UGA announces third consecutive year of double digit increases in external funding

ATHENS, Ga. – For the third consecutive year, total external funding for research, instruction, and public service and outreach at the University of Georgia are up by double digit increases, said Gordhan L. Patel, the UGA vice president for research and associate provost.

“This is indeed good news for the University of Georgia and for the state of Georgia as a whole,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “The research that is conducted at UGA is an important factor in the economic strength of this state. Another record year in research funding caps off our best academic year ever and sets the stage for another very strong year at UGA.”

Total external funding during the fiscal year jumped to $230.7 million, a 12.8 percent increase over the previous year’s $204.5 million figure, which was a 17 percent increase over the 2001 fiscal year. This marks the second time in the university’s history that total external funding has surpassed the $200 million mark. External funds include contracts, grants and agreements from federal, state, private and corporate sources. The research portion of external funding increased 7.5 percent over the previous year, closing the year at $149.8 million; instructional support rose 48 percent to $25.1 million; and public service and outreach funding increased 26 percent to $50 million. Awards for cooperative extension programs dropped to $5.9 million, a 30 percent decrease over last year.

“UGA’s external funding has climbed steadily in recent years. During the past five years, total external funding has increased 61.8 percent and research funding is up 64.4 percent,” said Regina Smith, the associate vice president for research who directs the UGA Office of Sponsored Programs.

“This fiscal year marks the first time in the university’s history that every college and school generated at least $1 million in outside funding, including the two that were formed within the past few years,” Smith said.

“Our faculty are to be congratulated for their ongoing success in the highly competitive arena of sponsored research funding,” Patel said. “Academic department heads also deserve credit for hiring bright, young faculty who are helping bring in more research funding.

“Even though we are presently in a tough economic environment, this is no time to back down from aggressively recruiting the best faculty available. Advances in Georgia in general, and at UGA in particular, have caught national attention and the university is in a good position to attract top-quality faculty,” Patel said.

Faculty at the nation’s public and private research universities submit funding proposals for limited resources and those that receive the highest evaluations from reviewers are funded, Patel said.

* Includes all external contracts and grants for research, instruction, public service and outreach, and the Cooperative Extension Service.

During FY 2003, which ended June 30, total awards from the National Institutes of Health increased to $40.9 million, nearly 17 percent over the $35 million awarded in FY 2002. Awards from the National Science Foundation totaled $22.2 million, a 22 percent increase over last year. The U.S. Department of Energy funding for the fiscal year was $14.7 million, a 16 percent increase. U.S. Department of Agriculture funding, which supports projects in several UGA colleges and units, was $18 million, down 32 percent over the previous year. Early analysis shows that the drop is due in part to the timing of the receipt of some large awards, which does not always coincide with the university’s fiscal year, Smith said. Awards from all other federal agencies, including the CDC, accounted for an additional $36 million. Financial support also was received from other sources, including private foundations, industry and internal organizations.

Several UGA faculty received new awards in excess of $1 million this past year. Patricia Wilson, James Wilson and Jeremy Kilpatrick in the department of mathematics education received a $10.3 million NSF grant for a five-year project that focuses on improving the mathematical proficiency of both new teachers and those already in the field. Andrew Izsák and colleagues in the department of mathematics education and the Learning and Performance Support Laboratory received a three-year, $1.1 million NSF grant to study how mathematics teaching and learning interact in middle school algebra. Such findings will help guide teacher professional development. Dorothy Harnish, an associate research scientist and co-director of the Occupational Research Group in the College of Education, received more than $2.5 million from the United Arab Emirates to improve that nation’s secondary technical education system.

Forest biotechnology professor Jeffrey Dean and colleagues were awarded a three-year, $1.65 million grant from NSF to compile an extensive catalog of the genes expressed in loblolly pines. This group will study how those genes respond to stresses such as drought, lack of nitrogen and exposure to root pathogens. Chemistry researcher Greg Robinson and his colleagues received a $2.5 million, five-year grant from NSF to study next generation aromatics, a class of chemicals used in such things as foods and fragrances as well as solvents and other industrial applications. The Center for International Trade and Security received a three-year, $2.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Commerce to conduct research on international laws, regulations and enforcement mechanisms designed to prevent rogue states and terrorists from buying materials for weapons of mass destruction.

Grants in areas such as the humanities and arts usually are considerably less in dollar amounts but are equally as competitive and prestigious. History professor James Cobb received a $40,000 research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his scholarship on the South and the shift in its identity. Linguistic researchers Sonja Lanehart and William Kretzschmar Jr. received a $50,000 grant from the NSF Small Grant for Exploratory Research program for their project titled, “Atlanta Speech Sample.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration, a unit within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the university a $10 million facilities construction grant for the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, currently under construction. The state approved an additional $10 million in matching funds, which are administered through the UGA real estate foundation, for Coverdell Center construction. The National Center for Research Resources, a unit within NIH, awarded a $2 million grant for a support facility within the Coverdell Center. The 135,000-square-foot Center will provide support for a full range of collaborative biomedical research at UGA.

The university also receives financial support to help provide essential equipment and high-tech instruments for programs in such research areas as disease, molecular biology and agriculture. For example, last year UGA received $1.7 million from the Georgia Lottery Matching Funds for equipment, technology and construction funds and more than $7 million in supplemental research funds from the Georgia Research Alliance, a private-public partnership.