Oct. 10, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 3

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    Research funding hits record high

    Total surpasses $200 million for first time University researchers received a record $207.1 million in funding for projects during the fiscal year ending June 30, despite a national trend toward reduced support for university-based research projects. This is the first time research funding at the University has exceeded $200 million.

    "This is very encouraging given the current funding climate," said David Schramm, Vice President for Research and Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics. "Chicago continues to be a leading center of research in many fields, and those strengths are recognized by the funds that are provided for projects here."

    During the 1995-96 academic year, support from federal and private sources for sponsored research projects climbed 11.5 percent over the previous fiscal year. The increases were propelled by a boost of 19.1 percent in funding for research in the Biological Sciences Division, which received $129,935,667 in awards.

    Federal agencies funded more than 75 percent of the University's projects. Grants from the Department of Health and Human Services accounted for 48 percent of the funding, with the majority awarded by the National Institutes of Health. The National Science Foundation was the second largest source of federal research funds, contributing 12.4 percent of the total.

    Schramm praised the Biological Sciences Division for its ambitious efforts. "They have been aggressive in seeking projects, and that approach has paid off handsomely," he said.

    Schramm also credited the construction of the Biological Sciences Learning Center/Jules F. Knapp Medical Research Building for providing facilities that encourage funding agencies to be generous with university projects.

    "The construction of this building has demonstrated to funding sources that the University has a serious, long-term commitment to doing serious research," Schramm said. "This commitment has been rewarded with substantial grants to our researchers, who are themselves at the top of their fields nationally."

    A five-year comparison shows the BSD has increased its funding from $93.3 million in 1992 to 129.9 million in 1996. The Physical Sciences Division has reported a more modest growth, but has maintained steady funding in the range of $40 million to $44 million over the past five years.

    Many other areas in the University have reported increases in funding for the past fiscal year. The School of Social Service Administration received a total of $4,594,000, an increase of 75 percent compared with fiscal year 1995. In the Law School, funding reached $3,111,000, a jump of 411.7 percent. Among academic units -- including the Oriental Institute, the College, Continuing Education, the Library and the Press -- funding for research totaled $7,370,000, an increase of 16.8 percent. Among University offices, a category that includes the Laboratory Schools, Student Services, International House and other units, funding totaled $7,969,000, a 23.6 percent increase.

    Schramm noted that the record-breaking total is particularly noteworthy considering it does not include the unusually large grant of $6.27 million that was recently awarded to University for the Consortium for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS). The grant was received after the June 30 fiscal year end.

    CARS, which is managed by the University, received the grant from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to construct a facility for ChemMatCARS, the third of three CARS sectors at Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Proton Source. ChemMatCARS will be used to study condensed-matter chemistry and materials science at APS, the world's most brilliant source of X-rays.