$344.5 million in funding sets new record

The University has topped the $344 million mark for contracts and grants awarded for research, teaching and public service.

Faculty members attracted $344.5 million -- a University record -- from federal and other sources to support their work in fiscal 1998-99. That total was up 13 percent from $304.95 million in fiscal 1998. The University received $290.65 million in fiscal 1997.

"This new record reflects the fact that our research programs remain very competitive nationally," said Linda Dykstra, interim vice provost for graduate studies and research. "We continue to see strong productivity from an excellent group of faculty and graduate students. Their work is helping advance the frontiers of knowledge as well as directly benefit the people of North Carolina and beyond."

Dykstra announced the new funding figures at an Oct. 8 Faculty Council meeting.

Helping fuel the funding hike was a gain of 13.2 percent in grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health, which provided $161.4 million in the past fiscal year to support research in the Health Affairs schools as well as the departments of biology, psychology, sociology, chemistry, computer science and the School of Education, among others. By comparison, Carolina received $142 million from NIH the previous year.

In Academic Affairs, several units registered significant gains, too. Examples include the College of Arts and Sciences, which landed 13.6 percent more funding than the previous year, and the School of Social Work, which increased by 25 percent.

Robert P. Lowman, director of the Office of Research Services, said grants and contracts for public-service projects grew to $41.7 million for nearly 400 separate projects -- a more than 52 percent gain over the previous year.

"This is a substantial increase, and it confirms the University's strong commitment to public service," Lowman said.

Another important positive trend is a surge in the number of useful new technologies discovered by University scientists, Dykstra said. In fiscal 1998-99, the University disclosed 116 new inventions by faculty members. Forty-one patents were awarded, and 69 inventions were licensed for commercial development.

Research administrators said they were working hard to sustain such positive momentum among the research community on campus. Both the number of proposals submitted and dollars requested from prospective funding agencies are up compared to the same point in the last fiscal year.

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