UW News

October 6, 2005

UW bioengineering tops in National Institutes of Health funding again

The UW has once again topped the nation in biomedical engineering research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

According to figures posted on the NIH Web site, the University of Washington received $20.06 million in biomedical engineering-related funding from the federal agency. Most of that was in the Department of Bioengineering, although some of the total went to other departments in the College of Engineering.

The second-place for funding went to Georgia Tech/Emory with $13.3 million, while Johns Hopkins took third with $12.38 million.

Other schools in the top 10 include the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Boston University, University of California San Diego, Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The overall numbers were calculated by totaling figures compiled from three areas on the NIH Web site, according to Yongmin Kim, chair of the UW’s Department of Bioengineering.

Few people are aware of the UW’s dominance in this area of NIH funding, Kim said.

“When I relate this information in my presentations, many people are surprised,” he said.

“If you look at the top 10 institutions on the list, they are elite institutions,” Kim said. “The fact that we lead these other elite institutions by such a large margin is a testimonial of the quality of faculty that we have in bioengineering and in the College of Engineering, and also of the quality of research being done and the leadership in those research initiatives.”

The UW has an additional advantage compared to most schools, one that goes back to the beginnings of bioengineering at the university, Kim said.

“What makes the UW special is the tradition of bioengineering being set up as a joint venture between the medical school and engineering,” he said. “From the beginning, we merged engineering, biology and medicine, so for the past 40 or 50 years we’ve been collaborating across multiple disciplines.”

The ability to consistently attract funding at the level that UW bioengineering has for the past decade is important to more than the university. It is also a critical factor for Puget Sound’s regional economy.

“This kind of funding is essential for local economic development; it forms a base that has a direct effect in terms of new discoveries and inventions, some of which will go into commercialization. And that can lead to indirect effects — local jobs, venture capital, successful new companies,” Kim said. “So this is good news not only for the University of Washington or the College of Engineering or the School of Medicine — it is great news for the Puget Sound area.”


For more information, contact Kim at (206) 685-2002 or ykim@u.washington.edu.