The University of Washington to date has received $191.2 million from various federal agencies for research under the year-old American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, funds that are commonly referred to as stimulus money. This money, coming in the form of 420 individually awarded grants, has created or helped retain more than 1,000 jobs at the UW.
In addition, the stimulus money received by the UW has probably generated $400 million of economic activity in the state, according to Dick Conway, principal in Dick Conway & Associates and co-publisher of The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster. Conway also said that the research money will result in creating a total of 2,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, through its impact on the state’s economy.
“The federal stimulus bill has been responsible for retaining or creating all types of jobs — including those for scientists, technicians, and support staff,” says UW President Mark Emmert. “Keeping them in Washington is vital for the future of our state’s economy. The projects themselves will also have important long-term impact. The potential from funding fundamental basic research is enormous.”
Grants for stimulus money are being awarded through a highly competitive process. In total, institutions in Washington have received about $359 million in stimulus money for research. The UW share is about 60 percent of the total. The UW ranks second in the country among universities in stimulus funds granted by the National Institutes of Health. Federal awards should continue for the next five or six months. By the time the program completes its funding, the UW could receive as much as $300 million.
Among the grants received thus far is funding from the National Institutes of Health to launch the Northwest Genomics Center, which will study how various genes can influence the likelihood of individuals suffering from cardiovascular disease. Another grant, from the National Science Foundation, will enable UW researchers to develop ways of making mobile devices, including personal medical devices, more secure against outside interference and deliberate attempt to disrupt their operations. And a UW researcher in the Department of Forest Resources is receiving support from NSF to study ways to increase the efficiency of biofuel production without the use of expensive fertilizers.
The UW has been the number one public university in competing for federal research dollars for every year since 1974. In the most recent fiscal year (2009), the UW received $1.15 billion in competitively awarded research funds.