More than $4B in Fed grants available

More than $4.6 billion in technology-oriented federal grants could be available to 1,700 universities and colleges, according to a market research firm.

Reston-Va.-based Input said the federal government is the largest source for information technology projects in higher education and is currently monitoring more than 350 federal grant programs available to those institutions. The majority of the money is used to buy hardware or software, the report said.

"The real nature of the grant is not IT in many cases, but could be health related, for example," said Meredith Luttner, manager of Input's state and local market development services. "They frequently need hardware and software to support labs completing that research."

Luttner also sees opportunities for more homeland security research and development projects going through higher education.

The $4.6 billion figure refers to grants that are still available. Input is also tracking $2.84 billion in grants — more than 3,000 awards — already given to higher education institutions. The report listed Carnegie Mellon University ($179 million), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($265 million) and the University of California at Berkeley ($295 million) among the leading recipients of federal grants during 2002.

Agencies funding those universities' research included NASA, the Defense Department, the Education Department, the Energy Department, the Agriculture Department, the Interior Department, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services. The latter two agencies are the among the largest grant-making agencies.

Luttner said the higher education technology market presents an opportunity for vendors to partner with universities and colleges on projects and apply for federal grants.

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