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Research Funds Hit New High, Again Top Half-Billion Dollars

By Andy Fell on December 10, 2009 in

The University of California, Davis, received almost $622 million in research funds in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009. The total is a record for the campus and the fifth consecutive year that research funds have topped a half-billion dollars.

"With these funds, UC Davis researchers are creating new knowledge and translating it into products, processes and services to improve quality of life," said UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. "Despite the difficult budget situation, UC Davis is on a steep upward curve -- doubling our research income in less than a decade."

But Katehi expects more from the campus.

"By reforming our processes, we can transform our research enterprise and bring this total to 900 million or even a billion dollars a year," she said. "In partnership with our cities of Davis and Sacramento, we will become the engine of innovation and economic development in the region, the state, the nation and the world."

Barry Klein, vice chancellor for research, said, "Our research funding trend is a tribute to our exceptional research community, and this record-breaking year is certainly a reflection of UC Davis' continuing strength as a leader in multidisciplinary research. The work of our community of scholars has far-reaching impact on improving our society's well-being in many ways."

Examples of grants received in 2008-9 include:

  • $16 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight childhood malnutrition in the developing world;
  • $300,000 from The Hartwell Foundation for work on synthetic bone implants;
  • $6.8 million over three years from the National Science Foundation for mapping the genome of wheat; and
  • $4 million from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies for research on biodiversity in Indonesia.

Funding sources

Slightly more than half of the total, $329,749,369, came from the federal government, followed by the state of California at $113,242,592.

Almost two-thirds of federal funds, or $194,494,009, came through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, principally the National Institutes of Health. The National Science Foundation provided $49,894,677 and the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $31,693,640.

Other major sources of research funds included:

  • businesses, $37,946,201;
  • other institutions of higher education (principally subcontracts on other grants), $29,436,082;
  • other UC campuses or the UC Office of the President, $22,366,176;
  • foundations, $27,058,020;
  • charities, $22,293,851; and
  • other government sources (cities, counties, and states other than California), $17,007,045.

Funds by program

The UC Davis School of Medicine received $174,434,616 in research funds, an increase of about $3 million over the previous year. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences saw a marked jump in research funds, from a little more than $94 million in 2007-8 to $128,029,464 in 2008-9.

Among other schools and colleges, major recipients of funds were:

  • College of Engineering, $75,898,284
  • School of Veterinary Medicine, $71,476,448;
  • College of Biological Sciences, $53,069,930;
  • Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, $21,439,681.

The Office of Research received $44,639,727 on behalf of interdisciplinary Organized Research Units such as the Bodega Marine Laboratory, the Institute of Transportation Studies and the California National Primate Research Center.

The total includes funding from grants and contracts awarded to the university to support research, including grants from philanthropic foundations. The total does not include private gifts, which are reported separately. Following nationally accepted guidelines, grants from philanthropic foundations may be counted toward philanthropic totals. However, they are counted only once for university accounting purposes.

Many of the research dollars go to salaries and wages of UC Davis employees, ranging from professors who are partly paid out of grants for the time they spend doing research to adjunct faculty, technical staff, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students who are paid by or receive stipends from grants and contracts.

Awards include both direct costs -- dollars directed to specific research projects to pay, for example, for salaries and laboratory supplies; and "indirect" costs that are awarded by agencies to fund research infrastructure, such as upkeep and utility costs for research laboratories. Grants and contracts are awarded with strict conditions that typically bar use of the funds for purposes other than research.

Research funding totals were calculated on the basis of dollars transferred to the university during the 2008-9 fiscal year. Some agencies commit to funding multi-year projects but deliver funds only one year at a time. In those cases, funds are counted in the year received. In cases where the funding agency provides all of the committed funds up front, all of the funds are counted in the first year of funding but not in subsequent years.

According to a survey by the National Science Foundation, UC Davis ranked 16th in the nation in university research and development expenditures in fiscal year 2007-8 (the most recent year for which figures are available).

UC Davis was ranked fourth among the UC campuses by the NSF survey, behind UCLA, UCSF and UC San Diego and ahead of UC Berkeley.

Stimulus funds

To date, UC Davis has been awarded 176 grants totalling $69.2 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to information posted online by federal agencies. A total of $8.6 million in stimulus funds was received by the campus before the end of fiscal year 2009, with the rest awarded after June 30.

Stimulus funds awarded to UC Davis are expected to create the equivalent of about 250 jobs.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 32,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools -- Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Media contact(s)

Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533,