UNL research funding hits record of more than $122 million

Released on 07/29/2009, at 11:59 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., July 29th, 2009 —
UNL research funding growth chart, 2000-09
UNL research funding growth chart, 2000-09

Lincoln, Neb., July 29, 2009 -- Total research funding at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln increased nearly 13 percent this year to a record of more than $122 million, according to the UNL Office of Research.

Total research funding, which includes all external funds awarded for university research, was $122,452,344 in the fiscal year ending June 30. The increase, up from $108.3 million in fiscal 2008, is UNL's largest ever year-to-year research funding growth.

Nearly $84 million of this year's research funding came from federal sources such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Agriculture and others. UNL's federal funding for research grew nearly 16 percent from $72.3 million in 2008.

UNL's research enterprise has grown substantially during this decade. Total research funding increased by 146 percent since 2000 when funding was $49.6 million.

That growth bodes well for Nebraska as well as the university, said UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman. "It is a testament to the quality of our faculty and the leadership of Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Prem Paul."

"Increased external funding helps us build momentum to better meet the needs of our state and nation," Perlman said. "We're committed to partnering with private businesses and entrepreneurs to help move our discoveries from the lab to the marketplace."

Total external funding for sponsored programs, which include research and other activities such as teaching, public service and student services, also hit a record $192.4 million, up nearly 9 percent from $176.5 million last year.

"Our research university is making tremendous progress," said Paul. "I'm very proud of our faculty's innovative ideas and competitiveness, especially in a tough federal budgetary climate."

Federal funding for research has been flat for several years, which has created intense competition for available funding, Paul said. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly called the stimulus package, significantly increased federal funding for research as part of broader efforts to stimulate the nation's economy. However, it is early in the process and stimulus funding accounted for less than $2 million of UNL's total research funding totals for the past fiscal year.

UNL faculty are successfully pursuing stimulus funding, Paul said, and next year's research funding total is expected to more fully reflect the impact of stimulus money.

Examples of major grant awards that contributed to the fiscal year's increase include:

* $9.3 million from the National Science Foundation for NebraskaMATH, a statewide program to improve mathematics achievement for students.

* $8.1 million from NSF for continued support of UNL's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and its nanotechnology research.

* $8.7 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau to establish the Midwest Child Welfare Technical Assistance Implementation Center.

* $3.8 million from NSF to establish an ADVANCE program at UNL to help recruit, promote and retain female faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

* $2.5 million from NSF to make available nationwide a robotics and GPS/GIS science education curriculum developed by Nebraska 4-H.

* $300,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to edit, annotate and make available online the Civil War writings of Walt Whitman.

The link below is to a JPEG image of a chart illustrating the growth in UNL research funding this decade.