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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Chem. Dept. ranks ninth in U.S.

    With 96 projects a year and $250,000 spent per project, a total of $24 million is spent annually on research and development by the Stony Brook Chemistry Department.

    The chemistry department ranks ninth in the country for the $24 million dollars it spent on research and development in 2009, according to a National Science Foundation study.

    With 600 graduate and undergraduate chemistry students, 40 faculty members and scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the research opportunities at Stony Brook are growing due to the funding the chemistry program receives.

    Doctoral student and president of the Graduate Chemical Society at Stony Brook Alexandra Reinert sees the benefits of the funding when she does her research.

    “My project funding has allowed me to concentrate on my research full time,” said Reinert, who is working on producing a cleaner energy source. “I have also traveled all over the United States collecting data at top notch facilities.”

    The funding she gets allows her to travel and do her research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which Stony Brook is partnered with for research.

    When professors heard about the ninth place ranking they were surprised that their hard work was paying off.

    “First, I could not believe it. The second thing came to my mind was the great success of the Institute of Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery as well as the formal appointments of joint faculty members with Brookhaven National Laboratory,” said Professor Iwao Ojima, director of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery and former chairman of the chemistry department.

    Current chemistry department chairman Benjamin Hsiao credits the research direction of the department in gaining the ranking. The “core issues” for research are energy, environment and health, as defined by the department’s summary of its strategic plan published in 2010.

    “These issues really allowed our staff to get the funding and expand in the direction of doing research that will benefit the world,” said Hsiao.

    Research funding comes from research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University and private donations, most notably from former Stony Brook mathematics professor Henry Laufer.

    Jessica Jeng, president of the undergraduate Chemical Society at Stony Brook, understands the importance of funding. Jeng said, “Funding is needed to get the resources to do any research. In the research I’m doing, I’ve learned money is needed every step of the way.”

    The ranking will have a positive effect on future students and their research, according to Ojima.

    “The pride and confidence [gained from the ranking] will have a very positive effect on the recruitment and performance of future students,” said Ojima. “Also, undergraduate students who do research in research laboratories in the department will appreciate the opportunities they are given.”

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