” said Bharat Soni, vice president for research and economic development. “What I am impressed with is that the momentum is on the positive side. As we get this thing rolling, this institution can reach $35-40 million in the next few years.”

By negotiating and executing sponsored agreements, Tech’s Office of Sponsored Research has played a key role in the increasing numbers. Over the past three years the number of proposals submitted has increased from 163 in 2014-15 to 206 in 2016-17. The increase can be directly attributed to the renewed interest of the faculty and staff in sponsored activities.

“Research is the best way to enhance an institutional reputation. Research leads to new discoveries,” said Francis Otuonye, associate vice president for sponsored research. “What do we do that draws students to us? It is research. That’s how we distinguish ourselves and enhance our reputation — recruit high quality faculty and attract excellent students.”

Tech had eight intellectual property filings in 2016-17, which are those works or inventions that may be eligible for a patent, copyright or trademark. In 2014-15, Tech had two intellectual properties and 13 in 2015-16.

“The only way you can bring new knowledge to the classroom is by doing research,” Otuonye said. “By doing research you discover new things. By doing research, you create new knowledge. By doing new research you can share that new knowledge with students. You can get students excited and engaged.”

The Office of Research assists with identification of appropriate and relevant funding opportunities and assists with proposal and budget development. The office reviews proposals to ensure that all proposal components are addressed and ensures that sponsored activities are in compliance with local, state, agency and federal regulations.

Tech has active funded research in nearly all of its colleges and schools, along with the universities three Centers of Excellence – Energy Center, Manufacturing Center, Water Center –  the Oakley STEM Center, and the Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center.


For more information on research at Tennessee Tech go to www.tntech.edu/research.

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