A Record Year in Research Funding

Total external funding for research at the University of Nebraska set a new record in 2008-09, with $229.4 million – an increase of 29 percent over the previous year and more than double what was received just eight years ago. Research funding at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska-Lincoln also set new records. At UNMC, funding soared 22 percent to more than $100 million, while at UNL, total research awards increased 13 percent to more than $122 million.

NU President James B. Milliken said the increase is another clear indication of the University's significant momentum. "Faculty across the University are engaged in research in areas that are important to Nebraska – water, energy, transportation, early childhood education, and cancer, to name a few." Milliken said. "The success of our research enterprise is attracting excellent faculty, significant private support and interest from the private sector." In annual rankings published by the National Science Foundation, NU ranks among the top 35 public universities in research and development spending.

The record growth of UNL's research enterprise "is a testament to the quality of our faculty and the leadership of Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Prem Paul," UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said, adding that the increased funding helps drive momentum of the University toward better serving Nebraskans.

UNMC Vice Chancellor for Research Tom Rosenquist said that rising above the $100 million mark in extramural support is a major benchmark for UNMC.

"UNMC research is like a rocket rising above 100,000 feet; now we have momentum and we've risen above the major forces holding us back. Now we can accelerate more rapidly to the next benchmark, $200 million," Dr. Rosenquist said. "The developing initiative in clinical and translational research will be the booster that gets us there."

Durham Research Center and Durham Research Center II were catalysts in the funding growth, UNMC Chancellor Harold Maurer said of the towers which hold nearly 400 research products at UNMC.

"The new twin research towers helped make all of this happen," Maurer said. "The buildings allowed us to recruit top researchers from around the country."

Funding highlights at UNL and UNMC this year include:
  • $17.2 million NIH grant, the largest in Nebraska history, to Dr. James Turpen at UNMC, to support the INBRE program aimed at producing more scientists in the state.
  • $11.1 million NIH grant to Dr. Ken Bayles, UNMC, to research the United States' most dangerous bacterial pathogens.
  • $10.6 million COBRE grant from the National Center for Research Resources to Dr. Alexander Kabanov, UNMC, to research nanomedicine, drug delivery, therapeutics and diagnostics.
  • $9.3 million from the National Science Foundation to UNL for NebraskaMATH, a statewide program to improve mathematics achievement for students.
  • $9.1 million National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute program grant renewal to Dr. Irving H. Zucker, UNMC, to allow a team of scientists to continue groundbreaking heart failure research.
  • $8.7 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau to establish the Midwest Child Welfare Technical Assistance Implementation Center.
  • $8.1 million from the National Science Foundation for continued support of UNL's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and its nanotechnology research.

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