Sponsored research funding at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reached a record high this year, increasing more than 12 percent to $146.9 million, according to the UNL Office of Research and Economic Development.
Total sponsored funding, which includes all external funds awarded for research, instruction, public service and student services, also set a record at $267.8 million, an increase of nearly 23 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Nebraska’s federal research funding saw a record increase of 19 percent, with $116.6 million coming from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, Department of Education and other federal sources.
“This record growth in funding shows our building momentum toward accomplishing the ambitious goals we are setting for the university’s future,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said.
University investments in faculty and in facilities and equipment needed for innovative research paved the way to the record funding levels, said Prem Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development.
“I am extremely proud of the talent and competitive spirit of our faculty,” Paul said.
UNL’s previous high in sponsored research funding was $139.1 million in the 2010 fiscal year. In July, the university was named to the Nature Index’s top “rising stars” in research for 2016.
Examples of major research awards to the university that contributed to the fiscal year’s increase include:
$20 million from the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research to establish the Center for Root and Rhizobiome Innovation, to study root and soil microbe interactions and improve crop productivity.
$13.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for a multi-institutional project led by the university to improve sorghum as a crop sustainable ethanol production.
$6.5 million for the university to lead the Early Learning Network, a $26 million multi-institutional research and policy effort to improve children’s learning outcomes, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
$3.5 million from the National Science Foundation to establish the Nebraska Nanoscale Facility, one of only 16 nationwide that constitute the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure.
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