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August 2, 2007

Research funding tops $1 billion

News and Information

The UW received more than $1 billion in grant and contract research funding for the most recent fiscal year, marking the first time it has reached this level.

The total funds received for research in the fiscal year that ended June 30 were $1,019,977,296. Virtually all of the funding results from peer-reviewed research proposals by individual faculty members.

The UW has been the top public university in federal research funding every year since 1974 and among the top five universities, public and private, in federal funding since 1969. Federal grants comprise nearly 80 percent of the UW research funding. In 1974 the grant and contract awards totaled just over $90 million.

“Crossing the billion dollar mark in research funding is simply remarkable,” said UW President Mark A. Emmert. “It is an amazing accomplishment by our faculty, students, and staff. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

In fiscal year 2006-2007, the Department of Health and Human Services, the largest source of funding, provided more than $508 million in research support. This was followed by nearly $95 million from the National Science Foundation and more than $60 million from the Department of Defense. About $90 million came from a variety of associations and nonprofit groups.

Research funding is a highly competitive process. The National Institutes of Health report that about 20 percent of research proposals submitted to that agency receive funding; the National Science Foundation funds fewer than 30 percent of the proposals that it receives.

“These funding decisions are made through a rigorous peer review process,” said UW Vice Provost for Research Mary Lidstrom. “When our faculty members receive this kind of financial support, they’re also getting a tremendous vote of confidence from their colleagues at other institutions. It’s more evidence that UW faculty are answering the big questions and doing research that really matters.”

This year, the largest single grant received by the UW was to King Holmes, director of the UW Center for AIDS & STD, head of the UW International Training and Education Center on HIV, and the chief of the Division of Allergy and Infectious Disease at Harborview Medical Center. Holmes is also chair of the new Department of Global Health. His grant is for a collaborative project in international AIDS education and training. The grant, for $29.7 million from the Health Resources and Service Administration, is designed to increase the capacity for AIDS/HIV prevention, clinical care and support within a partnership network of more than 120 organizations worldwide.

In addition to AIDS research, funding supports projects seeking to understand some of the basic processes in nature, from the ways cells function to how the brain works, to processes causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Currently, the University has 5,230 active separate projects seeking answers to research questions. Many students, undergraduate as well as graduate, participate in the University’s vast research enterprise funded by these grants.

Although final totals by school and college are not available yet, the School of Medicine will surely remain the largest recipient of research funds. Other top recipients include the College of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, and the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.