Organized Research Expenditures Jul 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. Source: Cornell University

By the Numbers: Science Research Spending

Ever wondered how much spending is involved in research at Cornell? A Cornell Research report gives light on spending data from 2016-2017 school year. The report broke down spending into two main categories: organized research and departmental research. Organized research, as defined by the report, “represents the research efforts funded by sponsored programs and federal and NYS appropriations and internal solicitations, including formal cost sharing.”

Research that is funded by gifts to departments and with faculty research accounts falls under departmental research, according to the report. Organized research spending accounted for 83 percent of all research spending and $985.5 million was spent in total.

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EDITORIAL | Cornell Owes Answers on Wansink’s Research Blunders

A series of six retractions and several corrections issued by Prof. Brian Wansink, marketing, director of the Food and Brand Lab, is deeply concerning and requires further investigation and explanation from the University. The reputation of Cornell’s research is critical to the success of its students and faculty, and should be a predominant priority of the Administration. Faculty who produce research with inconsistent data or improper methods risk not only their own academic reputations, but those of all their colleagues, students and that of Cornell as a whole. Cornell previously concluded that the errors found in some of Wansink’s research “did not constitute scientific misconduct.” However, the ongoing string of retractions is indicative of a pervasive lack of proper methodology and analysis. Cornell must further investigate the integrity of Wansink’s research findings and provide an explanation for the retractions and corrections — the University must do better than merely referring back to an outdated statement from last October.

Images demonstrating the growth of cells in the 3-D printed device (L) compared to static conditions (R). Mucus growth (red) is more pronounced in the bioreactor, leading to healthier cells.

3D Printed Artificial Small Intestine to Advance Research on Gut Bacteria

What ingredients would you need to recreate the organ that enables you to digest your salad? According to Prof. John March, biological and environmental engineering, a 3-D printer would suffice. Together with researchers from his lab, March used 3-D printing technology to create a microscopic artificial small intestine. Unlike previous attempts, the Cornell device recreates the natural contraction and relaxation of muscles — peristalsis — in the small intestine. Without this fundamental feature, researchers have been unable to completely understand the biology that underlies the working of the organ.

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Perils in the Pursuit for Scientific Novelty

Scientific research isn’t perfect, far from it. In fact, according to Richard Harris, correspondent at National Public Radio, the scientific process is in need of repair. Among the many issues, the limited ability to examine existing, mundane findings seems to be a consistent obstacle. At a lecture at Cornell on Oct. 16, Harris discussed his criticisms of the manner in which science research is published and presented.