As I write this note, Notre Dame has just closed the books of its FY21 fiscal year. Despite all of the challenges of the pandemic and the significant achievement of teaching approximately 75% of classes in person (frequently via "dual-mode" instruction so that students in quarantine and isolation could attend remotely), our Notre Dame faculty achieved a remarkable 30% increase in research grant awards compared to the previous year. This is a phenomenal achievement given all of the challenges the pandemic presented.
In dissecting this record, the increase in awards came despite only a modest 10% increase in proposals and relatively modest success with federal stimulus opportunities. The record was built on the momentum of recent successes in areas such as strengthening elementary education programs in low- and middle-income countries, turbomachinery research and the basic science of health, as well as new areas, such as understanding food insecurity in urban areas and developing surveillance systems for emergent infectious disease.