Research Funding Information

Northeastern University is known for our experiential cooperative education program; however, Northeastern is also committed to research. Northeastern is determined to be a top producer of research conducted among higher education institutions with a focus on innovation. Though theoretical basic is vital and relevant, Northeastern focuses on use-inspired research, meaning that multidisciplinary faculty led teams over 37 centers work on resolving national and global challenges. In order to progress in our research mission, however, funding is always needed. But the university cannot do this on our own; external funding especially from the federal government is required in order to continue in our exciting research endeavors. There are many federal agencies that do provide funding our research, along with the state, foundations and corporations. NU is committed to advocating for increased federal research funding from such agencies as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Growth and Success

funding chart that shows increase

Northeastern's ability to cultivate relevant research and results would not be possible without outside funding. In recent years, the University's research funding from federal agencies - including the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation and others - has risen dramatically. This success stems from Northeastern's "use-inspired" research model is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security, and sustainability. These three global challenges are what Northeastern research centers and institutions are concentrated on. We are also committed to interdisciplinary and collaborative research, both within Northeastern and with outside organizations such as hospitals, other universities and companies.

Northeastern's President, Joseph E. Aoun, is dedicated to expanding research and guaranteeing even greater success:

 "Northeastern's commitment to use-inspired research ensures that new ideas, knowledge, and discoveries are available to meet a wide-range of critical needs, particularly in health, sustainability, and security. Our considerable expertise and distinctive approach to research are transforming some of society's most pressing issues."

It is because of our approach that funding for Northeastern research has nearly doubled over the past four years. In 2006, there was a recorded $44.1 million for research, and in 2010, that dollar amount rose to a staggering $81.9 million. There are various Federal agencies that do offer research funding, and some will follow.

For a more in-depth look at Northeastern University's research mission, centers and institutions, visit Northeastern University's Research webpage.

To view the Office of Research newsletter "Research Connections" click here.

Funding Resources

Northeastern, along with many other research universities, is committed to advocating for increased federal research funding for the following federal agencies as well as others.

Department of Energy

The Department of Energy is the single largest Federal government supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, providing more than 40 percent of total Federal funding for this vital area of national importance. It oversees, and is the principal Federal funding agency of, the Nation's research programs in high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences.  Such a diverse research portfolio supports tens of thousands of principal investigators, post-doctoral students, and graduate students who are tackling some of the most challenging scientific questions of our era.

The Department of Energy's education programs help ensure an adequate supply of scientists, engineers and technicians for energy-related research, production activities, and the transfer of technology. The advancement of science, mathematics and technology education is an essential part of Energy's mission.

These Energy offices fund the bulk of the research grants:

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NAF Nanoscale Center

The NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and education. It does this through grants, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges and other research organizations throughout the United States. NSF funding accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research. The NSF budget in FY 10 is over $7 billion.

NSF funding, however, is very competitive, as they receive approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

Northeastern has various research centers that perform ongoing research sponsored by the NSF, such as the Antimicrobial Discovery Center, the Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing (pictured above), and the Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems. The Center for Microcontamination Control is the only Industry/University Research center established by the NSF.

Pictured above: Northeastern's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Research Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN), housed at the George J. Kostas Nanoscale Technology and Manufacturing Research Center. The Center has received $24.88 million from the NSF to date. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH's Office of Extramural Research (OER) research grants account for approximately 83 percent of NIH's $31 billion budget. These are awarded to research centers throughout the U.S. and abroad. The OER is determined to uphold their mission to "provide the corporate framework for NIH research administration, ensuring scientific integrity, public accountability, and effective stewardship of the NIH extramural research portfolio." Funding for an application depends on a rigorous system of peer review: scientists, physicians, and other experienced individuals in biomedical fields from around the world evaluate the merit of proposed research and its potential to advance science.

Research funded by the NIH improves the Nation's health and well-being, while also benefiting the economy. Northeastern University is a member of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, a coalition of patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, and industry, and signed onto a letter in August of 2011 urging Congress to maintain funding for the NIH

Department of Defense

Other federal funding agencies include the Department of Defense's (DoD) including the office of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is the research and development office for the DoD. DARPA funds the research done at Northeastern University that is focused on innovations for National Security. For more information, visit the public policy site on National Security.


In addition, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts are discussed under the Public Policy Issue of Humanities