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Nov-03-2009 19:35printcomments

Research funding Shows Record First-Quarter Jump

Despite the nation's recession and state's cuts, University of Oregon research funding continues to grow.

University of Oregon
University of Oregon

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Research funding to the University of Oregon in the first quarter of the 2009-2010 fiscal year ending Sept. 30 hit $69.4 million -- a 60 percent increase over the record-setting first quarter of $43.4 million a year ago.

According to data compiled by the university's Office of Research Services and Administration, awards during the first quarter include 83 percent ($10.2 million) of the $12.3 million the UO has received in research grants to date under the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The UO has submitted about $100 million in ARRA "stimulus" funding requests to date, with the majority still under competitive review.

"Although we always interpret the results for one quarter with great caution, the $69.4 million funding level for new grant awards is remarkable, especially considering that the UO record for an entire fiscal year is $115.3 million (2007-2008)," said Rich Linton, UO vice president for research and graduates studies. "Although the federal ARRA funding was a significant factor, it contributed only 15 percent of the total awards for the first quarter. All federal funding for research and other sponsored programs contributed $64.3 million for the first quarter, or about 92 percent of the university's total."

The federal research dollars to the UO for the quarter are virtually identical to the total $64 million state appropriation as authorized for the 2009-2010 fiscal year to the university.

"This is just one more measure of the outstanding and growing achievements of UO faculty scholars and associated researchers in attracting competitively awarded research funds, despite the chronic disinvestment of the state in its higher-education system," said James Bean, UO senior vice president and provost.

In stark contrast to low rankings in state funding per student relative to other states, the Oregon University System regularly rates in the top 10 nationally in federal research funds per faculty. "It is hard to imagine that we could push the leveraging of limited state dollars significantly beyond current performance levels involving the research enterprise," Linton said.

In addition to federal funds, research dollars originate from sub-federal, state, corporation, association, foundation and other sources. Sub-federal awards are flow-through federal allocations initially dispersed to another recipient such as a state agency. Other sources include entities such as educational institutions, city or county governments, Native American tribes and foreign agencies.

First-quarter grant totals this year show that awards to UO research centers and institutes under the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at $38.1 million. For example, the Institute of Neuroscience drew 21 grants totaling $11.5 million. Eighteen awards delivered $6.5 million to the Materials Science Institute, and another $4.3 million in 17 grants went to the Institute of Molecular Biology, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Another $17.2 million was awarded to units associated with the College of Education, which typically ranks near the top nationally in sponsored funding per faculty member.

"The pattern of new awards mirrors the traditional strengths of the UO in attracting the highest proportions of its sponsored funding from the Department of Health Human Services, mostly the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the federal Department of Education," Linton said.

Source: UO Office of Communications

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