July 28, 2011
UI external support holds steady in fiscal year 2011
University of Iowa grant and contract funding totaled $456.6 million in fiscal year 2011, remaining remarkably steady despite a significant downturn in overall federal funding for research. The number marks the UI's second-highest yearly total ever, just 2.2 percent below the record total of $466.5 million received in 2010.
The decline seen at the UI and across the country was largely due to reduced levels of research funding associated with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds received, which for UI totaled $40.8 million in fiscal year 2010 (FY 2010), and declined to $33.3 million this past year.
"Our faculty's continuing ability to compete for federal funding at an extraordinarily high level, despite a more constrained funding climate, is a credit to their innovative and creative ideas as well as the university's commitment to research excellence and the outstanding support staff and infrastructure that facilitates research at UI," he said.
According to the most recent National Science Foundation survey (2009), the UI is ranked 21st among public universities in terms of federal expenditures for research and development, up from 24th in 2008.
The total of $33.3 million in ARRA funding for FY 2011 -- the final year of ARRA funding -- represented another notable accomplishment by UI faculty. (To view a list of current ARRA-funded UI projects, visit https://research.uiowa.edu/arra/)
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided an extraordinary opportunity for faculty to augment their already strong programs with higher risk research applications. Our faculty competed very effectively for these funds, garnering 210 ARRA awards totaling almost $80 million over three years," Cohen said.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) continues to be the UI's largest sponsor of federally funded research and experienced substantial growth during the two-year stimulus period. NIH accounted for over $205 million, or 45 percent, of the university's extramural funding portfolio in FY 2011.
Derek Willard, special assistant to the president for governmental relations and associate vice president for research, noted that deficit reduction talks in Congress suggest discretionary funding will be under extreme pressure for the next several years, resulting in flat budgets for federal sponsors of research for the near term. "We are very grateful for the critical support for research within the Iowa Congressional delegation," Willard said.
One strategy university officials are employing to ensure the UI's competitiveness for future funding is hiring interdisciplinary "clusters" of faculty focused on research and scholarship addressing important societal challenges that are well-aligned with state and national funding priorities.
UI President Sally Mason said,"Deans are actively recruiting in the strategic cluster areas of Water Sustainability, The Aging Mind and Brain, Digital Public Humanities, Genetics and Obesity. All of these areas represent emerging and growing areas of research inquiry and education that address societal issues of national significance."
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500