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Research funding hits $139 million record

jbrehm2, August 19, 2010 | View original publication

Research funding hits $139 million record

Research funding at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln increased nearly 14 percent this year to a record of more than $139 million, according to the UNL Office of Research and Economic Development.

Total research funding, which includes all external funds awarded for university research, was $139.2 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That's up from $122.5 million the previous year.

More than $94 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 Defense, Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, Department of Agriculture and others. UNL's federal funding for research grew more than 12 percent from $83.8 million in 2009.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for our university and demonstrates the competitiveness of UNL nationally," said Chancellor Harvey Perlman. "Our research mission is vital to the citizens and economy of Nebraska and region and increasingly contributes to finding solutions to global problems."

UNL's research has grown significantly over the past 10 years. Total research funding increased 180 percent since 2000, when funding was $49.6 million.

"The impressive growth in our research in the past decade is the result of hard work and innovative ideas of our faculty. I am very proud of our progress," said Prem S. Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development.

Total external funding for sponsored programs, which include research and other activities such as teaching, public service and student services, climbed 28 percent to a record $246.3 million, up from $192.3 million in fiscal year 2009.

UNL researchers are competing successfully for federal stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. UNL received 55 stimulus-funded research grants totaling $21 million in the past fiscal year. During the period, the university earned $40.2 million in stimulus-supported sponsored funding, which includes research, facilities and public service activities.

"UNL faculty and staff worked very hard during the past year preparing research proposals to compete for stimulus funding," Paul said. "In addition, these funds provide critical investments for new facilities in nanoscience and virology."

Major grants that contributed to the fiscal year's sponsored programs funding increase included:

* $10 million from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the nation's only National Center for Research on Rural Education.

* $8 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources to fund a laboratory wing addition to the Ken Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, home to the Nebraska Center for Virology.

* $6.9 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce to help fund construction of a new $14.8 million Nanoscience Metrology Facility.

* $3 million from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to establish the Great Plains National Security Education Consortium, as a part of the Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence program in collaboration with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Creighton University and Bellevue University.

* $3.1 million from the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program for an interdisciplinary graduate education program focused on management of stressed watersheds.

* $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation to support groundwork to expand ANDRILL, the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program. UNL is home to ANDRILL's U.S. Science Management Office.

* Nearly $2.4 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to study speech declines in people with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

* $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative States Research, Education and Extension Service to continue the university's organic farming research and extension education project.

* Nearly $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for interdisciplinary, international research to develop digital tools that integrate historical railroad-related data over space and time to enhance digital humanities research.