The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering ranks among top in research funding per faculty

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) is now ranked third in the nation for research funding per faculty when compared to all other engineering schools, according to the National Science Foundation’s 2020 Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey.

That impressive ranking places Pritzker Molecular Engineering just behind Harvard University’s engineering school in total research funding obtained by individual faculty—$695,000 on average—and well ahead of other, more established schools in the engineering field.

This comes only ten years after PME opened its doors as an Institute and during its first year as a full-fledged engineering school. The funding per faculty represents the school’s dramatic growth and the outsized contributions of its faculty, which at the time of the survey numbered only 29.

Just a short time later, the school now boasts 32 primary tenure-track faculty, each earning $1.11 million in funding on average. Total federal funding for critically important research is expected to reach $35.6 million this year.

PME faculty have made strides in immunology research, advancing the understanding of cancer and vaccines, and developing novel treatments such as coronavirus nanotraps.

The school has become an international hub for quantum science and technology, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, QNEXT, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 2017 to launch the Chicago Quantum Exchange and to explore the new frontiers of quantum computing, sensing and communications. PME’s efforts in sustainability have led to promising developments in critical metal extraction, degradable plastics, and water treatment.

“From the very beginning, we set out to make the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering an institutional force for change,” said Matthew Tirrell, dean of PME. “This achievement in funding reflects the value of our faculty’s work and validates our approach — that to address the biggest challenges of our modern age, we need to provide the next generation of engineers with a modern skillset that crosses disciplines.”

Since its inception, PME has positioned itself as an innovator in research and education, organizing itself around solving some of today’s most pressing issues, such as water scarcity, energy storage, treating disease at the cellular level, and developing secure quantum computing capabilities. PME students and faculty operate in close collaboration, bringing together their expertise to address these critical challenges.

Students who attend PME are immersed in a broad range of engineering concepts, preparing them to be interdisciplinary thinkers capable of adapting quickly to real-world demands.