UF research funding hits $644.4 million in 2012, surpassing non-stimulus record

Published: August 30 2012

Category:Business, Economic Impact, Florida, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Research awards to University of Florida faculty totaled $644.4 million in 2012, a $25 million increase over 2011.

The 4 percent overall increase for the fiscal year that ended June 30 is particularly noteworthy, given that allocations from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have all but disappeared. While two-thirds of the funding, or $423 million, came from federal agencies, only $5.8 million of that was economic stimulus money, making the non-stimulus funding of $638.6 million the highest in the university’s history.

“As we move beyond the stimulus era, UF faculty continue to show increasing proficiency at crafting strong, multidisciplinary proposals that address key national and international scientific questions,” UF President Bernie Machen said. “I applaud their achievement, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of their research in agriculture, medicine, engineering and the advancement of human knowledge and understanding.”

Support from industry and private foundations rose 24 percent to $150.5 million, offsetting a nearly 21 percent drop in state and local funding to $48.5 million.

“While the economic downturn has been felt most sharply at the state and local levels, our faculty have been aggressive at pursuing funding from all sources — government, industry and private foundations — and it’s paying off,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “These sponsors recognize the high quality of our science and are turning to UF for research on issues that matter to them.”

UF&Shands, the UF Academic Health Center, had the largest total dollar increase, growing from $323.5 million to $361.1 million, or 11.6 percent.

“Our funding success is evidence that our scientists are attracting attention for the major role they play in basic, translational and clinical research that generate medical advances having a positive impact on patient health and quality of life,” said Dr. David S. Guzick, UF’s senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF&Shands. “By focusing on the recruitment and retention of superb investigators and providing them with a scientific environment in which they have thrived, we have fared well at a time when federal funding nationally is flat at best.”

The College of Engineering had the highest percentage increase, growing 14.9 percent, or $9.8 million, to $75.7 million.

“This is a testament to the world-class research being pursued by our faculty and students, and represents a win for more than just our college. Our community and our economy all benefit from the solutions that arise from engineering research,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of the College of Engineering. “I couldn’t be more proud of our Gator engineers.”

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences received $112 million, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received $41.3 million.

While overall federal funding was up 1 percent, funding from the National Science Foundation rose to $53 million, a 20 percent increase over 2011. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded the university $20 million, a nearly 43 percent increase over 2011’s $14 million.

The university received 52 awards of more than $1 million, including $13.4 million for research aimed at helping older Americans stay physically active; $5.6 million to develop biofuels from pine; $3.5 million to develop smart highway traffic systems; and $2 million to train middle school science and mathematics teachers.

“Our faculty drive an extremely robust research enterprise that increases economic development collaborations, provides unique opportunities for students and enhances the university’s reputation among its peers,” Machen said.

According to the Association of University Technology Managers, or AUTM, every $2 million to $2.5 million in research funding results in a new invention. In turn, those inventions produce revenue for universities in the form of licensing income. A new AUTM report released this week shows that in 2011, UF received nearly $29.5 million in licensing income — more than Cal Tech, Duke University and the University of Michigan — and created 12 startup companies.


Joseph Kays, joekays@ufl.edu, 352-392-8229

Category:Business, Economic Impact, Florida, Research