UI research funding again tops $400 million

UI research funding again tops $400 million

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The University of Iowa eclipsed $400 million in external funding for research for the fourth consecutive year, continuing a trend of successfully competing for federal and other sources of money despite the end of federal stimulus funds and tight budgets affecting government, the philanthropic and private sectors.

Sponsored funding graphic

The UI’s total share of external funding for fiscal 2012 was $438 million. Excluding short-term stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year and this year, total external funding increased 3.2 percent over fiscal 2011. UI researchers also landed 2,124 grant and contract awards, the most ever when excluding stimulus-funded projects. The fiscal year ended June 30.

“We are pleased to have recorded another strong year in research funding despite fiscal challenges in Washington and the budget uncertainty with federal funding agencies as well as belt-tightening elsewhere due to the sluggish economic recovery,” said Jordan Cohen, the UI’s vice president for research and economic development. “I am proud of our faculty – proud of their commitment to excellence in their scholarship and their impact on Iowa. I continue to be impressed with how they continue to effectively compete for grants in an increasingly competitive federal funding environment.”

The UI sustained its share of funding from its greatest federal source, the National Institutes of Health, and more than doubled its funding from the National Science Foundation, obtaining $17.5 million in fiscal 2012 compared to $8.2 million in fiscal 2011.

Several of the university’s burgeoning “clusters,” interdisciplinary faculty teams that tackle problems fundamental to society and human health, including the aging mind, digital public humanities, genetics, obesity and water sustainability, also competed well for external funding. The university expects more success as leaders of these clusters complete faculty hires, spawning new research grant applications.

“Research at the University of Iowa benefits Iowans’ health and well-being, their communities, and our state’s economy,” says Sally Mason, UI president. “Our discoveries and breakthroughs also have a national and global impact. I am grateful for the talent and dedication of our faculty, staff, and students and how they have led us to another impressive year of research success.”

Other highlights in the fiscal 2012 funding report:

  • Of the UI’s 11 colleges, eight of them registered funding increases or remained essentially steady in fiscal 2012 versus fiscal 2011. The Graduate College and the College of Engineering had the largest percentage increases, at 89 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
  • External funding to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) grew by 8 percent to $53 million in fiscal 2012. The recent growth comes as CLAS welcomes a new dean, Chaden Djalali, and seeks to build on its strengths, including in the social sciences.CLAS now ranks second to the Carver College of Medicine in total external funding.
  • Every two of three dollars earned by the UI comes from the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the National Institutes of Health, is the largest funder, at $204 million in fiscal 2012.

Looking ahead, there is a cautionary tale. The ongoing budget stalemate between the White House and Congress may trigger substantial reductions in funding from many federal agencies that could last several years. Despite the subdued federal funding outlook, Cohen remains optimistic about the UI research enterprise’s future.

“We are focused on seeking new strategic partnerships with industry, community and four-year colleges and with other research universities to broaden our funding base, and we will continue to demonstrate the high impact of our work on Iowa’s economy and quality of life.”


Jordan Cohen, Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development, 319-335-2132
Richard Lewis, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0012


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