Recently, CSUN honored the hundreds of employees who raised millions of dollars for research and projects on campus. These efforts help students put into practice what they learn in classrooms, and help faculty and staff make groundbreaking progress in a variety of fields.
The leads on these projects — known as principal investigators (PI) — worked on projects sponsored by private companies, government agencies and nationally recognized organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.
In 2018, CSUN had 212 PIs working on 278 sponsored projects. These projects brought in $3.94 million in scholarships and stipends that supported 821 students. In addition, there were 639 students employed on grants and contracts, allowing them to collectively earn $3.23 million in wages.
“I’m very proud of the outstanding efforts of our faculty researchers and scholars, whose work advances knowledge and enriches our communities,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “In addition, students gain so much from being able to work hands-on alongside their PIs. This development of knowledge is the foundation of our university, and these opportunities are made possible only because of the drive and commitment our PIs show in seeking out resources to perform research.”
The CSUN projects varied widely in size and scope. CSUN’s two largest projects in 2018 were the $5.15 million BUILD PODER project and the $1.7 million “California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) project.
BUILD PODER, funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to increase diversity in biomedical research and prepare participants for Ph.D. programs. BUILD PODER has four principal investigators: psychology professors Carrie Saetermoe, Gabriela Chavira and Maggie Shiffrar, and Crist Khachikian, associate vice president for Research and Graduate Studies. BUILD is an acronym for Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, and PODER stands for Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research.
CalSWEC, led by Amy Levin, the assistant Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, prepares students to be children’s social workers for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
Sheree Schrager, managing director of Research and Sponsored Programs at CSUN, recognized administrators and support staff throughout the university, and she discussed the importance of sponsored projects.
“You make it over all the hurdles and bring forth new discoveries, and that is why we are here tonight,” Schrager said. “We are here to say thank you to you, our PIs. Your commitment and work ethic allow CSUN to remain the diverse and hardworking institution we value, and pave the way for the future generations of scholars you inspire.”