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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

Research funding at UC Irvine hits all-time high

More Than 55 Percent of FY 1996-97 Growth is Attributed to Private Sector Contracts and Grants

Irvine, Calif., October 8, 1997

Fueled by an impressive infusion of contracts and grants from the private sector and substantial increases from federal sources, outside funding for research at UC Irvine reached an all-time high of $136.9 million in FY 1996-97, an increase of 28.6 percent over the previous year's total.

"This is great news for our research enterprise, yet another affirmation of UCI's stature as a top research university in the nation," said Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening. "It is a vote of confidence by both the private and public sectors for UCI's research capabilities, and recognition of the high caliber of our faculty and our growing ability to form mutually advantageous partnerships with the business community."

Contracts and grants from the businesses sector -- many of which fund clinical trials of pharmaceuticals -- were up a whopping 75 percent to $30.6 million -- 22.4 percent of UCI's total outside funding. In FY 1995-96, this category increased by 13.5 percent.

"More than 55 percent of this year's total growth can be attributed to increased funding from for-profit companies," said Vice Chancellor for Research Frederic Wan. "Without growth in this sector, external funding for 1996-97 would have increased by only about 16 percent instead of 28.6 percent."

Federal funding, still the mainstay of campus research, was up 20.3 percent and accounted for 61.5 percent of all awards.

"Overall federal funding available for research has been static during recent years and has even declined relative to the pool of researchers, especially in social sciences and the humanities," Wan said. "Yet, despite the intense competition, UCI has continued to increase its base of support from federal sources, which is a significant measure of the validity and importance of the scientific research being conducted as well."

The Department of Health and Human Services, still UCI's biggest funder, provided $47 million, an increase of 9.6 percent. This is more than half of all UCI's federal funding and 34.5 percent of the total. Awards from the National Science Foundation, UCI's second largest federal funder, were up 6.5 percent to $11.8 million, or 8.6 percent of the total. 
Grants from the Department of Defense jumped an impressive 172.8 percent, accounting for 8.4 percent of the total.
A total of 1,570 awards were received. The majority of funding went to the College of Medicine, biological sciences, physical sciences and engineering, with collective awards of $81.2 million, $22.4 million, $18.2 million and $11.6 million, respectively.
UCI is one of the nation's top research universities and is known for innovation. In 1995, it became the first public university with faculty winning two Nobel Prizes in two different fields -- chemistry and physics -- in the same year. In 1996, UCI was admitted to the 62-member American Association of Universities, one of the nation's most prestigious associations of research universities. As an AAU member, UCI is able to help shape America's education policy and progress.
UCI's strengths in the sciences are balanced by its strengths in the humanities, as confirmed by top 10 rankings for several graduate humanities programs in the most recent National Research Council rankings. When combined with its graduate science programs, these rankings overall placed UCI 11th nationally among public universities.


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