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Harvard may have the nation's largest endowment, but the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) is the number one recipient of Pentagon aid for nonprofit research, receiving $300 million more than Harvard, according to a report released Monday.
MIT climbed four notches on the list of educational institutions doing Defense Department research by increasing its grant total from $260.9 million in 1984 to $360.1 million last year.
Meanwhile, Harvard researchers received a relatively small sum of $4.3 million from the Pentagon, down from $5.9 million last year, according to Patricia Benfari, director of the Harvard Office for Sponsored Research.
Harvard officials said that research at the University is focused on the work of individual professors as opposed to the large federally-funded facilities that are common at MIT. Because Harvard does not have such facilities, it does not seek the same degree of large-scale Pentagon funding, officials said.
The Divsion of Applied Sciences received about 50 percent of Harvard's research awards funded by the Pentagon. There are approximately 10 defense subcontracts within the department, with a large bulk of the funds coming from the Office of Naval Research, said Paul C. Martin, dean of the Division of Applied Sciences.
"Harvard has no major research facilities funded by federal agencies like MIT does," said Martin. He added that large labs devoted to government work tend to receive more money from the Defense Department than individual professors do.
In contrast to the large research groups, "Individual professors only get bits and pieces," said Ronald E. Vanelli, director of the Department of Physics.
Gerhard Gade University Professor Nicholas A.M. Bloembergen, who won a Nobel prize for his work in optics, said he has had a "running grant" with the military for 40 years. Recently Bloembergen has been doing work with lasers and has beenstudying the properties of matter under high lightintensities.
Benfari said the bulk of Harvard researchmonies come from National Institute of Health,which gives over $80 million annually, andNational Science Foundation grants, whose figureswere unavailable.
Over half of MIT's Defense Department fundingsupports the Lincoln Laboritories, an MIT researchfacility whose work is devoted to Pentagonprojects, according to a spokesman for the lab whorequested anonymity.
MIT's increase in defense-funded research isattributable in part to the addition of researchfor Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also knownas "Star Wars," according to the spokesman.
A private, non-profit research firm with strongeducational ties to MIT is the CharlesStark/Draper Laboratory, which ranked second inPentagon funding with $305.2 million.
Although the Draper Labs divested from MIT in1973, they still maintain informal ties with theuniversity. Each year approximately 50 MITstudents intern with the labs as Draper Fellows.
The MIT-affiliated research group developed theguidance systems for the MX and cruise missilesand is presently working on the Trident IIsubmarine-based ballistic missile. It also hasdeveloped the software for the on-board computersand the autopilot mechanism for the spaceshuttles
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