by George Zamora

SOCORRO – October 3, 2003 - New Mexico Tech is the nation’s top recipient of Congressionally approved earmarked research funds, according to recent rankings published by The Chronicle of Higher Education

With slightly more than $56 million in academic-earmark funds coming in for various cutting-edge research projects and training programs, New Mexico Tech tops The Chronicle’s list of 30 national universities that received the most earmarked federal funds this fiscal year for scientific research and other projects in higher education.

The featured article on Congressionally directed federal funding also notes that the single largest earmark in 2003, for $21 million, went to New Mexico Tech for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) project.

In addition, with more national emphasis being placed on homeland security, members of Congress set aside $125 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University, and New Mexico Tech. As a direct result, the article states, each of the universities was given $20 million in federal appropriations to train police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians to properly respond to terrorist attacks involving explosives and other weapons of mass destruction.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s recent issue also made mention in an accompanying article of New Mexico Tech’s pending plans to purchase the southwestern New Mexico town of Playas for use as a first-responder training facility.