UNL research funding tops record $139M

2010-08-19T10:40:00Z 2010-09-09T17:17:30Z UNL research funding tops record $139MBy KEVIN ABOUREZK / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
August 19, 2010 10:40 am  • 

Federal stimulus dollars pushed the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's research funding to a record $139.2 million this year, according to the university.

Total research funding, including all external funds awarded for research in the fiscal year that ended June 30, was up nearly 14 percent from $122.5 million last year.

But $21 million of the new funding came from 55 grants awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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

Paul said he is concerned about the lack of stimulus funding next year but is hopeful UNL researchers will continue to win new grants.

"We are planning to compete, and we plan to win," he said. "The effort is there. The desire is there. We are hungry."

More than $94 million of this year's research funding came from federal sources such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense. UNL's federal funding for research grew more than 12 percent from $83.8 million in 2009.

This year, the university earned $40.2 million in total stimulus funding for sponsored programs, which not only includes external funds for research but funding for public service activities, teaching and student services.

Total external funding for sponsored programs this year climbed 28 percent to a record $246.3 million, up from $192.3 million in fiscal year 2009.

UNL's research funding has grown 180 percent since 2000, when it 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," Paul said.

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

  • $10 million from the U.S. Department of Education for the nation's only National Center for Research on Rural Education.
  • $8 million, National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources for a laboratory wing addition to the Ken Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, home to the Nebraska Center for Virology.
  • $6.9 million, National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce to help pay for construction of a $14.8 million Nanoscience Metrology Facility.
  • $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation to expand ANDRILL, the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program. UNL is home to the program's U.S. Science Management Office.

Paul said UNL's success in gaining research funding has created public-private partnerships that will eventually benefit Innovation Campus, the research and development campus being built on the former state fairgrounds.

"This success that our faculty are having is very satisfying," he said. "As a result of that, we will have more opportunities to attract companies."

Reach Kevin Abourezk at 402-473-7225 or kabourezk@journalstar.com.

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