Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Faculty Senate report finds research is not profitable

A Faculty Senate report presented at April’s meeting found that, on average, sponsored research loses money for GW.

The report states that the University and the Medical Center spend a combined $54 million on research, which is not completely recovered in terms of direct financial benefits.

Research has non-financial benefits, like attracting better quality students by offering stipend and tuition money paid from grants, the report states.

“It’s a prestige item for the University,” said Donald Lehman, executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

Losing money by funding research is not unique to GW. Frederic Lindahl, an accountancy professor, discussed a meeting between faculty members and University President-elect Steven Knapp, in which Knapp told the group that research is a financial drain at his own school.

“If it’s a net loser at Johns Hopkins, it’s a net loser everywhere,” Lindahl said.

But, he continued, “As President Knapp said, it may be a loser, but it’s what we do.”

Laurel Price Jones, vice president for Advancement, whose office seeks corporations to sponsor research, said research is not meant to be profitable.

“You don’t do it in order to make money,” she said. “It’s the mission of the University to provide research.”

Price Jones said there are often misconceptions regarding where money is directed. Her office is now actively seeking out “transformation gifts,” donations of $25 million or more to go to the science center. She said their main focus at this point is raising money for scholarships.

She said GW has raised an average of $10 million in scholarship money a year in the last five years and the goal is to raise $20,000 this year. She would not say how much was raised so far, though she said they are on target to meet the goal.

Price Jones said scholarships, both need- and merit-based, are important in recruiting top students and are one of the easier things to convince people to donate to. She said getting people to donate money to renovate old buildings is at the bottom of the list of popular causes.

“Scholarships are very easy to explain and the need is urgent,” she said.

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet